In the ongoing movement toward the convergence of U.S. and international accounting standards, President Bush and German Chancellor Angela Merkel have sealed an agreement that would clear a path toward a unified set of accounting standards by 2009. The agreement will establish a "Transatlantic Economic Council" to help lower regulatory barriers between the U.S. and the European Union. The council, will co-chaired by White House economic adviser Allan Hubbard and European Commission vice president Guenter Verheugen and will submit annual reports on the progress top both EU and U.S. leaders. The signing comes as the Securities and Exchange Commission is mulling whether to allow foreign companies registered in the U.S. to file their statements using international financial reporting standards in lieu of generally accepted accounting principles.

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