EU leaders, including German chancellor Angela Merkel, whose country currently holds the EU presidency, met with the Bush administration to debate key areas of co-operation, including trade, climate change, energy security and foreign policy.
They agreed upon a framework for economic integration that would lay the foundations for building a stronger and more integrated transatlantic economy. Particular focus is on removing barriers to trade and fostering cooperation on regulations, intellectual property, secure trade, financial markets and the automotive industry.
The framework also includes the establishment of a transatlantic economic council to monitor implementation of economic agreements.
For the food industry, which is increasingly international in its outlook, this represents an opportunity. The powers have pledged to encourage further cooperation in the areas of agriculture, sanitary and phyto-sanitary measures, and food safety.
Moreover, the stated commitment to seeing the Doha trade talks through to a positive conclusion is heartening since developed countries - and especially the US - were strongly implicated in the collapse of the talks last July.
Last month it was agreed that the deadline for the talks be extended until the end of 2007. In the past, Europe's leaders have hit out at US rigidity over Doha.
For instance, last April (albeit before the collapse of the talks), EU trade commissioner Mandelson's attacked the US as the 'biggest single block' to the successful completion of the Doha round of trade negotiations.
It follows, then, that a strengthening of ties between the two powers vis-à-vis trade could well help drive the talks in the right direction.
The EC and US leaders were unable to reach firm conclusions on some other areas that were up for debate however, such as action to combat climate change. Although Merkel said progress had been made and that both sides agreed on the urgency of action, the US continues to refuse to sign up to an EU plan to cut greenhouse gasses by 20 per cent by 2020.
However the so-called 'open skies' deal to remove restrictions on transatlantic flights was signed; and President Bush said he would heed Merkel's advice to include Russia in discussions over anti-missile defence systems in Poland and the Czech Republic.