The well-known Chinese news site The Paper recently reported that the newly reached zero-tariff trade deal between the U.S. and the European Union (EU) sounded a lot better than the outcome of the G7 and the NATO summits. It is understandable and logical that these old allies wanted to avoid an ugly final show-down on trade when both sides were under heavy internal pressure. However, the actual negotiation, as the result of the agreed framework, will be very tough and will drag on for a long time. Only one day after the announcement, the world started to hear different interpretations of the deal. The Germans were more optimistic about the trade deal, but France sounded very cautious and immediately excluded agricultural topics from any future negotiation. The soon-to-start negotiation rounds most likely will be a long and tedious process since it is naturally hard to get 28 EU members to agree on anything. Chinese trade experts expressed the belief that it seems the developed countries now think that the WTO trade framework no longer serves their best interests. That sounded a lot like the TTIP negotiation Obama started with the EU, which ended up going nowhere. The spokesperson of the Chinese Ministry of Foreign Affairs commented in a press briefing that China expects the efforts between the U.S. and the EU will follow the international multilateral trade rules, such as the non-discrimination principle.
Source: The Paper, July 28, 2018