Following the announcement of a new EU-US trade deal, Steve Davies discussed the event on BBC R4’s Today programme.
“What they’re talking about essentially is removing barriers to trade between the European Union on one side and the United States on the other,” said Dr Davies.
In the 19th and 20th centuries, this would have been fairly simple to do as the majority of barriers were straightforward tariffs. However, in this situation they are mainly trade regulations which are much more complex.
“The Americans for example have lots of regulations on dairy products which prevent European farmers selling dairy products in the US. So what they’re talking about is harmonising the regulations so that they can trade freely.”
Dr Davies stated that this regulatory harmonisation process is very complex and is likely to take five years. He went on to outline two major obstacles:
1. Agriculture – the major export of the US
2. Intellectual property – US regime is much more aggressive
Part of the motive for this deal may be for the US and EU to set the regulatory standards for world trade and some argue that the deal is a way to combat the BRICs.
“I really hope that isn’t the major motive because that would be very bad geopolitically. The real motive should be that this will be of enormous benefit to consumers on both sides of the Atlantic,” argued Dr Davies.
Listen to the full programme here. Segment starts at 16.45.