“Trumponomics”, with its shift away from multilateral trading blocs, will not be allowed to “contaminate” Europe, a former European Union (EU) Trade Commissioner has insisted.
Denouncing President Donald J. Trump’s trade policies, which place the welfare of American workers at the heart of American trade objectives, as “outdated”, Pascal Lamy told an audience in Brussels that they were bound to fail, Euractiv has reported.
“He’s surrounded himself with people whose views on trade date from 50 years ago. They’re all 70 plus and they probably learned what they learned on trade when they were 20,” Lamy, 69, said.
Lamy, who is also a former Director General of the World Trade Organization (WTO), warned that “Trumponomics” will hit the American workers it aspires to help the hardest by provoking a trade war with China, and he insisted the EU will not follow the president’s lead.
His comments come just two days after President Trump signed an executive order to pull the U.S. out of the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP).
Signing the order, Trump called the decision to withdraw from TPP a “great thing for the American worker”, but Lamy insisted the Administration’s pivot away from multilateral trade only resonated among the American electorate because the U.S. labour market was hit harder by globalisation than any European country.
Lamy then both feigned indifference towards TPP – calling it a “zombie” – and expressed enthusiasm for the idea that America’s withdrawal could open the deal up to European involvement, as the remaining 11 partners hang in limbo.
Lamy was also dismissive of the likely effects on the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP), which was yesterday described as “dead and buried” by a leading British conservative think tank, saying that the European Commission officials who drew up the deal “have themselves not even understood what they were doing when they started TTIP”.
However, he welcomed British Prime Minister Theresa May’s remarks at the World Economic Forum in Davos, in which she lauded Britain as a “global trading nation”, which he said proved that Brexit was not inspired by Trump style economics.
“As long as the answer to this Brexit vote is ‘Global Britain’, I don’t think she ranks protectionism very high in the reasons why Britain turns inward,” Lamy said of May.
His comments are broadly in line with those of other senior EU officials. Yesterday the EU Trade Commissioner Cecilia Malmström conceded that TTIP was now “firmly in the freezer”, boasting: “Trump or no Trump, we have a long list of many others willing to deal with the EU, and about 20 more trade deals already in the pipeline.”
In a thinly veiled barb at President Trump, she insisted that Europe will not be changing tack from globalism, saying: “Those who, in the 21st century, think that we can become great again by rebuilding borders, reimposing trade barriers, restricting people’s freedom to move, are doomed to fail.”