The European Union’s trade policy will involve some tough negotiations

IF THE TRUMP administration’s America is the bully of the global trading system, the European Union is the finger-wagging school prefect. Instead of threatening tariffs, its leaders have called for countries to play fairly. As a trade war has raged between America and China, the EU suggested a rules-based solution. When the Trump administration wrecked the system of solving disputes at the World Trade Organisation (WTO), the EU led the search for a fix. As the world’s biggest exporter of services and second only to China for goods, it has a sizeable stake in preserving order.

Enter Phil Hogan, the EU’s burly trade commissioner since December 2019. The EU is still a stickler for rules and the multilateralism that Mr Hogan says is “in our DNA”. But he wants to wield a bigger stick. “We have to stand up for our rights more assertively and aggressively, in my view,” he tells The Economist. By this he means defending the EU against unfair trading practices. The challenges range from concerns about China’s state-led system of capitalism to fears that the EU’s trading partners are not living up to their commitments.

Part of his brief involves continuing efforts to rescue the system by which the WTO solves disputes. Meanwhile he will have to manage the tense transatlantic relationship. If the job was not...

via The Economist: Finance and economics Business Feeds

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