NPR's Marketplace program has a story speculating about Biden's priorities, including the possibility that he would strike a U.S.-European Union free trade agreement, or one with the United Kingdom:
"I think it's very likely that a U.S.-EU agreement will precede a U.K.-U.S. agreement," said Allyson Stewart-Allen, CEO of International Marketing Partners and author of a new book, "Working With Americans."
Stewart-Allen argues that Biden wants to repair what he sees as the damage done to U.S.-EU relations over the past four years. And economically it makes far more sense to pursue a deal with the 27-nation bloc before one with Britain.
Well that sure is interesting. I was paying close attention to Biden during the presidential campaign and didn't hear a peep from him about a free trade deal with the E.U., though I did hear a lot from him about his plan to "buy American" and "Bring Back Critical Supply Chains to America so we aren't dependent on China or any other country for the production of critical goods in a crisis."
Perhaps Biden will count tariff reductions on products imported from Europe as a way to offset other tax increases while still claiming that, on a net basis, he hasn't raised taxes on taxpayers earning less than $400,000 a year. Perhaps he'll be able to get a kind of reverse bidding war going between the EU and the U.K over who can give the U.S. a better trade deal, a kind of race to the top for trade. Perhaps he sees closer U.S. ties with Europe and the United Kingdom as a way of counteracting the influence of China, which just inked its own trade pact with Asian partners. That's the best case scenario. The worst case scenario is that U.S.-E.U. "free trade" becomes something like the common market's evolution in Europe, degenerating into a way to impose burdensome new regulations by Brussels bureaucrats, the leading edge of a sort of globalist elite attack on national sovereignty.
The details matter a lot as to whether this would be free trade as tax-cutting or "free trade" as importing European regulations to American companies and consumers. Either way, it is newsworthy, and it will be worth watching closely.