THE EU, WHAT AMERICA WANTS

AN OBSERVATION 
“We would like the EU to be a little bit less successful in propagating its views on geographic indications and which food and beverage products are geographically distinctive.”

John Magnus
President of TradeWins and Panel Moderator

A RESPONSE
“I take note of your remark on our successful GI policy.”

Damien Levie
EU Delegation 
Together on the Same Panel
June 23, 2017

CONTEXT

The Global Business Dialogue’s event on EU Outreach was held on in Washington on June 23. That was almost two months ago, and admittedly a lot has happened (and not happened) since. Still much of what was said then remains fresh and relevant, and we are far from finished in our process of mulling over those comments in these pages. There were three elements to the event: a keynote address from the EU’s Ambassador to the United States, Ambassador David O’Sullivan, a business panel, and a diplomatic panel.

John Magnus, the president of TradeWins LLC, served as the moderator of the diplomatic panel, which included officials from the Embassies of Canada and Mexico and from the Delegation of the European Union. He was asked not only to introduce the other panelists but to offer some thoughts on America’s trade policy goals. He did so engagingly, talking first about America’s trade policy posture toward the European Union, and then with respect to NAFTA and the pending negotiations to revise and upgrade the North American Free Trade Agreement. We’ll save his NAFTA comments until next week.

Below you will find most of what Mr. Magnus said about America’s trade posture toward the EU. When it came his time to speak, Damien Levie, the Head of the Trade and Agriculture Section at the Delegation of the European Union, responded to many of Mr. Magnus’s points on U.S.-EU trade, and we’ll take note of some of those as well.

Here then is what Mr. Magnus said about America’s apparent posture toward the EU where trade is concerned.

MR. MAGNUS
“You’ll notice right off the get-go that there are three but not four diplomatic presences on this panel. Missing in action is somebody who can speak for Uncle Sam, which I certainly can’t do. But what I thought I would do instead, in order to get us rolling, is to just very briefly click through what it seems we may be aiming for, or think that we’re doing, or think that we would like to do, in regard to the EU and in regard to NAFTA. Just as a consumer of the news and observer of events like you all are. Because, you know, if you go on the basis … of rhetoric and visible behavior, there is a little that you can see. … So what do we think we’re doing, want to do, with regard to the EU?

Brexit. “Well, we’re interested in Brexit and in our future trade relationship with the United Kingdom.”

Mr. Levie of the EU said quite a bit about Brexit. We’ll share that in a separate entry.

China.  “It appears that we’re very interested in how the EU handles the evolution of its own policy with regard to China and market economy status and anti-dumping. That issue has been elevated.”

Mr. Levie dealt with China saying: “Just one word on antidumping. We are moving to upgrading or modifying our antidumping regulations or our laws in a way to bringing them closer to the U.S. system in order to keep using the analogue country methodology when we have to.”

Taxation. “We seem to be displaying some combination of resentment and envy in regard to the European approach to taxation, business taxation. And there I refer not only to the attractiveness of jurisdictions like Ireland but [to] the sort of heavy use of border adjustment across most of Europe.”

Mr. Levie: “I will not respond to your comments on tax.”

Trade Actions: “We seem perfectly willing to contemplate zapping EU exports in the context of global trade actions, like the ones under 232, like the ones that are now going forward under Section 201.”

GIs. ”We would like the EU to be a little bit less successful in propagating its views on geographic indications and which food and beverage products are geographically distinctive.

“And by the way, given who we have represented here, maybe we can sort this out, but I read just in this morning’s beverage alcohol press about an interesting one involving Heineken’s placing in the market of a tequila infused beer, which has offended the sensibilities of the folks in Mexico responsible for that geographically distinctive product. So, maybe we can get that sorted out before we wrap up.”

Mr. Levie: “I take note of your remark on our successful GI policy.”

Cooperation in the WTO Etc. “We are not showing much inclination, as far as I can tell, to work with the EU in some of the traditional ways. For example, on a package, a good package of deliverables for the next WTO ministerial, which is not far off.”

TTIP, The Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership. ”And, oh yes, for the moment, at least, we’re content to leave the TTIP in an undead state and continue skirmishing over aerospace subsidies.”

COMMENT

We have not much to add on this Friday afternoon, only our sincere gratitude to everyone who participated in GBD’s June 23 event. They brought to the table a wealth of expertise and information. They also brought a certain sense of fun and community, which you will see if you watch the video.

As mentioned, we shall deal with other topics of that day next week, including NAFTA and Brexit.

SOURCES & LINKS

The Diplomatic Panel takes you to the YouTube video of this portion of the June 23 event on EU Outreach, with a particular emphasis on the EU’s relationships with the countries of North America.

Tequila Infused Beer is an NPR story of late June about the dispute between Mexican authorities and Heineken over this product.

-gbd-

Originally published on August 11 as TTALK Quote No. 50 of 2017.

© 2017 The Global Business Dialogue, Inc.