The agendas of most institutions relevant to our readers are empty or almost empty, be they related to ‘comitology’ meetings at the Council in Brussels, the European and national parliaments, the WTO, or the European Commission.
We may be deep into a hot summer but it’s not entirely quiet yet on the European Union trade front. In fact it looks like the European Commission is busy wrapping up what it can before August.
This week, new people in charge of trade in the European Union will set the ball rolling on their fresh jobs.
The Brussels trade world has had a week mainly focused on Canada, climate and energy.
Environmental impacts such as carbon emissions should be captured at the border, in the form of tariffs which level the playing field between competitor producer countries, a prominent UK economist and government adviser has argued.
This will be a week where the European Union will test its ability to decide on its fundamental policy direction and on international trade.
The week started with a gloomy assessment of the transatlantic tariff threat picture by the trade commissioner and ended with threats of new US tariffs on France, and potentially Britain, following moves in Paris and London to giant digital company profits.
The United Kingdom is putting a lot of faith in its membership of one multinational organisation — the World Trade Organization — as a way of mitigating some of the problems associated with its imminent departure from another (the European Union). But might that faith be misplaced?
While the EU awaits the verdict of the WTO arbitrator sometime this month that will set the levels of duties the United States may levy on imports from Europe, its trade policy machinery continues churning on.
It’s getting ever clearer: the EU is planning to rely increasingly on its bilateral free trade agreements to settle trade disputes with its partners. It is now actively testing the ground.