Uncertainty Surrounds the Future of International Trade
Since coming to office, the Trump Administration has withdrawn the United States from the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) negotiated by the previous Bush and Obama Administrations, and announced a stronger focus on using trade remedies to correct unfair trading practices abroad. Meanwhile, the World Trade Organization, while remaining an important forum for resolving disputes, has made little recent progress on trade liberalization, a notable exception being the Trade Facilitation Agreement that came into force in 2017. While the US role in creating new rules for trade is uncertain, the European Union continues to pursue a number of agreements (Japan, the Mercosur trading bloc in South America), and the remaining 11 members of the TPP are considering how they can move forward without the U.S.
Beyond watching this new US emphasis on trade defense, companies will also want to pay close attention to the planned renegotiation of the North American Free Trade Agreement as well as possible new start of the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) talks launched by the US and the European Union in 2013. In the NAFTA talks, a number of issues including rules of origin, digital trade, government procurement, agriculture, and investment dispute settlement may come in for revision. The new TTIP talks, which would bring together two economies responsible for 30 percent of world trade and 45 percent of global GDP, could be expansive, covering a range of market access, regulatory, and rules matters. A possible U.S.-UK FTA negotiation is also under active consideration.
Our Trade Team
TSG’s Trade Negotiations Practice members are available to help governments, companies, and trade associations understand the context and process of current negotiations and renegotiations, advising them on strategies which can maximize their business and policy goals, and crafting and implementing advocacy campaigns to help achieve desired outcomes. Specific areas of expertise include (but are not limited to) agriculture, energy, environment, autos, chemicals and pharmaceuticals, as well as financial and other service sectors. We are familiar with the particular issues that arise in connection with regulations and other non-tariff barriers and how these affect trade and investment flows. We examine these issues against the broader background of geopolitical relationships between the partners in each negotiation and globally, and in relation to ongoing trade negotiations involving the EU, China, Japan, India, and others. Through our partner relationships, we also can help clients navigate and impact policymaking in the 50 U.S. states, which play both direct and indirect roles in trade, investment, energy, environment, labor and other policy outcomes.
Our Strengths in Key Partner Nations
We are well positioned in the major trading partners. Several of our senior advisors have worked in top US government and business association positions on trade and economic policy, including decades of experience leading US trade negotiating teams. In Canada and Mexico we have either resident TSG senior advisors or partner relationships with expert local firms. In Europe, we have senior advisors with a strong network of contacts throughout the region who are thoroughly familiar with the current political dynamics in the European Commission, the Parliament and the Council, as well as with the specific technical and regulatory issues that are of overriding importance for business. We also maintain a partnership relationship with a leading Brussels-based policy advisory firm. With these assets, TSG can act quickly to focus on whatever question or need for an assessment a client may bring to us.
We are truly transnational. Our team members in North and South America, Europe, Asia and Africa and the Middle East have extensive contacts on every continent that can be tapped for additional input based on their detailed knowledge of how legislative, regulatory and political processes work in different parts of the world.