Why the EU should not get into bed with the US over trade - Politics Forum.org | PoFo

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#14174404
Since people aren't making enough news threads, it has fallen to me to start making them again.
Welt am Sonntag via Presseurop, 'Why the EU should not get into bed with the US over trade', 13 Feb 2013, Olaf Gersemann and Martin Greive wrote:
Image
Ruben L. Oppenheimer
They were abbreviated to NTA and NTMA, TAD, TED and Tafta. Initiatives designed to deepen the economic relationship between America and Europe. They remained nothing but initiatives, disappearing into oblivion. Now the next attempt has come along.

Industry lobbyists on both sides of the Atlantic can hardly stay in their seats from sheer anticipation. Business wants it, the politicians are going along with it, and in principle, free trade is a good thing. Still, this most recent plan seems likely to meet great scepticism.

1. A bad sign for the rest of the world

Tariffs actually play a role in transatlantic trade only because the volume of goods traded is so large. For their exports to the US in 2010, Europe’s chemical companies paid about €700m into the US Treasury. The tariff rate, however, averages just 2.25 per cent.

Cutting tariffs of this magnitude may be some relief to businesses, but it will do nothing for overall economic growth. That’s why a breakthrough is needed not tariffs, but on trade barriers.

The potential there, though, is limited – because powerful interest groups such as the farming lobby would fight back, and because the public would hardly go along with it.

American laws take advantage of this to block greater harmonisation in drug approvals. Europeans do not want to import hormone-treated beef and genetically modified corn from the United States, and in turn, Americans are afraid of bacteria in naturally produced cheese from France or in imported beef.

The depth of the split in opinion has already been revealed by the negotiations on a further round of multilateral trade liberalisation, nicknamed the “Doha Round”, which have been plodding along since 2001.

If anything, a transatlantic free-trade agreement will turn out to be full of holes – and that's a problem. With a half-baked agreement between the EU and US, the two most powerful trading blocs in the world would be setting “a bad example for other free-trade areas,” warns Rolf Langhammer of the Institute for the World Economy in Kiel.

2. Third parties will be at a disadvantage

If Europe and the US were to agree a deal among themselves on liberalising trade, all the other states would automatically be discriminated against. The great danger is that, in the end, there would merely be a redirection of trade flows, not the creation of new ones. Moreover, the rest of the world could interpret a transatlantic agreement as an “exclusion, maybe even a blackmailing of third parties,” complains Langhammer.

The Economics Ministry in Berlin stresses that that is why the Europeans would ensure that the agreement remains open for other countries to join. An agreement that took an immense effort to reach, however, will hardly be unpicked again for new entrants; ultimately, the “sink or swim” principle will be laid on the table.

3. Death knell for “Doha”

The Doha Round has ground to a halt, and whether it can ever be brought to a conclusion is questionable. The alliance between the EU and the US could send out a signal that the age of bilateral trade agreements has now finally dawned. With each new agreement, however, total world trade becomes not freer, but more complicated.

Jagdish Bhagwati, a professor from India now teaching at New York's Columbia University, is one of the world’s most respected trade experts. He also perceives a danger that Europe would be sidelined as the driving force in subsequent multilateral trade liberalisation: if a transatlantic liberalisation agreement were reached, he believes, “Europeans would have to pay more attention to the interests of the US and their lobby groups.”

4. Focusing on the wrong trading partner

Transatlantic trade has surged in recent years, which is precisely why industry associations are pressuring governments on both sides of the Atlantic to speed up the agreement. But the game is shifting elsewhere – to Asia and Latin America.

World economic expert Langhammer fears that a transatlantic merger would harm Europe’s trading balance by harming its economic relationship with the emerging economies.

Jagdish Bhagwati sees the situation similarly. From a European perspective, the project as a whole is “not a good idea.” In trade matters, Europe is more flexible than the US; thanks to the EBA initiative, which allows the poorest countries to export their products duty free to Europe (with the exception of arms).

“That’s why the EU should bury the plans. Otherwise it will weaken only itself. And besides, the developing countries are better off without such an agreement.”

Out of everything in that article I mainly agree with Jagdish Bhagwati. The USA is nasty.

Furthermore, having an FTA with the USA defeats the whole original point of even bothering to have a European customs union in the first place. Europe hasn't hasn't even integrated with itself yet, and it wants to let more people in? Ridiculous.
#14174420
Reported for penis in first picture; I hope they unperson you.

Just kidding.

I think the question when it comes to whether Europe should trade with the US is: Who else should they trade with? While for you I'm sure the answer is "no one" (ignoring the fact that Europe's standard of living is dependent upon imports), the realistic answers are Russia, China and the Middle East, all of whom are probably worse than the USA even by fascist standards.
#14174443
1. A bad sign for the rest of the world


No shit. The whole point of a free trade agreement is that it is meant to help the two (or more) parties involved by removing tariffs and fuck over everyone else by leaving them in place for them.

This is one of the pluses (for the EU and the US) not a problem.

2. Third parties will be at a disadvantage


Ditto, that is the entire point.

3. Death knell for “Doha”


I am far to ignorant about this to comment (not that it usually stops me ).

4. Focusing on the wrong trading partner


I do agree with this though.
#14174477
What nonsense. An FTA with the US does not prevent the EU to have FTA's with other countries. Preferred trading partners and selected developing countries will still be able to trade on the same terms with the EU as before. If the EU believes that it will loose out in Asia, then it will hopefully be smart enough to approach Asian countries and enter into trade negotiations with them in addition to the FTA with the US. Nobody can prevent the EU from doing that, after all.
#14174628
So, no one is going to address the thing about American lobby groups gaining a way to become even more relevant in European politics? Is that just a 'good' thing? Why on earth would that be seen as good?

I want to see Europe co-operating with the people in South East Asia, not the USA. This FTA with the USA is not what this thing is supposed to be about.
#14174660
Rei, I'm slightly bemused that you somehow cling to this notion that the European Union exists to defend the interest of the peoples of Europe. You recognise the menace of international finance capitalism, then expect an institution entirely beholden to that system to somehow stand as a bulwark against it's worst excesses. This FTA with the USA is precisely what this thing is supposed to be about. I hope that it disabuses you of the idea that the the EU offers any hope of salvation.
#14174670
Any developed nation (or group of them) who thinks that a "free trade" agreement with China is in their best interest should pay close attention to trade between the US and China. Good luck with casting your lot in East Asia. Perhas you believe European wages are too high as it is.
#14174704
Rainbow Crow wrote:Reported for penis in first picture; I hope they unperson you.
Just kidding.

Do note that Rei posted a very small sized penis, as a representation of the Americans.
rule 3 violation being ethnically objectionable material



Anyways. I don't see the problem.
Trade between the US and EU so already huge. So the lobby is already there.
And with the trade being made cheaper, it will only produce more trade = more jobs.
Stuff we need in these times of recession.
#14174851
Kaiserschmarrn wrote:What nonsense. An FTA with the US does not prevent the EU to have FTA's with other countries. Preferred trading partners and selected developing countries will still be able to trade on the same terms with the EU as before.


This is unlikely.
Current EU membership decides who can and cannot be traded with and under what arrangement.
Britain for example cannot enter into free trade agreement with New Zealand under EU rules.
In fact it had to exit it's free trade agreement with New Zealand in order to join.
#14174917
Otebo wrote:Rei, I'm slightly bemused that you somehow cling to this notion that the European Union exists to defend the interest of the peoples of Europe.

Well, I'm talking about an 'ought' in this case, and not an 'is'. I'm just perpetually annoyed by the fact that people see these things happening and approve of them, as though they can't imagine a European Union being run some other and for some other purpose.

So we do agree, Otebo, that it's not in our interest - at this time.
#14200963
Otebo wrote:This FTA with the USA is precisely what this thing is supposed to be about. I hope that it disabuses you of the idea that the the EU offers any hope of salvation.

This is what happens when if someone starts a cut'n'paste thread out of boredom.

They simply cannot answer the questions addressed to someone else's work.

Just to put a new slant on the subject as it were, I wonder if Japan's announcement about a possible free trade pact with the European Union will change things?

Prime Minister Shinzo Abe will talk by phone with European Council President Herman Van Rompuy about the negotiations later today.

Is this letting in unwholesome American influence by the back door I wonder? After all, earlier this month, Japan said it will join talks on a Pacific trade pact, the U.S. led Trans-Pacific Partnership.

Now, is the proposed Japanese/EU free trade pact all because of some shady Japanese lobbying or the result of US lobbying by proxy via the Japanese? Looks like we'll be getting our Pottery Barn goodies via Yokohama.

Ain't life complicated?

#14200985
I remember seeing this article. It has all the worst arguments against an US-EU FTA. The argument as I see it mainly to do with the poor environmental and health standards of American food products and the data protection issues (e.g. handing over all our citizens' data indirectly to the U.S. National Security State).
#14201062
Rei Murasame wrote:It's been cancelled anyway. There is a new thread about the cancellation, so I don't know why you guys are bumping this one.

Er - no, it has not been cancelled.

Here's the EU Commission "Where are we?" document dated 25th March 2013, which says:

"According to an independent study by the Centre for Economic Policy Research, London, an ambitious and comprehensive trans-Atlantic trade and investment partnership could bring the EU economic gains of €119 billion a year once the agreement is fully implemented."

http://trade.ec.europa.eu/doclib/docs/2 ... 150129.pdf

The document has now been sent to the Council for the Member States to approve before negotiations start (IP/13/224).

The article you posted was merely someone's opinion about why he thought it should not go ahead, not a statement of fact. Did you actually read it?

I thought it appropriate to comment here in view of today's news about an EU/Japanese and the EU/US free trade pacts rather than start yet another thread.

Last edited by marjy on 25 Mar 2013 12:54, edited 3 times in total.
#14201094
Ombrageux wrote:I remember seeing this article. It has all the worst arguments against an US-EU FTA. The argument as I see it mainly to do with the poor environmental and health standards of American food products and the data protection issues (e.g. handing over all our citizens' data indirectly to the U.S. National Security State).

Where does it mention data protection and "the handing over all our citizens' data" in the free trade agreement?

Even if it were the case, it is not illegal to do so under EU law (which has very little to do with protecting personal data by the way, it is simply a revenue stream for governments and a tax on business) and happens every working day of the week.

It is only illegal to disclose personal data (either within the EU or to non-EU countries) if:

i) The data is disclosed somewhere you did not mention beforehand. If you say you want to disclose to Cuba and do so that's OK.
ii) The data is used for some purpose other than the ones (yes, plural) originally stated.
iii) The data held (and subsequently disclosed) is inaccurate.

I wouldn't blame the US about it or be particularly concerned either. It's our stupid law. If you want to know why it's stupid then I suggest you look at the list of exemptions, i.e. the circumstances in which you are not entitled to see your personal data (criminal investigations, medical records, 'national security' etc. etc.)

As for food standards, we've been eating horse meat masquerading as beef under current EU regulations for some time now so what's the difference?

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