Without U(S): Canada, EU & Mantle of Global Leadership

♠ Posted by Emmanuel in , at 2/16/2017 03:27:00 PM
Fancy that; some people still believe in liberal ideals like concluding free trade agreements.
First off, against all odds, the Canada-EU Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement [CETA] is as good as done after European parliamentary approval. In the face of Brexit and Donald "Build the Wall" Trump--killer of the Trans-Pacific Partnership--we have an honest-to-goodness free trade agreement being concluded. Remember those? If I recall correctly, they involve removing remaining barriers to international trade between two or more countries...by reducing tariffs, for instance.

Just one trade deal and the Canadians and Europeans (or what I assume Trump would call the "failing EU") are now giddy thinking of usurping a role the US previously held. After visiting Trump in Washington--which he looked forward to as much as having a root canal operation probably--Canadian PM Trudeau headed to the European parliament in Strasbourg to celebrate CETA's signing:
With the passage of their trade deal, Canada and the European Union offer a counter to Trump, who has withdrawn from the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) and wants to rework the North American Free Trade Agreement.

For Canada the Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (CETA) is important to reduce its reliance on the neighbouring United States as an export market. For the EU, it is a first trade pact with a G7 country and a success to hail after months of protests at a time when the bloc's credibility has taken a beating from Britain's vote last June to leave.
This version of events is no doubt highly optimistic given the questionable future of the EU post-Brexit amid the encouragement Trump gave to any number of his European clones--racist / protectionist / isolationist elements--in France, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands, etc. Still, if not the Europeans, who else is there left to take up the mantle of global leadership after Trump's USA has effectively abandoned the cause of the liberal project?
Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said on Thursday that the whole world benefited from a strong European Union and that the bloc and his country needed to lead the international economy in challenging times. Trudeau told the European Parliament that the Union was an unprecedented model for peaceful cooperation in a speech that marked his distance from both the United States under new President Donald Trump, who has questioned the value and future of the bloc, and from Britain, which has voted to leave it.

An effective European voice on the global stage was not just preferable, but essential, Trudeau said.
"You are a vital player in addressing the challenges that we collectively face as an international community," he told EU lawmakers a day after they backed an EU-Canada free trade deal. "Indeed the whole world benefits from a strong EU."
Trudeau, who will also visit Germany, said that Canada and the European Union shared a belief in democracy, transparency and the rule of law, in human rights, inclusion and diversity.
Yes, there's China pretending to be the heir to the throne through Xi Jinping's free trade rhetoric, but of course there's the unavoidable fact of its unyielding political repression at home. As such, it would be a rather strange guarantor for the continuation of the (US-initiated) postwar order.

Absent any other plausible alternatives, the EU and Canada may be the best left.