With the United States and China matching each other tariff for tariff, Europe finds itself at the center of a global trade conflict. In a world where uncertainty is the new normal, representatives from the...
With the United States and China matching each other tariff for tariff, Europe finds itself at the center of a global trade conflict. In a world where uncertainty is the new normal, representatives from the business, industrial, and government sectors find themselves without a clear direction of how to navigate current and future trade deals.
On October 16th, Edelman Brussels hosted a forum titled How to Survive a Trade War: Successfully Navigating EU-US Trade and Tariff Policy. This forum brought together representatives from business and the public sector to discuss the different elements of the trade war. The panelists included:
Moderated by Lisa Ross, President of Edelman DC, the panelists debated what a successful outcome of the trade war would look like, and how each individual sector could establish a plan to achieve that success.
From the collected US and European perspectives on offer, a common consensus drove the dialogue for most of the discussion: this is a trade war instigated and perpetuated by China and the US.
The EU, rather than being an active member of the trade war, stands in the middle. The Commission engages in a daily balancing act between the US and China, while simultaneously attempting to protect the consumers and businesses of the European Union.
Because China is the root cause of the trade war, there is an urgency for countries with similar trade goals to unite their actions in an attempt to bring China back to the table and back to market behavior.
>> Look back: we gathered some initial reactions on the trade war in June 2018. Read them here <<
Nonetheless, there was general agreement that the WTO rulebook needs to be modernized to make the sort of behavior China is engaged in illegal. There are no rules around that China can be accused of directly flouting, rather they skirt on the edges of the accepted rules-based trading framework.
Participants note that the goal of the WTO is to ensure that trade flows efficiently and predictably throughout the world, and therefore is the platform through which most trading countries negotiate their agreements. The panelists debated the necessity for the WTO to play a strong role in creating solutions during this period of trade uncertainty. They agreed that the organization could not be successful without the presence of the US, but the current trajectory of US trade policy fundamentally undermines the institution.
In the long term, the panelists agreed that the WTO still offers the best solution to creating unity in the midst of the trade war, and that the US needs to be convinced of its power to create any kind of agreement with the EU and China. The ongoing trade wars are about far more than one country’s actions against another. The true concern is the destruction of an entire rules-based system of global trade.
Some noted that trade is now depicted as a zero-sum game with winners and losers, a stark contrast to the depiction of mutually beneficial trade for much of the previous three decades. As governments continue with this rhetoric, some panelists suggested that businesses should speak up to protect for themselves and their consumers – but, so far, the private sector has mostly kept quiet.
The panelists warned that if this complacency continues, businesses will find themselves left to handle the tariffs being installed with no input into the process nor resistance. Businesses have a clear opportunity to lead the way in trade agreements, but this can happen only if and when they decide to speak up.
The forum brought different perspectives of the trade war together to discuss how different parties should be thinking about how to be successful in the coming months and years. At the end of the discussion, one point remained clear: the trade war cannot be fought without all sectors included.
Want advice on how to survive a trade war?
Contact Edelman Brussels to learn more.
Our last briefing note broke down the top down political implications of the proposed Multiannual Financial Framework (MFF). This one dives deep into how the budget is divided, what the timeline is for its passing...
Our last briefing note broke down the top down political implications of the proposed Multiannual Financial Framework (MFF). This one dives deep into how the budget is divided, what the timeline is for its passing and what the reactions have been so far.
The European Commission released on the 2nd of May 2018 its proposal for the next MFF. which will cover the years 2021 to 2027. The MFF sets the budget of the European Union for the next seven years and determines how it will be allocated to its various programmes. As such, the MFF reaffirms the EU’s political priorities and defines how they will be achieved. Much awaited due to the impending Brexit, the proposal can be perceived as a bold move by the Commission, seeking to increase the EU budget and investing in new priorities such as defence or digital transformation, while cutting funds in flagship programmes.
Despite the sizeable gap created by Brexit, the European Commission proposes to set the EU budget up to €1.279 trillion, which accounts for 1.11% of the EU27’s gross national income. This ambitious amount is well-aligned with the Commission’s motto for this MFF – ‘doing more with less’ – and aims to face two main challenges: dealing with the financial consequences of the UK’s withdrawal, and providing additional resources to tackle the EU’s new priorities.
Interested in tracking the European debate and gaining insight how it may impact you and your business?
Contact Edelman Brussels to learn more.
The UK government has today published its formal offer on EU citizens’ rights post-Brexit. If accepted, this would allow the status of the million or so UK nationals in the EU to be settled. This...
The UK government has today published its formal offer on EU citizens’ rights post-Brexit. If accepted, this would allow the status of the million or so UK nationals in the EU to be settled. This will be a key element of the first stage of the Brexit talks.
Edelman has gathered the reaction and pulled out the key points of the proposal and analysed where the sticking points will be – already the EU’s chief negotiator Michel Barnier has responded by calling for “more ambition, clarity and guarantees than in today’s UK position”.
With a team of consultants from across the political parties and straddling the EU Referendum divide, Edelman’s Public Affairs team is superbly placed to give you insight, analysis and advice on the Brexit negotiations and on the new Parliament. Get in contact here.
Theresa May failed to wow EU leaders despite her “fair and generous offer” on EU citizens' when Brexit negotiations launched last week. Belgian Prime Minister Charles Michel said the proposals were “particularly vague”; Dutch Prime...
Theresa May failed to wow EU leaders despite her “fair and generous offer” on EU citizens’ when Brexit negotiations launched last week. Belgian Prime Minister Charles Michel said the proposals were “particularly vague”; Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte said there were “thousands of questions to ask” and on behalf of the EU27, European Council President
Donald Tusk described the offer as “below our expectations.”
After nine months and six days, Article 50 has finally been invoked and Brexit begins. The UK, until now in the driving seat, now formally opens negotiations with the institutions of the European Union. In...
After nine months and six days, Article 50 has finally been invoked and Brexit begins. The UK, until now in the driving seat, now formally opens negotiations with the institutions of the European Union. In the weeks ahead a new driver will be installed. What has been presented to many as a one-way process will now officially become a two way stream. Edelman Brussels tells you who you need to know in the EU institutions.
Download here: The Who’s Who of the EU
Edelman UK’s Brexit team has analysed the finer points of Article 50 – the letter, the process, the players and the reactions. Will Walden interrogates the finer details of the letter itself, so you don’t have to – reading between the lines, beyond the official language – what does the Prime Minister really mean?
Read the full note here: Article 50 Edelman Briefing
Yesterday, after its thumping majority for triggering the EU departure process, the UK Government published its Brexit White Paper, setting out its ambitions for Britain’s exit deal. The plan fleshed out the 12 objectives Theresa...
Yesterday, after its thumping majority for triggering the EU departure process, the UK Government published its Brexit White Paper, setting out its ambitions for Britain’s exit deal. The plan fleshed out the 12 objectives Theresa May set out in her Brexit speech last month. The major new surprise came in David Davis telling MPs that the UK would not automatically leave the European Economic Area (the free trading area with countries such as Norway) as it leaves the Single Market. This gives some short-term certainty to businesses that in the absence of a transitional deal, the free movement of goods would continue in as seamless a way as possible.
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