The EC has put on hold plans to co-operate
with Japanese, Canadian and US audit oversight bodies until the US
shows more trust in its European counterparts, according to the
European Commissioner for the Internal Market and Services Charlie

A new EU auditing directive introduces a
system allowing EU member states’ public oversight bodies to
co-operate with their counterparts in the United States, Japan and
Canada. A draft decision was tabled in January for discussion
between member states.

McCreevy said before moving forward with these
discussions, which would lead to taking a decision regarding the
reliance on third country audit inspections, more time was needed
to ensure the United States, in particular, was ready to co-operate
with the EU based upon mutual trust and mutual assistance.

“While some of our trading partners, notably
Canada and Japan, seem to be open towards such an agenda the same
is not true for the United States” he said.

“As things stand at the moment, the EU will
commit itself to facilitate United States’ inspections but we
currently have no guarantee the United States will do the same for

In practice, relying on third country audit
inspections would mean audit firms from these countries would no
longer have to be inspected by European public oversight bodies as
the EU could rely on the audit inspections that were carried out by
their counterparts in these countries.

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In return, EU oversight bodies expect the same
treatment for EU audit firms, McCreevy said.