Freedom in the World 2019 map

Bring Back the Trans-Atlantic Trade Deal

While the war in Ukraine has brought America and Europe closer together politically, its effect on energy resources has revealed problems in trade between the continental powers. This, on top of COVID effects, show how the old Trans-Atlantic Trade and Investment Partnership could be brought back to alleviate supply-chain problems. Removing European, British, and American barriers to trade can benefit all three economies … and build political solidarity.

Since TTIP talks were shelved (thanks to hostility from then-President Trump), much has happened in Europe. Great Britain finally left the European Union, but Northern Ireland’s half-in/half-out position has caused economic and political friction within the UK and across the English Channel. Unfortunately, too many in Washington, in Brussels, and in London seem more focused on winning old arguments than advancing ideas to alleviate the problems.

Restarting TTIP talks with the UK and the EU (as I call it, Ménage-à-Trade) can bring numerous benefits, including…

  • Lowering current EU-UK tension over Northern Ireland (issues can be resolved as part of the Ménage-à-Trade deal)
  • Getting the UK past its analysis paralysis between a US trade deal or closer ties with the EU (Ménage-à-Trade would do both)
  • Reversing the political and economic cost of the Trump-EU trade war
  • Fewer barriers to transatlantic trade (including US LNG exports to the EU)
  • Cementing the closer ties that have come from cooperation in support of Ukraine

However, in order for this to succeed, the arguments over the UK’s decision to leave the EU need to take a back seat. A successful Ménage-à-Trade deal would provide Europe and the UK some of the benefit that would have come from the UK remaining inside. This would mean Remainers would have to acknowledge the EU’s trade benefits and anti-democratic costs can be separated. It would also mean the Leave side recognizes the benefits of international agreements. That wouldn’t be a problem for more pro-globalization eurosceptics (such as yours truly), but it might be a harder sell for the Trump-like nationalist crowd.

Here’s hoping there is enough political humility on either side of the channel – and the ocean – to make this a reality. Freer trade across the Atlantic would be better for America and for Europe, Britain included.

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