EU says after Trump Win, U.S. Trade Talks in Deep Freeze

The European Union said on Friday that they do not expect the EU/U.S. trade talks to resume for some time and are of the opinion that Donald Trump’s election to the White House has consigned EU/U.S. trade talks to the deep freeze.

Trump’s win brings in a leader hostile to international trade pacts even as a pause in negotiations towards the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) was always expected with the end of Barack Obama’s presidency.

Trump has said repeatedly during the elections that he will renegotiate the North American Free Trade Agreement and will withdraw from the unfinalized 12-nation Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP).

“For quite some time TTIP will probably be in the freezer and then what happens when it is defrosted, we will have to wait and see,” EU trade commissioner Cecilia Malmstrom told a news conference after a meeting of EU ministers responsible for trade.

“I think we should be realistic. I don’t see the resumption of any TTIP negotiation for quite a long time,” Malmstrom said.

NAFTA and TPP would likely take priority for Trump, EU officials have said, even as they are of the opinion that it is not clear what Trump’s stance is on TTIP.

Protest groups have emerged against the TTIP who say it and other such pacts are done only for big business and the EU has thus already faced a wave of criticism from the protest groups.

Signs of crisis in countries traditionally attached to free trade were Britain’s vote to leave the EU and Trump’s election victory, one high-level critic, French trade minister Matthias Fekl, has said.

“We need to rethink the way the global economy functions or does not function… Nothing would be worse now than to think we can simply go on with business as usual,” he said.

EU ministers also sought on Friday to bolster the bloc’s trade defences to floods of cheap imports from China mirroring talk from Trump of ‘getting tough’ with China.

There have been allegations of dumping by Chinese companies of cheap products like steel into the European market and the EU is said ot be weighing measures that are designed to shorten the investigations into the allegations as well as to permit higher duties than normal in cases of foreign state interference.

But since there is a group of countries including Britain that are opposed to the idea, the 28 EU members have failed to agree despite the proposals being made in 2013. However now, that blocking minority appears to be getting smaller.

“I think …we have moved a step closer to a possible agreement by the end of the year,” said Peter Ziga, economy minister of Slovakia, which holds the six-month rotating EU presidency.

The EU has also struggled to pass a deal with Canada and has had a tough time with trade policy in recent years.

However adding Ecuador to an existing pact with Colombia and Peru proved to be a minor success for the EU on Friday.

(Adapted from CNBC)

Categories: Economy & Finance

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