The United States, Mercosur, Brexit, the environment and defense of the internal market are the hottest topics awaiting Latvian Valdis Dombrovskis, named the new European Union Trade Commissioner on Tuesday.

– The transatlantic relationship –

The European Union’s (EU) trade relations with the United States have deteriorated since Donald Trump came to power in 2017, amid punitive taxes on steel and aluminum, threats to cars and even disputes over the taxation of the so-called quartet. GAFA (Google, Apple, Facebook and Amazon).

Europeans – who nonetheless managed to limit the damage – will closely watch the outcome of the November US presidential elections.

If Trump is victorious, the EU and its new Trade Commissioner must continue on the same path between diplomacy and responding to the attacks.

In the case of Joe Biden’s victory, the relationship should relax a bit and allow a return to multilateralism, through a reform of the World Trade Organization (WTO).

« But we will not return to the world before Trump, » said Cécilia Bellora, an economist at Cepii, interviewed by ., who noted that « traces will remain, such as tariffs that are maintained or a certain form of national preference. »

– Agreement with Mercosur –

Concluded with great fanfare in the boreal summer of 2019, after 20 years of discussion, the EU’s trade agreement with the Mercosur countries (Brazil, Argentina, Paraguay, Uruguay) appears to have stalled.

The agreement must be ratified by the parliaments of the European countries, but those of Austria and the Netherlands have already rejected it in its current form.

Other countries – like Belgium, France, Ireland and Luxembourg – are clearly reticent.

Even Germany, which has long been a strong supporter of the deal and initially hoped to sign it before the end of the year, recently took a 180-degree turn.

The heart of the problem lies in the consequences of the text for European farmers, but above all the risks it poses for the environment, particularly for the Amazon rainforest.

« The new commissioner will have a little bit of that on his hands, » Bellora said.

In addition, « get the text approved as it is and with the government in power in Brazil, I don’t see how it can be done, » he said.

– Environmental issues –

For years various non-governmental entities have accused the EU of not taking sufficient account of environmental health problems and global warming in the conclusion of its trade agreements.

After the now buried Transatlantic Association for Trade and Investment, the agreement with Canada (CETA) and that of Mercosur symbolize these questions.

Upon her arrival, the new president of the European Commission, Ursula von der Leyen, made the environment, with her famous « green deal », one of her priorities.

In addition to the appointment of a Commission official responsible for ensuring compliance with trade agreements, he launched a consultation to reform Brussels trade policy.

For Samel Leré, from the Foundation for Nature and Man, « the climate dimension » must become « essential in the EU’s foreign policy, which requires a change in trade policy. »

– Post-Brexit management –

Whether or not a deal is reached before the end of the year between Brussels and London, the trade relationship between the UK and the continent will have to be reinvented.

The task is likely to fall to the new European Trade Commissioner, as the EU’s chief Brexit negotiator Michel Barnier has announced that he will end his mission no matter what.

In the event of a « no deal », the task could be difficult, amid endless lines at the borders, high tariffs and divergent interests of member states.

« Let’s not let this issue divide Europe, » Peter Altmaier, the German economy minister, whose country holds the rotating EU presidency, recently warned.

« We have a decades-long friendship (with the British), but we will have to structure our future relations, so that they are compatible with the internal organization of the EU, » he added.

– Defense of the internal market –

The new Trade Commissioner will have to ensure that EU partners trade within fair competition conditions, be it in terms of environmental or social standards or even public aid to companies.

« We must apply the same production rules to imported products, » Leré said.

This particularly refers to China, the world’s biggest polluter and a country used to subsidizing its companies and which does not offer the same rights to foreign investors in its territory.

Altmaier expects Brussels and Beijing, which are negotiating an investment agreement, « to reach an agreement on common rules with China to prevent investors from having fewer rights than Chinese investors in Chinese territory. »

The EU should also propose in 2021 the implementation of carbon taxes at the borders, so that the price of imported products includes the environmental cost.

zap / fmi / ahg / zm

The team will coordinate research and development efforts, access, acquisition, use, health regulation, pharmacovigilance, evaluation and monitoring.

The team will coordinate research and development efforts, access, acquisition, use, health regulation, pharmacovigilance, evaluation and monitoring.

The team will coordinate research and development efforts, access, acquisition, use, health regulation, pharmacovigilance, evaluation and monitoring.

The team will coordinate research and development efforts, access, acquisition, use, health regulation, pharmacovigilance, evaluation and monitoring.

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