USA:s exempel har inte blivit populärt — länder letar handelspartners på annat håll

Säkraste (men tyvärr också oftast dyraste) sättet att desavouera en dålig politisk idé är att genomföra den. Före Brexit fanns det i alla EU-länder människor som var högljutt entusiastiska för att lämna EU. Anhängarna till Brexit trodde att britternas beslut skulle utlösa en dominoeffekt. Men så blev det inte. Tvärt om. EU-motståndarna finns säkert fortfarande kvar, men de är rätt tysta och ingen pekar på Brexit som ett entusiasmerande exempel.

Samma sak med Trumps idéer om handel. I den mån de någonsin varit populära i omvärlden är numera snarast avskydda. Och istället för att bli lamslagna av USA:s motvilja mot det internationella handelssystemet har världens ledare tagit steg mot att skapa frihandelsavtal vid sidan av USA. EU har på ett år ersatt USA som motorn i världens frihandelssträvanden och länder som tidigare uppfattade USA som den intressantaste handelspartnern vänder sig nu mot andra marknader och skapar avtal mellan sig för att få fasta förhållanden.

Men problemen för frihandeln är förstås inte över. Donald Trump var varken först eller ensam om att misstänkliggöra handel som en orsak till USA påstådda förlust av jobb och i andra delar av världen — läs EU — finns det en misstänksamhet mot frihandel och globalisering bland vänster- och miljöaktivister vilka i dag i praktiken är rörelser med närmast hundraprocentig överlappning.

Washington Post skriver om utvecklingen:

”BRUSSELS — Mexicans want European customers for their cheese and orange juice. Europe’s manufacturers hope to sell toothbrushes and marble to Mexico’s growing middle class. And if Mexican revelers need some fizz to ring in the New Year, France wants it to be French champagne.

So much for NAFTA.

With President Trump threatening to tear up North America’s 23-year-old free-trade agreement, Mexican officials are in Brussels this week trying to upgrade a deal with Europe to soften the hit.

Mexico is not the only U.S. ally forced to look for new friends. Since Washington shrugged off its role as globalization’s biggest cheerleader, Japan has worked out an agreement with the European Union that is awaiting a final green light.

And after U.S. trade officials criticized the World Trade Organization at a ministers’ meeting in Buenos Aires last week, other nations seem to be doubling down on a defiant response: The globalized model the Americans once championed will survive without them.

“We hope that over the next few days that we will be able to have a positive outcome on Mexico,” said the top E.U. agriculture official, Phil Hogan, who is to meet with Mexican Economy Minister Ildefonso Guajardo Villarreal on Wednesday.

Apart from the European Union, Mexico is bargaining with Argentina, Brazil and Asia. Meanwhile, Europe is flirting with Latin America, Australia and New Zealand. The efforts were turbocharged by Trump’s free-trade skepticism after he abandoned the Trans-Pacific Partnership, a pan-Asian deal that was a pet project of the Obama administration and included the E.U., Japan and Mexico.

Officials involved in the negotiations say they have been happy to try to salvage the rubble from Trump’s torpedo.

“The E.U. is left as practically the only big player in the global arena without the U.S., so it’s a necessity to conclude agreements,” said Alessia Mosca, the E.U. lawmaker overseeing the Mexico deal for the European Parliament. “For this reason there has been a speedup to the talks.”

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Still, some analysts caution that there is a limit to trade deals, noting also that the United States is hardly alone in its growing wariness of globalization. Nor did the new skepticism originate with Trump — even his Democratic presidential opponent, Hillary Clinton, dropped her support for the Trans-Pacific Partnership during the 2016 campaign.

“We have for the past 10 years been in this strange and difficult situation for many countries that for 50 years broadly followed the leadership of America in global trade policy,” said Fredrik Erixon, director of the European Center for International Political Economy, a Brussels-based think tank.

“Now America isn’t there,” he said. “And many countries, including those in the E.U., have difficulties to figure out what to do now.””

 


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Kategorier: Frihandel