WHY IT IS SO IMPORTANT THAT THE EU AND THE U.S. AGREE ABOUT FREE TRADE

Berlingske, Section 1, page 44.  Sunday, November 18, 2018 – Read the story on Berlingske.dk

WHY IT IS SO IMPORTANT THAT THE EU AND THE US AGREE ABOUT FREE TRADE

By the United States Ambassador to Denmark, Carla Sands, and the Danish Ambassador to the United States, Lars Lose.


The bonds between Denmark and the United States are strong.  Between 1850 and 1950, almost 350,000 Danes left their home country and immigrated to the United States.  These people eventually became Danish-Americans and through hard work and sacrifice, helped build the United States.  When hardship again came upon Europe and Denmark during World War II, the United States was there to help.  And in the years and decades that followed, the United States remained engaged in ensuring stability and prosperity in Europe.

Serious Challenges

Almost 70 years ago, in March 1948, the Marshall Plan, or the European Recovery Program, as it was then known, was passed by the United States Congress.  It provided unprecedented sums of money to war-torn Europe, stopped a humanitarian disaster, and helped promote long-term economic recovery.  The aid and growth during this period spurred tremendous economic progress throughout the decades to come to the benefit of both Europe and the United States.  The Marshall Plan was a decisive factor in the enduring goodwill that exists between the United States and Europe.  After World War II, the United States and Denmark were also among the founding members of a web of multilateral organizations – the United Nations, the North Atlantic Treaty Organization, and the Bretton Woods institutions – which were created to ensure that never again would the world see such devastating confrontation.  To this day, we remain committed to rules-based international cooperation because only that can bring peace and prosperity to our people.  And while the organizations we created together have to adapt to new challenges and reforms, they still serve as invaluable instruments for international cooperation.

Though the austerity of the post-war era is now long behind us, we continue to face a number of serious challenges that threaten to derail our economies and upset our democracies.  In light of this, it is imperative that we recognize that our strength and security lie in our shared values and common interests—and nowhere is this more critical than when it comes to trade.

The economic relationship between the United States and Denmark is integral to both nations.  We trade roughly 10 billion USD worth of goods and services every year and commerce between us creates jobs on both sides of the Atlantic.  The United States is Denmark’s third largest trading partner and the largest non-European partner.  Recent figures show that in 2016, 760 Danish subsidiaries in the United States employ almost 75,000 people–an increase of 6.5 percent from 2015–while more than 450 American companies in Denmark employ nearly 40,000 people. 

Our economies are intertwined like never before in our history and for good reason–Denmark is good for American business and vice-versa.

Part of what has made it so successful is our common belief in free and fair trade based on reciprocal opportunity as the foundation for stronger economic ties.

It is no secret that over the past weeks and months, the United States has sought to create playing fields that are more equitable in trade agreements around the world, including here in Europe.  While this may have left our relations strained, our partnerships have always remained steadfast and strong.  We don’t agree on all aspects of global trade, but we know that it is in our own best interest to work together to solve the challenges.  And if the United States and the European Union don’t work together to set the global standards for international trade, someone else will.  That is the beauty of U.S.-Danish and U.S.-European relations–sometimes we disagree, but as friends and allies we talk frankly and resolve our differences together in order to create a win-win situation. 

No To Trade War

The United States and Europe are prepared to work together to create new opportunities and improve the global trading system.  In the months ahead, we will strive to keep the dialogue open and focus on the real issues at hand rather than being distracted by the manufacturing of a trade war.

We agree that change is needed.  Global overcapacity in the steel sector continues to harm our economies, market-distorting subsidies given by certain governments create unfair competition, and we also need to address the problem of inadequate protection of intellectual property rights.  But the only way to address these challenges is by revising the rulebook together.  To this end, the United States, and the European Union should cooperate on issues of common concern and interest. 

Whatever the future holds, there can be no doubt that our partnership will continue to be a driving force for well-being, security, and prosperity on both sides of the Atlantic.  We are partner nations and we work together.