EU-U.S. Relations: Working Together on International Trade Policies

One aspect of diplomatic life I always enjoy is the opportunity to participate in panel discussions with interesting people. I had such an opportunity last week when I joined former Agricultural Secretary Tom Vilsack and noted trade expert Michael Smart for a discussion led by Shawn Donnan, Global Trade Editor of the Financial Times. Together, we explored the question of whether the EU and the United States could continue the long-standing practice of working together on international economic issues, such as, for example, ensuring that other large economies play by the global trade rules. I fundamentally believe that the success of the international trading system is in the best interest of both the EU and the United States, but that we both need to do a better job domestically of addressing the sometimes disruptive consequences of trade.

From left to right: Secretary Tom Vilsack, President and CEO, U.S. Dairy Export Council; David O’Sullivan, EU Ambassador to the United States; Michael Smart, Managing Director, Rock Creek Global Advisors; Shawn Donnan, Global Trade Editor, Financial Times

During our discussion, Secretary Vilsack, former governor of Iowa, emphasized the benefits reaped from prior cooperation with Europe, whilst Michael Smart highlighted the benefits the United States receives from the common EU market. Indeed, these perspectives informed my comment last Friday that it’s nonsense to talk about bilateral trade deals with countries that are part of a single market. The Single Market has created the world’s largest marketplace, with more than 500 million consumers, a common regulatory regime, harmonized laws, free movement of goods, money and people, and the end of cross-border tariffs. The Single Market, and the European project, has brought economic, societal and security benefits to Europe — and to the United States. Would American companies really want 28 separate Free Trade Agreements? I find that difficult to believe.

You can watch the video of the event below.

This week I will be traveling to Austin, Texas for South by Southwest (SXSW) and Caroline Vicini, Deputy Head of Delegation, will be meeting with students, local and state government officials, as well as business and civic leaders in Oregon, Washington, and Utah. You can follow along on twitter: @EUAmbUS @CarolineVicini.