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How to Survive a Trade War [Event]

EU AFFAIRS, EVENTS
Survive a Trade War

With the United States and China matching each other tariff for tariff, Europe finds itself at the center of a global trade conflict. In a world where uncertainty is the new normal, representatives from the...

With the United States and China matching each other tariff for tariff, Europe finds itself at the center of a global trade conflict. In a world where uncertainty is the new normal, representatives from the business, industrial, and government sectors find themselves without a clear direction of how to navigate current and future trade deals.

On October 16th, Edelman Brussels hosted a forum titled How to Survive a Trade War: Successfully Navigating EU-US Trade and Tariff Policy. This forum brought together representatives from business and the public sector to discuss the different elements of the trade war. The panelists included:

  • John Clarke, Director of International Affairs, DG Agriculture & Rural Development, European Commission
  • Ambassador Darci Vetter, former Chief Negotiator, Office of the U.S. Trade Representative and Vice Chair for Trade, Edelman Washington D.C.
  • Karl Tachelet, Director of Trade and External Relations, EUROFER
  • Marie Audren, Director, International Trade and Economic Affairs, spiritsEUROPE

Moderated by Lisa Ross, President of Edelman DC, the panelists debated what a successful outcome of the trade war would look like, and how each individual sector could establish a plan to achieve that success.

From the collected US and European perspectives on offer, a common consensus drove the dialogue for most of the discussion: this is a trade war instigated and perpetuated by China and the US.

The EU, rather than being an active member of the trade war, stands in the middle. The Commission engages in a daily balancing act between the US and China, while simultaneously attempting to protect the consumers and businesses of the European Union.

Because China is the root cause of the trade war, there is an urgency for countries with similar trade goals to unite their actions in an attempt to bring China back to the table and back to market behavior.

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>> Look back: we gathered some initial reactions on the trade war in June 2018. Read them here <<

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Nonetheless, there was general agreement that the WTO rulebook needs to be modernized to make the sort of behavior China is engaged in illegal. There are no rules around that China can be accused of directly flouting, rather they skirt on the edges of the accepted rules-based trading framework.

Participants note that the goal of the WTO is to ensure that trade flows efficiently and predictably throughout the world, and therefore is the platform through which most trading countries negotiate their agreements. The panelists debated the necessity for the WTO to play a strong role in creating solutions during this period of trade uncertainty. They agreed that the organization could not be successful without the presence of the US, but the current trajectory of US trade policy fundamentally undermines the institution.

In the long term, the panelists agreed that the WTO still offers the best solution to creating unity in the midst of the trade war, and that the US needs to be convinced of its power to create any kind of agreement with the EU and China. The ongoing trade wars are about far more than one country’s actions against another. The true concern is the destruction of an entire rules-based system of global trade.

survive a trade war welcome desk

Some noted that trade is now depicted as a zero-sum game with winners and losers, a stark contrast to the depiction of mutually beneficial trade for much of the previous three decades. As governments continue with this rhetoric, some panelists suggested that businesses should speak up to protect for themselves and their consumers – but, so far, the private sector has mostly kept quiet.

The panelists warned that if this complacency continues, businesses will find themselves left to handle the tariffs being installed with no input into the process nor resistance. Businesses have a clear opportunity to lead the way in trade agreements, but this can happen only if and when they decide to speak up.

The forum brought different perspectives of the trade war together to discuss how different parties should be thinking about how to be successful in the coming months and years. At the end of the discussion, one point remained clear: the trade war cannot be fought without all sectors included.
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Want advice on how to survive a trade war?

Contact Edelman Brussels to learn more.

AI in Europe

Gurpreet Brar, General Manager, Brussels

Europe Seeks its Place in the Global AI Race

TECHNOLOGY
global AI race

Artificial intelligence (AI) has taken centre stage in the EU’s policy agenda. In April 2018, the European Commission (EC) published its blueprint strategy for AI. The plan sets out a timeline for an R&D and...

Artificial intelligence (AI) has taken centre stage in the EU’s policy agenda.

In April 2018, the European Commission (EC) published its blueprint strategy for AI. The plan sets out a timeline for an R&D and regulatory effort that will dominate the agenda of European decision makers in the months ahead. With Europe’s competitiveness, growth and jobs at stake, Member States such as France and Germany are devising their own national AI strategies. Despite lagging behind the US and China in AI investments, German Chancellor Angela Merkel has made it clear: ‘We also want to compete and be in the forefront’.

The transformative power of AI is already shifting our healthcare systems, driving efficiencies and pushing the boundaries of our industries and everyday lives. But it is also having profound implications for the broader economy, sparking concerns among policy makers about the social and ethical issues arising from its application. As Europe seeks its path to AI development, its penchant for high data privacy standards and ethics-first approach is poised to have an impact beyond its boundaries, as demonstrated by the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR).

Businesses are faced with significant challenges to realise the full potential of AI. These range from financial pressures to skills gap or lack of public trust in AI systems. The three core pillars underpinning Europe’s AI strategy aim to address some of these challenges. The three pillars are:

1) Boosting capacity and investments;

2) Preparing for the socio-economic changes;

3) Ensuring “an appropriate ethical and legal framework” for AI.

The strategy sets out the goal to increase public and private R&D investments in AI to at least €20 billion by the end of 2020 from an estimated total of €4-5 billion last year. Beyond these goals, it remains to be seen whether the EU will manage to secure the required scale of investments to compete with the US and China in the AI economy.

Read the full briefing here

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Interested in understanding the European debate on AI and gaining insight how it may impact you and your business?

Contact Edelman Brussels to learn more.

AI in Europe

Gurpreet Brar, General Manager, Brussels

Reactions to US Steel and Aluminium Tariffs from the European Union, Canada and Mexico

GENERAL
Reactions to US Steel and Aluminium Tariffs

Edelman has gathered reactions to the new US steel and aluminium tariffs from all the key players. This briefing note contains relevant market data and regulatory updates as well as initial analysis on changes likely...

Edelman has gathered reactions to the new US steel and aluminium tariffs from all the key players. This briefing note contains relevant market data and regulatory updates as well as initial analysis on changes likely to come in the following days and weeks.

On March 7, 2018, president Donald Trump moved to place a 25 percent tariff on steel and 10 percent on aluminum imports from all nations, with temporary exemptions for Canada and Mexico. This measure was grounded on a seldom-used law from the 1960s that was designed to protect key domestic industries deemed vital to national defense. It should be noted that Canada is the largest steel and aluminum exporter to the US, while Mexico holds the fourth place in steel exports.

This move triggered negative reactions within the Republican Party, with Paul Ryan, Speaker of the United States House of Representatives, Gary Cohn, former director of the National Economic Council, and Ben Sasse, Republican Senator for the state of Nebraska, utterly opposing the tax reform law3. Meanwhile, companies like U.S. Steel and Century Aluminum applauded this decision by announcing investment plans and projects to reactivate idled smelters.

Furthermore, this measure has aggravated tensions on NAFTA negotiations. While the US sees this measure as a factor to push forward negotiations, Mexico and Canada have declared that they will not yield to US pressure.

On Thursday, May 31 commerce secretary, Wilbur Ross, announced the imposition of a 25 percent tariff on steel and 10 percent on aluminum imports from the European Union, Canada, and Mexico.

Read all the reactions here

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Interested in tracking the European debate and gaining insight how it may impact you and your business?

Contact Edelman Brussels to learn more.

Reactions to US Steel and Aluminium Tariffs

Gurpreet Brar, General Manager, Brussels

Multiannual Financial Framework 2021-2017: An Overview

EU AFFAIRS
Mulitannual Financial Framework

Our last briefing note broke down the top down political implications of the proposed Multiannual Financial Framework (MFF). This one dives deep into how the budget is divided, what the timeline is for its passing...

Our last briefing note broke down the top down political implications of the proposed Multiannual Financial Framework (MFF). This one dives deep into how the budget is divided, what the timeline is for its passing and what the reactions have been so far.

The European Commission released on the 2nd of May 2018 its proposal for the next MFF. which will cover the years 2021 to 2027. The MFF sets the budget of the European Union for the next seven years and determines how it will be allocated to its various programmes. As such, the MFF reaffirms the EU’s political priorities and defines how they will be achieved. Much awaited due to the impending Brexit, the proposal can be perceived as a bold move by the Commission, seeking to increase the EU budget and investing in new priorities such as defence or digital transformation, while cutting funds in flagship programmes.

Despite the sizeable gap created by Brexit, the European Commission proposes to set the EU budget up to €1.279 trillion, which accounts for 1.11% of the EU27’s gross national income. This ambitious amount is well-aligned with the Commission’s motto for this MFF – ‘doing more with less’ – and aims to face two main challenges: dealing with the financial consequences of the UK’s withdrawal, and providing additional resources to tackle the EU’s new priorities.

Read the full briefing here

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Interested in tracking the European debate and gaining insight how it may impact you and your business?

Contact Edelman Brussels to learn more.

2021-2027 EU budget

Gurpreet Brar, General Manager, Brussels

2021-2027 EU budget

Federica Boledi, PA Practices, Brussels

Between The Numbers

GENERAL
2021-2027 EU budget

The EU has so far managed to avoid answering some of the fundamental questions that have been troubling the block for years: How will Brexit affect the remaining countries? Whose responsibility is the migration crisis...

The EU has so far managed to avoid answering some of the fundamental questions that have been troubling the block for years: How will Brexit affect the remaining countries? Whose responsibility is the migration crisis and how can Member States better tackle terrorism? Can Member States refuse to abide to European values (e.g. the principle of solidarity in the refugee crisis) and still benefit from the EU funds? … But the discussion on the new EU budget is bringing all the chickens home to roost and will force the EU and its Member States to find a middle ground on many of these thorny issues.

On 2 May, the EU published the proposal for the next seven-year budget, which covers the amount of money the organisation will be able to spend, invest and award to players and projects in the EU for the period 2021-2027. Though it may seem boring and uneventful on the surface, the adoption of the EU budget will be the one thing that will force Member States to discuss and hopefully agree on a shared vision for the future of the EU.

To start, this will be the first budget to be agreed without the UK, and Member States will have to increase contributions to the EU in order to cover at least part of the estimated annual €12 billion gap created by the UK’s departure. It remains to be seen whether the proposed €1,279 billion budget, an increase of 15% over the previous period, will be agreed, as detractors complain that a Union of 27 shouldn’t be more expensive than one including 28 Member States.

The increased budget, however, is justified by many by the increased number of priorities of the EU, including security and migration. While the proposal foresees significant cuts to major programs dedicated to the agricultural sector (-5%) and regional development (-7%) – two areas that have been the cornerstone of EU spending since the early days – it introduces new priorities such as defence (€13 billion) and digital transformation (up to €9.5 billion). Winners of this proposal are, without doubt, the research and innovation fund, which received a 30% increase compared to the previous budget, and border control, migration and asylum policies which saw their allocation more than doubled in this proposal…

Read the rest of the briefing here

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Interested in tracking the European debate and gaining insight how it may impact you and your business?

Contact Edelman Brussels to learn more.

2021-2027 EU budget

Gurpreet Brar, General Manager, Brussels

2021-2027 EU budget

Federica Boledi, PA Practices, Brussels

Trust Barometer 2018: The Battle for Truth

EVENTS, INTELLECTUAL PROPERTY
trust summit 2018

Trust Summit 2018 28 March 2018, 14:00-18:00 | Brussels Presented by Edelman Brussels and the Public Affairs Council, with special thanks to our summit partners Pfizer and EY. Please register now to ensure attendance. Building...

trust summit 2018

Trust Summit 2018

28 March 2018, 14:00-18:00 | Brussels

Presented by Edelman Brussels and the Public Affairs Council, with special thanks to our summit partners Pfizer and EY. Please register now to ensure attendance.

Building on the success of last year’s European Trust Summit, the 2018 edition will take place on 28 March.

Co-presented by the Public Affairs Council and Edelman, we expect to attract over 100 mid- to senior-level government officials and public affairs professionals.

The publication of the Edelman 2018 Trust Barometer, along with major changes in social, regulatory and business trends have made this senior-level discussion a must-attend event for crafting your corporate or association strategy for 2018.

Pricing

  • PAC Members: €50
  • Non-Members: €95

Prices exclude VAT @ 21%, includes light refreshments, handouts, and an evening reception.

Get your tickets here.


Speakers include

Register now.


Event Location

Thon Hotel EU
Rue de la Loi 75
B-1040
Brussels


Agenda

13:30-14:00 Arrival/Check-in

14:00-14:20 Keynote speech

14:20-14:25 Why trust matters for corporate governance

14:25-14:50 Trust Barometer Findings

14:50-15:50 Panel I:

  • The issues businesses face in building trust with consumers
  • The role NGOs play in influencing their policy agendas
  • The reasons for and consequences of increased trust in employers

15:50-16:15 Coffee Break

16:15-17:15 Panel 2:

  • Media, platforms and spokespeople, and the actions media and regulators can take in this complex environment.

17:15-18:00 Closing remarks

18:00 Reception

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