EU Climate, Environment, Labour, Human Rights, Export controls dual use, Latest news, Think Tank

THINK TANK: US export controls, EU green trade missing dimension

After a May holiday hiatus, think tanks are coming back on stream with new reports. Here a selection of two notable reports on US export controls and the EU’s green trade agenda.

CSIS: US needs to better calibrate its export controls strategy

Washington is conflating national security with economic policy and risking applying controls that are either too broad or narrow. It needs to reexamine its approach to export controls by first identifying its goals and establishing what is and is not critical to national security.

This is the core message of a new report by the Center of Strategic and International Studies penned by William Reinsch, Emily Benson, Thibault Denamiel and Margot Putnam.

“Maintaining a clear strategy also assists allied economies in mapping their own critical supply chains and export controls, resulting in greater convergence over time” the authors write.

The report argues that the various industrial policy initiatives enacted by the US in the past two years, such as the CHIPS Act and the Science Act will not be enough to achieve long-term success.

The US must focus on how to stay ahead of China in the global technological competition.

The US should also derive an export policy strategy that encourages private investment and not deter it.

As the US and its allies rethink multilateral export controls, “the burden will fall on allies and the United States to produce a clearer definition of what is critical to national security and what the ultimate objectives are of this policy redesign.”

Europe Jacques Delors: Development is missing piece in EU trade-and-environment policies

The EU’s recent green trade legislation, namely the EU’s carbon border levy CBAM, the new regulation on deforestation-free products and the coming corporate sustainability due diligence legislation have faced criticism for their unilateral and green imperialistic nature.

In a new policy paper from Europe Jacques Delors the authors argue that the EU must take these criticisms seriously and reintegrate the development dimension into its green approach.

With regards to less developed countries’ concerns of justice and fairness the, “EU needs to develop a comprehensive “doctrine” articulating coherently the different shaping factors of its stance: responsibility, leadership, justice with strong links between them” the authors write.

The EU should also diversify its green trade diplomacy approach to emulate the traditional trade field. This would include combining multilateral, bilateral and plurilateral approaches and would potentially address criticism focused on regulatory imperialism.

The report points out that there is currently no adequate multilateral forum where trade, the environment and development can be dealt with together.

The think tank Europe Jacques Delors has proposed the formation of a “comparability forum” at the World Trade Organization where this can happen.

The EU would additionally benefit from a new panoply of instruments. They would resemble past policies but with better precautions and development articulation.

The authors highlight that, “while some activities are already taking place in this area, it must be significantly scaled up to make them an inherent part of the EU’s green trade measures, as opposed to a mere afterthought.”

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