Perspectives on U.S.-EU Trade Relations

On Tuesday, July 15, 2020, the Meridian Corporate Council hosted a Global Business Briefing with Congressman Earl Blumenauer (D-OR), the Chairman of the House Subcommittee on Trade and MEP Bernd Lange, Chairman of the European Parliament's International Committee to discuss the future of EU-US trade relations amidst the pandemic. 

The convening began with introductory remarks from Secretary Carlos M. Gutierrez, Secretary of Commerce and Former Chairman of the Meridian Board of Trustees Mr. Carlos M. Gutierrez. Meridian and its Corporate Council had the opportunity to learn about EU-US trade relations, efforts to improve transatlantic cooperation and perspectives on the World Trade Organization (WTO) Director-General selection process. 

Secretary Gutierrez opened the discussion with remarks on the changing trade negotiation environment. The conversation centered around key barriers to successful trade negotiations between the U.S. and EU, including frictions over industry regulations, aircraft subsidies, digital service taxes, and taxes on Section 232 taxes on steel and aluminum products. 

Despite these barriers, Congressman Blumenauer insisted that the two trade partners can find a common cause to work together and face common challenges. MEP Lange echoed similar sentiments, suggesting that opportunities exist to form mutual standards for emerging industries. 

Given the current COVID-19 pandemic, participants were eager to learn about the U.S. and EU response to export bans on personal protective equipment (PPE). Countries worldwide imposed export bans on PPE in response to the COVID-19 pandemic citing concern over domestic supply. Congressman Blumenauer stated that governments should not use PPE export restrictions as a justification for failures to plan and prepare for the crisis properly. 

As the world witnesses changes to the trade environment, US-EU trade negotiations remain a priority for officials on both sides. As Congressman Blumenauer remarked, "all of our major challenges today require that we engage in a multilateral fashion." Overcoming the current barriers to trade cooperation could pave the way for cooperation in other areas. 

Project summary

Perspectives on U.S.-EU Trade Relations | July 2020
Number of Attendees: 80
Regions: Europe and Eurasia
Countries: United States
Impact Areas: Business and Trade
Program Areas: Diplomacy