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.
Trust Summit 2018 28 March 2018, 14:00-18:00 | Brussels Presented by Edelman Brussels and the Public Affairs Council, with special thanks to our summit partners Pfizer and EY. Please register now to ensure attendance. Building...
Presented by Edelman Brussels and the Public Affairs Council, with special thanks to our summit partners Pfizer and EY. Please register now to ensure attendance.
Building on the success of last year’s European Trust Summit, the 2018 edition will take place on 28 March.
Co-presented by the Public Affairs Council and Edelman, we expect to attract over 100 mid- to senior-level government officials and public affairs professionals.
The publication of the Edelman 2018 Trust Barometer, along with major changes in social, regulatory and business trends have made this senior-level discussion a must-attend event for crafting your corporate or association strategy for 2018.
Prices exclude VAT @ 21%, includes light refreshments, handouts, and an evening reception.
Thon Hotel EU
Rue de la Loi 75
14:00-14:20 Keynote speech
14:20-14:25 Why trust matters for corporate governance
14:25-14:50 Trust Barometer Findings
14:50-15:50 Panel I:
15:50-16:15 Coffee Break
16:15-17:15 Panel 2:
17:15-18:00 Closing remarks
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