The Future of International Trade and Investment (ESPAS Ideas Paper)
This paper examines current trends, uncertainties and wild cards in relation to international trade and investment. It then considers implications for the European Union.
The European Union’s interest remains clear: a rules-based order is better than a transactional or winner-takes-all approach to international trade. But it is wise to plan for the worst, while hoping for the best.
The future of international trade and investment may lie somewhere between the extremes of the status quo and a reversion to protectionism. This would involve a thorough revision and rebalancing of multilateral norms, to take account of major global changes on many fronts. The EU has traditionally been a leading player in the creation of international institutions and norms. But the days when Europe could dictate the global agenda are over. Europe’s role will be increasingly a matter of seeking to influence events, rather than asserting dominance. In the coming decades, internal unity and a strong sense of purpose will be all the more important.
ORBIS is powered by ESPAS, the European Strategy and Policy Analysis System, a unique inter-institutional project aimed at strengthening the EU's efforts in the crucial area of forward planning. ESPAS brings together the European Commission, the European Parliament, the Secretariat General of the Council of the European Union and the European External Action Service to strengthen the Union's collective administrative capacity to identify and analyse the key trends and challenges, and the resulting policy choices, which are likely to confront Europe and the wider world in the decades ahead.