Only a multi-lateral system can ensure open, fair and free trade, say S&Ds to Trump

Donald Trump US flag

Reacting to US president Trump’s speech at the World Economic Forum in Davos this afternoon, the Socialists and Democrats in the European Parliament reiterated their commitment to a multilateral world order and an international trade system that is free, open and fair.

Elena Valenciano, S&D MEP and vice-president for international trade, said:

“With his self-congratulatory sales pitch on the US economy president Trump was clearly fishing for investors. If he truly cares about American jobs and industries, his administration should abstain from all talk of trade wars and protectionism, which is not only driving away potential investors and trading partners but also creates risks for the world economy.  A tit-for-tat escalation of tariffs between the USA and Europe would have terrible consequences for the economies on both sides of the Atlantic.

“For sure, unfair trade practices must be combatted. But only a multilateral system can ensure free, open and fair trade. We are extremely concerned that the US is blocking the appointment of judges to the WTO. The WTO dispute settlement benefits everyone. Reforms will only work if we undertake them together and co-operatively.

“Protectionism and nationalism are ghosts of the past and not the answers to the intrinsically multilateral challenges in the global 21st century. No nation-state, no matter how big and powerful, can go it alone. The European way, is the way to the future, because together we are stronger.”

Alessia Mosca, S&D MEP and spokesperson for trade added:

“President Trump announced his intention to protect intellectual property from theft and the US economy from unfair competition, resulting from state subsidies to industries. The European Union shares the commitment to fight unfair trading practices. But there is a huge difference between our position and the position of the US administration. Trump stands for protectionism, the EU stands for protection from unfair competition. The EU’s approach fights unfairness, Trump's approach creates unfairness. Protectionism seeks to close the door to dialogue, to relations, to co-operation – at a historic moment in which there is a stronger need for all of this.

“The European Union has the duty to fill the void left by the retreat of the United States. We need to be both a proponent and an interpreter of a commercial policy based on reciprocity, on the sharing of high standards, on consumer protection and dialogue with all partners. Our position on trade and globalisation is clear: we embrace openness with the intention of regulating it and ensuring that no one is left behind, least of all the weakest.”