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Brits edge closer to getting deal on US qualifications

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A glimmer of hope has emerged in the deadlocked negotiations between the USA and the European Union over the reciprocal recognition of architects'professional qualifications. RIBA vice-president John Wright told the institute's ruling council last week that informal discussions with the incoming president of the National Council of Architectural Registration Boards (NCARB), the US equivalent of the ARB, had been 'sympathetic'and offered greater hope than the 'aggressive' talks which took place last month with current president, Joseph Giattina.

Trade representatives from the EU, including Wright and ARB chairwoman Barbara Kelly, met with US officials in Washington, but the talks ended in stalemate.The Europeans demanded that architects registered under EU regulations should be given access to a critical mass of states. But the Americans rejected this proposal and the two-day meeting was left with no deal.Now hope rests on the Americans softening their line when NCARB's n ew leader takes over in less than six months time, who told Wright that he wants to resolve the issue during the term of his presidency.

'People need to realise that they (US architects) take a huge slice of our architectural cake and there is no level playing field between the two countries, 'Wright said. 'But there's not much hope because more than half the problem is the vested interest NCARB has in maintaining the situation.'

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