YPFP Brussels: International Trade from battleground to opportunity

Posted on November 29, 2012

Members and friends of YPFP Brussels recently assembled at the US Mission to the EU to hear from a high level panel of experts on the importance and future of transatlantic trade.

“We want to challenge the rest of the world to have as open markets as we do” stated one of our speakers in opening remarks. Indeed, sentiment in the room was focused on understanding how ‘behind-the-border’ issues can act as de facto trade barriers between potential partners.


The Rocky Road to Free Trade Agreements

With a final Commission report soon due to recommend the future direction of transatlantic trade, our speakers gave us an insight into the history behind US-EU international trade, and the comparative importance of future transatlantic trade in order to boost growth. With the US-EU share of global trade already set to decline, our speakers concurred that Free Trade Agreements are Europe’s avenue forwards.Speaking of FTA negotiations one of our speakers stated, “it would be the biggest achievement in international trade,” whilst another concluded that “free competition is the only model for growth.” This was felt across the board, despite the current difficult economic circumstances.

The desire for growth is one primary impulse to the push for further transatlantic trade, something which can be seen through the current institutional mantra, “growth and jobs.” Yet, as one of our speakers was keen to point out, such trade agreements face huge boundaries – not only are both sides cautious of spending capital to get negotiations off the ground, but also a difference in standards, systems and public acceptance between the US, EU and other parties, often complicate further negotiations.


Further Questions Moving Forward

The lively question and answer session explored topics such as the sustainability of emerging economies and the need to harness innovation in policies designed to drive international trade.

“Such panel discussions with high-level guest speakers are a crucial part of providing young professionals with the opportunity to engage with senior policy makers” commented David Henry Doyle, Executive Director of YPFP Brussels. “YPFP aims to provide its members with the knowledge, skills and exposure to meet future challenges that will help this generation in their professional lives as they aim to become foreign policy leaders.”