U.S. trade policy in the age of Trump: What role for Europe in the “New Nationalism”?

One year ago, the American public elected in Donald Trump a president who painted international trade not as a generator of U.S. prosperity and a multiplier of its national interest, but as a set of bargains sapping the U.S. of jobs, prosperity, and power. As one of the U.S.’ major trading partners, this could have consequences for the EU as well. The upcoming NAFTA renegotiations will be a good indicator of how the Trump administration would approach a trade negotiation with the EU. If the Union is serious about its long-term commitment to multilateralism, cooperation on the nuts and bolts of trade policy with the U.S. will need to be part of the order of the day. There are several possible ways to go about this:

  • Reviving the stalled TTIP negotiations, perhaps under a new name and with new content.
  • Finding overlapping interests that can provide the basis for case-by-case policy cooperation, especially on issues that either directly or indirectly involve China (screening of foreign investment, China’s non-market economy status in the WTO, intellectual property, trade defense instruments like anti-dumping and countervailing duties, or the role of state-owned enterprises in international trade).
  • The U.S. administration will need to move beyond a focus on eliminating unfairness that it believes is built into existing trade arrangements to a more forward-looking approach.
  • The EU, for its part, will need to overcome any hesitations it has about cooperating with a US administration that does not appear to share its core trade-policy convictions.

This article was published on November 13, 2017, by the European Policy Centre. Click here to download this publication.

The views expressed are those of the author(s) alone. They do not necessarily reflect the views of the American Institute for Contemporary German Studies.

Peter S. Rashish

Senior Fellow; Director, Geoeconomics Program

Peter S. Rashish, who counts over 25 years of experience counseling corporations, think tanks, foundations, and international organizations on transatlantic trade and economic strategy, is a Senior Fellow and Director of the Geoeconomics Program at AICGS. He also writes The Wider Atlantic blog.

Mr. Rashish serves as a Senior Advisor to Transnational Strategy Group LLC, a Washington-based international business and government affairs consultancy, and to the Brussels-based European Policy Centre. He has served as Vice President for Europe and Eurasia at the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, where he spearheaded the Chamber’s advocacy for an ambitious and comprehensive trade agreement between the United States and the European Union, which was officially launched as the “Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership,” and developed new engagements in the continent’s emerging markets.

Previously, Mr. Rashish was a Senior Advisor for Europe at McLarty Associates, and has held positions as Executive Vice President of the European Institute, on the Paris-based staff of the International Energy Agency, and as a consultant to the World Bank, the German Marshall Fund of the United States, the Atlantic Council, the Bertelsmann Foundation, and the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development. Mr. Rashish has testified on the euro zone and U.S.-European economic relations before the House Financial Services Subcommittee on International Monetary Policy and Trade and the House Foreign Affairs Subcommittee on Europe and Eurasia and has advised two U.S. presidential campaigns.

He earned his B.A. from Harvard College and an M.Phil. in international relations from Oxford University. He speaks French, German, Italian, and Spanish.