Trade will preoccupy the EU in 2021 on several fronts. With U.S. President Donald Trump almost out of office, the 27-nation bloc will spend much of this year trying to repair the damage caused by his “America First” policies. For starters, it’s working on a proposal for the incoming Joe Biden administration, including settling a longstanding aircraft dispute that’s resulted in tariffs on $11.5 billion of each other’s exports. The EU will also pursue its global free-trade push, which began before Trump shook the post-war order. And the bloc will keep a close eye on the U.K. after last month’s hard-fought deal, ensuring continued tariff-free commerce now that Britain has left the single market.
— Jonathan Stearns
What to Expect This Year
Transatlantic Reunion | With Biden and European leaders promising each other renewed cooperation, the EU hopes for several early-harvest results including U.S. support for Nigeria’s Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala as the next head of the WTO and for a revival of its appellate body. The EU also wants Biden to move toward ending a tariff fight triggered by Trump’s protection of the American metals industry.
Mercosur Deal | The EU is facing an uphill struggle to ratify its landmark draft free-trade accord with the Mercosur group of Argentina, Brazil, Paraguay and Uruguay. After the deal provoked grass-roots rumblings across Europe, largely as a result of deforestation in the Amazon region, supporters are scrambling to win stronger Brazilian pledges on environmental protection.
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