Make way, make way… Eminent Person coming through!

Eight months ago, the German Marshall Fund asked your humble blogger to be part of an "eminent persons group " to examine the future of the transatlantic economic relationship.  Now, I’m not gonna lie, I’ve always coveted the title of "eminent person."  If I’m required to age, there should be some perks, and I thought ...

By , a professor of international politics at the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy at Tufts University.

Eight months ago, the German Marshall Fund asked your humble blogger to be part of an "eminent persons group " to examine the future of the transatlantic economic relationship. 

Now, I'm not gonna lie, I've always coveted the title of "eminent person."  If I'm required to age, there should be some perks, and I thought this would be a big one: 

SNOOTY MAN WITH CLIPBOARD:  I'm sorry, this dance club is full

Eight months ago, the German Marshall Fund asked your humble blogger to be part of an "eminent persons group " to examine the future of the transatlantic economic relationship. 

Now, I’m not gonna lie, I’ve always coveted the title of "eminent person."  If I’m required to age, there should be some perks, and I thought this would be a big one: 

SNOOTY MAN WITH CLIPBOARD:  I’m sorry, this dance club is full

ME:  You don’t understand, I’m an…. Eminent Person!!  (flashed secret Eminent Person card)

SNOOTY MAN:  An Eminent Person?!  Oh my… take that velvet rope down NOW!!

As it turns out, being on an eminent person task force mostly means dialing into conference calls.  Still, the results are now out.  Here’s the GMFUS press release

The U.S. and the EU should remove all barriers in the transatlantic market for goods, services and investment. As a first step, custom duties should be eliminated on trade in goods. Services trade should be substantially liberalized. Regulatory divergences that impede trade and investment should be reduced through strengthened regulatory cooperation. Such reforms would not only boost economic growth and jobs; they would also create new positive tensions in global trade negotiations, encouraging other countries to agree on new liberalisation of trade and investment.

In light of experience in the Doha Round of multilateral trade negotiations, future deliberations should be decentralised, both in geographic and substantial terms. New agreements should be based on “coalitions of the willing”. The market access openings in such plurilateral agreements should initially be confined to the participating countries, in order to avoid free-riding. The agreements should, however, remain open for other countries to join, thus extending the benefits from trade liberalization. Strategic sectors, notably services and the digital economy, should be the focus of these negotiations.

Bilateral trade agreements are now the centerpiece of European and American trade strategy. To maximize the benefits from such efforts, the EU and the U.S. should integrate, harmonise and modernise their preferential trade agreements (PTAs) with third countries. In this way, the broadest benefits of such trade liberalization can be extended to more countries by reducing the bureaucratic differences between these agreements.

There is a need for a modern narrative about trade. Traditional perceptions of trade as a zero-sum game involving only im­ports and exports of goods no longer reflect the growing importance of investment and trade in services, the rise of multilateral firms, the globalization of supply chains, and the expansion of the digital economy.

Read the whole thing — needless to say, there’s not a ton of enthusiasm for another multilateral round via the WTO. 

Daniel W. Drezner is a professor of international politics at the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy at Tufts University, where he is the co-director of the Russia and Eurasia Program. Twitter: @dandrezner

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