The European Union is the major economic power most consistently supportive of the global trade system. Hasty actions undermining this such as vaccine export bans would come at a high price to its standing.
Talk by European Union, United States and United Kingdom governments of changing supply chains run into fundamental difficulties not least the level of modern trade complexity, which few fully understand.
Scrutiny of trade deals is a major issue of 2021 with the EU facing big questions over agreements with China, Mercosur and the United Kingdom. Trade policy is nowadays too important to be left to trade experts. We need the politicians to give us a steer.
For many years the EU has talked about shared values as the basis for a strong transatlantic relationship. Attempts to define the values having always failed, it would be better to focus honestly on the realities of the US-EU relationship.
The UK’s former chief EU negotiator David Frost has been promoted to a ministerial role, in which he will take charge of UK-EU relations and coordinate wider trade policy. The impact of previous decisions taken – or sometimes not – makes for a tricky inheritance. 2020 was a good year …
Rich-country appetite for subsidies is growing. That means future difficulties in the trading system.
Resolving the long list of outstanding World Trade Organization issues will require members to show the sort of flexibility shown by the United States in unblocking the appointment of Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala as the institition’s new Director General.
Michel Barnier successfully steered both sides to believing they won the negotiations, something that will be required to make the future relationship work.
The stories told by politicians and the trade expert community are increasingly divergent, and need to come together for us to make progress on our priorities, writes David Henig.