Time to Hit “Reset” on Transatlantic Trade
When Chancellor Merkel visited President Bush during the first week of Germany’s six-month presidency of the European Union in January 2007, she proposed a transatlantic free trade agreement (FTA) to strengthen Europe and America’s ability to compete with what she saw, even then, as a rising China.
Washington wasn’t ready: the World Trade Organization (WTO) Doha negotiations were our top trade priority, and the threat from China still seemed distant. The United States and EU instead created the Transatlantic Economic Council, which discussed China over a ministers-only lunch during its first (and most successful) meeting in November 2007, a discussion facilitated when then EU Trade Commissioner Peter Mandelson convinced his colleagues that Europe needed to stop playing the “good cop” with Beijing. Cooperation on China between Washington and Brussels flourished for the remainder of the Bush Administration.