The European Union has formalized its waiver allowing companies to file financial statements in European markets using U.S. generally accepted accounting principles -- as well as the accounting standards of five other countries -- without reconciling them to International Financial Reporting Standards. The measures declare U.S. GAAP, as well as accounting standards from Canada, China, Japan, South Korea and India, to be "equivalent" to IFRS as adopted in the European Union. An earlier transitional waiver was due to expire at the end of this year. European Internal Market and Services Commissioner Charlie McCreevy welcomed the measures: "Today's adoption by the commission is a momentous step. It marks the culmination of important work spanning several years." Standard-setters in the U.S. and at the International Accounting Standards Board, which sets IFRS, have been working to converge the two sets of standards. Earlier this year, the U.S. announced that it would allow companies to file here in IFRS without reconciling their accounts to GAAP. The European Commission said that it would review the situation of standards in Canada, China, South Korea and India by 2011 at the latest.

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