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Whither transatlantic trade? The future of institutional solutions

Fahey, E. ORCID: 0000-0003-2603-5300 (2021). Whither transatlantic trade? The future of institutional solutions EU Law Live (Weekend Edition).


The line between transatlantic cooperation and disputes has been painfully fine over many decades and many respective administrations. Institutionalisation of trade has been a complex theme of transatlantic engagement as a means to deepen cooperation. The EU proposed an EU-US Joint Agenda for Global Change to the incoming Biden administration very early on in the new relationship, which would include a Transatlantic Trade and Technology Council. It would appear to be proposing a ‘loose’ institutionalisation of key global challenges currently not well covered or dealt with by, for example, the WTO. It seems like an interesting forum to generate transatlantic convergence. Yet is it realistic to expect any transatlantic convergence on trade given the history of transatlantic relations? It goes without saying that relations between the EU and US reached rock-bottom, arguably the worst in six decades, with the Trump administration, where the US briefly refused to diplomatically recognise the EU - behaviour that is now being copied by the Brexit Britain ‘playbook’. The new Biden administration has many Obama administration staff who are said to be ‘battle-scarred’ from their involvement in the failed EU-US Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) negotiations. A re-excavation of the paused Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) negotiations appears very unlikely in the future of the transatlantic trade cooperation.

The US Trump administration reset transatlantic cooperation with the EU in 2018 and notably made an EU-US Joint Statement in 2018 after a Trump-Juncker summit was ultimately agreed . It was not ambitious but was ostensibly a preferable development to trade wars and tariffs to work together towards zero tariffs, zero non-tariff barriers, zero subsidies on non-auto industrial goods; energy; and unfair global practices, for example through WTO reform. It took effect through an Executive Working Group and an EU-US Financial Regulatory Forum 2019 but its institutionalised components quickly tapered off and instead the EU has been battling significant tariffs wars with the US, for example on steel and aluminium, and through a US investigation on motor vehicles and automotive parts. Its modest ambitions were never realised and much has remained on hold during the COVID-19 crisis and since the US Presidential election, and some say those ambitions are worsening.

Arguably, one development of interest with respect to institutionalisation developments was on conformity assessment in 2019, as a form of regulatory cooperation, which is considered here next.

Publication Type: Internet Publication
Publisher Keywords: Transatlantic relations; Trade; EU-US; Institutions; Institutional design
Departments: The City Law School > Academic Programmes
The City Law School > Institute for the Study of European Laws
The City Law School > International Law and Affairs Group
Related URLs:
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