An EU-U.S. trade pact?

I do favor the idea, but the bottom line is more likely this:

…[it] would require Europe to open farm, service and other markets that it has been slow to deregulate.

…U.S. officials have been concerned that Europe’s complex politics — of the 27 EU nations, some are avowed free-trade supporters while some veer towards protectionist industrial policy — would make for protracted and perhaps futile negotiations.

The letter from the two senators is a reminder of just how difficult an agreement would be. Goods already flow freely between the United States and the E.U. Much of the value of a free-trade pact would come through reducing regulatory red tape so that — for example — the two sides would adopt common policies on food safety, pharmaceutical testing, patents and other complex regulatory issues.

We cannot deregulate our own country, and yet we think we can deregulate a hydra-headed, 27-nation negotiating sclerotic behemoth?  The big lure here is that the larger EU companies could access government procurement contracts in much of the U.S., but I don’t see that as a political trump by any means, most of all in the smaller countries.  And what is the chance that the U.S. wins concessions only by adopting, in some cases, tougher regulatory policies (in the inappropriate and sclerotic sense)?  Might this in some cases, through perhaps the magic of public choice theory, evolve into a regulatory cartel?

Nonetheless, as mentioned above, I’m all for trying.


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