Making the Atlantic Great (Again)? Prospects for New U.S.-EU Trade Negotiations

The idea of a free trade agreement between the United States and the European Union can seem at once inevitable and impossible. Over the last twenty-five years, as the EU has grown from fifteen to twenty-eight member states to become an economic superpower, the multilateral trading system enshrined in the World Trade Organization has turned more ungovernable. As a result, the logic of leveraging a transatlantic economic pact that would encompass nearly half of global GDP to bolster and reform the seventy-year-old rules-based, liberal economic order has become increasingly compelling.

At the same time, however, the very complexity involved in bringing together two economic giants, roughly equal in size, each convinced of the superiority of its commercial, financial, and regulatory model, presents a daunting task to practitioners of economic statecraft. It should not be forgotten that even without a free trade agreement (FTA), the transatlantic economy has become deeply integrated to the tune of more than $1 trillion in annual trade in goods and services, a foreign investment stock of $5 trillion, and 9 million jobs directly created by U.S. and EU companies in each other’s market. Given this impressive market-driven inter-weaving of the two economies, it is legitimate to ask whether the U.S. and the EU need to be in a hurry to formalize their relationship through an FTA.


Download 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.