Trade: Don’t Send Me in Coach!

By April 24, 2007Trade

From the European Union, the member countries of which compete with the United States in trade. (Just seemed worth restating.)

With global trade talks faltering, the European Union said Monday that it would begin negotiating free trade pacts with India, South Korea and the Association of Southeast Asian Nations.

Talks with the Asian countries were expected to start within months. EU officials said a speedy schedule was needed to catch up with rivals like the United States, which recently reached a breakthrough free trade pact with Seoul….

The agreements, once negotiated, would “open new markets to EU businesses and give a valuable boost to global trade,” said Peter Mandelson, the EU trade commissioner.

The agreements could increase EU exports by as much as €40 billion, or $54.2 billion, a year, according to the European Commission, which negotiates on behalf of the 27 EU governments.

If the Congress allows trade promotion authority to expire at the end of June, the U.S. will lose almost all its leverage to negotiate deals that lower foreign trade barriers to U.S.-manufacturered goods. (NAM fact sheet here. ) Europe will negotiate on, eventually reaching agreements that reduce tariffs on their products, and their products alone, giving their manufacturers a huge competitive edge in those markets.

In the game or on the sidelines?