We’ve been paying such close attention to China, the United States – Canada – Mexico Agreement, and Japan, we sometimes forget we are trying to negotiate a deal with the European Union (EU) as well. There are a lot of forces at work in a trade deal with the EU, and right now, they all seem to be on a collision course.
We have been going back and forth with the EU for a few months now. In 2018, the US and EU seemed to have a framework of understanding on fixing trade disagreements. However, now we can’t even agree on what we want to try and find agreement on. Agriculture trade has been a huge sticking point in the negotiations. The U.S. says we need to talk about it if we are to have a trade deal. The EU says it is a non-starter. This hang-up is making trade negotiations appear less likely every day. American Farm Bureau Federation’s (AFBF) Dave Salmonsen says the EU is being very defensive on their stance with agriculture.
Another big question mark in a trade deal with the EU is the status of “Brexit”. Voters in Great Britain approved a referendum to leave the Union, but parliament is squabbling over whether to honor the people’s vote or not. This makes us wonder if the untied States will have to negotiate separately with Great Britain or not.
Washington and Brussels seem to be on a sinking trade ship, and neither one wants to be the one to start bailing out the water.