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Sea Change in EU Trade Policy

SWP - 19. Oktober 2022 - 2:00

Europe’s trade policy is heading for a sea change. But it is not Putin’s war of aggression against Ukraine that is the main reason for this development. Rather, there are long-term influencing factors at work here: the WTO-centred multilateral trade order is visibly eroding. Protectionism is on the rise around the globe. World trade is grow­ing only marginally or is even stagnating. Globalization is undergoing a transforma­tion whose outcome is uncertain. And international trade is increasingly being instrumentalized for political purposes. In February 2021, the European Commission responded to these structural upheavals by announcing an “open, sustainable and assertive trade policy”. However, there has so far been uneven progress towards im­plementing the objectives included in the new trade policy strategy. While the EU’s intention to strengthen both Europe’s assertiveness and the sustainability of trade is being realized through numerous new instruments and measures, its promise of openness and liberalization remains unfulfilled for the time being. In particular, the Indo-Pacific region beyond China would offer the German and European economies significant opportunities to tap new sources of raw materials and access reliable sup­plier networks and growing sales markets.

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