A political signal against free trade
The European Parliament has set new hurdles for a free trade agreement with the US. Even if the European Council makes the final decision, this is a signal against free trade.
The European Parliament has rejected the negotiating mandates for a free trade agreement between the EU and the USA. Ulrich Ackermann, Head of the Foreign Trade Department of the VDMA, explains:
"It is regrettable that the European Parliament has rejected the EU Commission's proposals for a free trade agreement with the USA. This does not mean that the negotiations are completely off the table, as the European Council of the Member States is issuing the corresponding negotiating mandates. But it's a political signal against free trade. Once again, trade policy issues are linked to other policy areas, here the US withdrawal from the Paris Climate Change Agreement.
The VDMA has long been calling for a lean free trade agreement with the USA, which would dismantle all industrial tariffs and ease non-tariff barriers to trade. This would put the tiresome issue of bilateral tariffs off the table once and for all. US President Trump's threat to sanction European automobiles with a 25 percent fine continues. This and the countermeasures the EU has already put on the table would mean significant cuts in bilateral trade."