Breaking Through Borders

Breaking Through Borders: A U.S. and E.U. Free Trade Agreement

Despite the ongoing trade war with China, the U.S has been in talks of ensuring free trade with other nations. In November of 2018, the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA) was signed ahead of the G-20 Summit in Buenos Aires.  January could see President Donald Trump sit down with Japan’s Prime Minister Shinzo Abe. Now, the European Union could be the next at the negotiating table.

Earlier this Summer, the administration announced the desire to create a pact between the U.S and the E.U. Issues regarding trade had taken the precedent. Previously, the Obama administration was throwing around the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership, or TTIP with Europe. But, it never came to fruition.

Apparel Industry Set to Benefit

Members of the apparel industry expressed eagerness for them to start the negotiation process. Apparel News shared that “In 2017, the United States exported $2.6 billion in textiles and apparel to the European Union while importing $5.5 billion in textiles and apparel from the EU.”

Ilse Metchek, president of the California Fashion Association, told Apparel News that apparel would greatly benefit. She was quoted saying, “At the luxury level, we use a lot of fabric from Italy and France, and the cost of those goods, if duties were off, would be down significantly. If you are going to a textile show such as Première Vision in France, you have to figure in how much extra it would cost for duties.” Rick Helfenbein, president and chief executive of the American Apparel & Footwear Association also agreed on the proposed agreement as “a step in the right direction.”

The U.S is at a Disadvantage Without a Deal U.S manufacturers are at a disadvantage when compared to other nations with a free-trade agreement with Europe. South Korea has free-trade with the EU. Also, Japan will see its pact with Europe take effect this year. In addition, Mexico will update their agreement. To level the playing field across ALL sectors, we should anticipate the U.S and EU to continue talks into the new year.

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