The United States and the European Union said Friday that they had made progress in reducing regulatory barriers to trade. Among other issues, financial regulators on both sides of the Atlantic were nearing an agreement for mutual recognition of accounting standards. The move would remove requirements for companies operating in both markets to produce two sets of accounting records. The progress was made in talks of the Transatlantic Economic Council launched by German Chancellor Angela Merkel and US President George W. Bush in April. EU Industry Commissioner Guenter Verheugen and Allan Hubbard, chief of the White House National Economic Council, who chair the forum for the EU and US to discuss strategic economic issues, said they were optimistic it would help significantly boost trans-Atlantic trade over time.