Current Trade Matters - November 2021

Topics: Developments within the EU-U.S. Trade & Technology Council, trade updates, COP 26 in Glasgow
Photo Copyright: Tom Fisk

EU.-U.S. Trade & Technology Council Update

Starting today, on November 25 through December 2, 2021, the EU has invited stakeholders to participate at three events belonging to the Trade and Technology Council Working Group to address several priorities and gain insights from different groups, such as business stakeholders and experts, academia and larger civil society. 

The topics of these outreach meetings focus on:

  • Challenges from non-market economic policies
  • Barriers in products and services of emerging technology
  • Promotion and protection of labor rights, trade, and environment

The goals of the TTC can be found here, as part of the Inaugural Pittsburgh Statement from the first meeting of the group on September 29, 2021.
Find the fact sheet of the TTC here.

World Trade Organization 12th Ministerial Conference (November 30 - December 3)

In light of the upcoming WTO Ministerial Conference in Geneva taking place in a matter of days, most eyes are looking towards the Biden Administration and its input towards the trade organization vis-à-vis several factors such as: global challenges, the legacy of the former administration, and positioning towards competitors such as China. U.S. action towards China has also been subject of more attention after the virtual summit between Chinese President Xi Jinping and President Biden, who both have different stances on a considerable of range of global issues.

Although U.S. Trade Representative Katherine Tai has expressed the potential of the WTO and affirmed the U.S.’ commitment within the organization, for many, the lack of actual points of action from the Biden Administration is sending mixed signals. Topics such as the WTO reform to tackle unfair trade practices are still missing tangible action from the U.S. Many argue that this is also due to Biden’s focus at home with his efforts of passing the $1 trillion USD Infrastructure Bill. Fnd the analysis in full length here.

Steel and Aluminum Trade Dispute

As of end of October, the U.S. reached an agreement with the EU on the long-running dispute over U.S. tariffs on steel and aluminum imports. This was stated by U.S. Commerce Secretary Gina Raimondo and Trade Representative Katherine Tai on the occasion of the G20 summit of the 20 major economic powers in Rome.

Consequently, the U.S. and the EU started talks for a Global Arrangement on Sustainable Steel and Aluminum to ensure production and trade, but keeping the environmental impact of steel and aluminum production and the carbon emissions of the industry.

This de-carbonisation effort in the steel and aluminum industry marks another strong signal of strengthening the transatlantic ties this year, along with the establishment of the EU-U.S. Trade Technology Council and the break on tariffs and trade disputes. More details can be found here.

COP 26 in Glasgow

The results can be summarized into three main objectives, strengthening adaptation, mitigation and financial efforts. 

  • Work out a program to define global goals
  • Strengthening of the Santiago Network to address challenges and needs
  • Pledge of providing 100 billion USD annually from developed countries towards developing countries
  • Encouraging Parties to align their emission targets and national action pledges with the Paris Agreement
  • Paris rulebook (Article 6 on carbon markets) to operationalize the Paris Agreement
  • Negotiations on the Enhanced Transparency Framework concluded

Read the official UNFCCC press release here.

Implications for Germany: 

  • higher climate goals (increase of support from 4 to 6 billion EUR)
  • financing adjustment (increase of 150 million EUR for developing counries)
  • financing towards forest protection in joint effort with 12 other states with a sum up to 12 billion EUR together
  • nuclear power must not be included in EU taxonomy as sustainable
  • Germany also signed the Global Methane Pledge to reduce climate-damaging methane emissions worldwide by at least 30 percent by 2030 compared with 2020

Find the press release of the Federal Ministry for the Enivorment, Nature Conservation and Nuclear Safety here.

In the context of COP 26, AmCham Germany signed the AmCham EU Statement on Climate Action, to support the objectives of the COP26 conference, the prescribed emission reduction targets set out by the Paris Agreement and to call for international cooperation to reach these goals.

One of our members of the Energy & Climate Policy Committee, DOW Deutschland Inc. provided input towards future-oriented energy mechanisms. Jim Fitterling, CEO, DOW Inc., explains in this opinion piece, the concept of a voluntary Emissions Trading System as an effective and efficient means of providing a market based price on carbon that can incentivize new technologies and accelerate low- to zero-emissions technologies while remaining globally competitive. 

Heather Liermann

Head of Department

Membership Engagement & Development