On 16 June 2020, the EU Commissioner for Trade Phil Hogan launched at the European University Institute (EUI) a public consultation for a comprehensive review of EU trade policy.
In an Op-Ed for EULawLive, Birmingham Law School's Dr Luca Rubini has published his initial comments on this very important review (‘A renewed trade policy for a stronger Europe’) which will lead to the adoption of a strategic document by the end of the year informing EU trade policy for years.
In his piece for EULawLive he underlines how, given the multiple crises currently unfolding, trade policy has become increasingly comprehensive and complex. We should now change many of our points of reference and adopt new ones. The WTO has to be seriously re-thought. Within the context of a change in world leadership (US passing, China entering), the EU is finding a new place in global governance. This document is clear evidence of this. What, however, is less clear is the specific direction trade and investment policy will take. In its consultation note, the Commission has introduced a new concept, that of ‘Open Strategic Autonomy’, that in its intentions should constitute a new model informing EU trade policy. Jogging between openness and independence, it is still not fully clear what this notion will practically mean. It is almost as if the Priestess Pythia had spoken one of her famous ambiguous Delphic oracle. The next months will hopefully give a clearer shape to all this and fundamentally define the trade and investment leadership of the EU in global relations.