It only takes a quick glance at today’s headlines to see that the world trade regime is changing rapidly. Due in large part to the “America First” policy of the current US administration, the last 18 months have borne witness to what some fear may erupt into a full-blown global trade war between the US and much of the rest of the world. President Trump has introduced tariffs on over 200 billion USD in Chinese goods, has slapped tariffs on aluminum and steel exports from the EU and is currently tearing up the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) citing security concerns. Trump has also threatened to leave the World Trade Organization (WTO); and he is not the only one talking about the need for reform. WTO members are also concerned about China’s skirting of WTO rules and what is referred to as the ‘socialist market economy with Chinese characteristics’. The EU can take a leading role in reshaping the WTO and preserving the multilateral system if it responds to unprovoked aggression swiftly and resolutely. To this extent, the EU applied balancing tariffs to the US in line WTO rules and implemented safeguards to protect its markets. The EU has also engaged other trading partners in bilateral trade agreements such as Canada and Japan. Additionally, the EU needs to collaborate with WTO members to ensure reform. Finally, given its firm belief in multilateralism as well as its commitment to social and environmental standards, the EU must insist upon the preservation of a rules and value-based system.

  • What Should Be the EU’s Approach to Global Trade?

    Annette Bongardt, London School of Economics and Political Science
    Francisco Torres, London School of Economics and Political Science

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  • Revitalising Multilateral Trade Governance

    Bernard Hoekman, European University Institute

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  • Triage? Assessing the EU’s Modernisation Proposals for the WTO

    Simon J. Evenett, University of St. Gallen

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  • Dealing with Donald Trump

    Gabriel Felbermayr, Kiel Institute for the World Economy

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  • The EU Response to US Trade Tariffs

    Maria Demertzis, Bruegel
    Gustav Fredriksson

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  • China’s “Socialist Market Economy”: A Systemic Trade Issue

    Jacques Pelkmans, CEPS - Regulatory Policy

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10.1007/s10272-018-0758-z

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