Transatlantic Trade in the Trump Era: Will it Get Better, or Worse?
- Peter Chase, Senior Fellow, The German Marshall Fund of the United States, Brussels.
- Rupert Schlegelmilch, Head of the EU Delegation to the OECD and UNESCO in Paris
- Sébastien Jean, Director of the Centre for Prospective Studies and International Information (CEPII) in Paris
- Alexandra de Hoop Scheffer, Director and Senior Fellow, The German Marshall Fund of the United States, Paris
What a difference five years makes! Almost exactly five years ago, on June 17, 2013 on the margins of the G-7 meeting in Lough Erne, Northern Ireland, then UK Prime Minister David Cameron watched as Presidents Obama, Barroso and Von Rompuy launched negotiations toward the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP), a free trade agreement meant to strengthen the unique $5 trillion investment-based US-EU trade relationship even further. Today, transatlantic trade relations are in a mess. At the June 8-9 G-7 meeting in Charlevoix, Canada, President Trump threatened to “punish” his European, Canadian and Japanese allies further if they retaliated against his decision to impose 25 percent tariffs on their exports of steel and aluminium to the United States for “national security” reasons. The Administration is launching a similar national security investigation on automobile imports. The WTO has determined the EU launch aid for Airbus to be illegal subsidies, giving the Administration another — legal — reason to levy duties on EU exports, even as it appears to undermine the WTO by refusing to allow new members to be appointed to the Appellate Body. Anti-dumping and countervailing duty cases — most recently against $60 million of Spanish olive exports — abound. The EU, for its part, will retaliate against the steel tariffs, and will file WTO complaints against the US, even as it considers imposing corporate taxes on “digital” activity, essentially a new tax on service exports by countries like the United States.