U.S.-EU Trade Outlook explained by Tomas Baert of the EU Delegation to the U.S.

On April 17, 2020, Meridian International Center hosted Mr. Tomas Baert, Head of Trade and Agriculture at the European Delegation to the United States for a discussion on EU-US trade relations and the long-term effects of COVID-19 on the transatlantic relationship. Mr. Michael Allen, Managing Director at Beacon Global Strategies and Meridian Trustee, moderated the discussion.

Europe has been drastically affected by the coronavirus as it has begun to dramatically affect countries outside of Spain and Italy, meaning a coordinated response to the pandemic is necessary. ‘United in Diversity’; the European Union’s motto is a perfect portrayal of how the European Union sees its palce in the recovery. Member states are united in the way they are diligently working with one another, and the world, in order to share solutions and support. However, they are also diverse in that they have different circumstances which require different policies. Still, these diverse responses have become quite coordinated as the public and private sectors have effectively thought globally, while acting locally, and put immediate health concerns first over everything.

Although EU trade policy tends to focus on import measures, its focus is now centered on export measures, in light of COVID-19. The EU aims to prioritize the needs of citizens and wants to do so in one way by supporting global markets with EU products and production. In March 2020, the EU introduced an export authorization scheme for personal protective equipment (PPE), which is designed as one very specific, temporary measure put in place in an attempt to address a market failure.

There is still reason for optimism for change in the aftermath of the crisis. Global trade policy is being re-thought daily in order to adequately address the many implications of the outbreak, and some of these policies will surely become more permanent measures. The relationship between the U.S. and the EU in terms of trade is both important and unique.

Project summary

U.S.-EU Trade Outlook explained by Tomas Baert of the EU Delegation to the U.S. | April 2020
Number of Attendees: 65
Regions: Europe and Eurasia, Western Hemisphere
Countries: United States
Impact Areas: Business and Trade, Global Health
Program Areas: Convening
Partners: Private Sector