Valdes Dombrowskis, Vice President of the European Commission
Every time the European Union negotiates a free trade agreement, it forces protesters to take to the streets. Whether it is a treaty with democracies like Canada and the United States, or communist Vietnam. “Every sixth job in the European Union depends on exports,” warns Valdes Dombrowski, Executive Vice President of the European Commission, in an interview with HN about demands to stop concluding free trade agreements. He also hopes that the US tariffs on European products imposed by former President Donald Trump will end soon. Dombrovskis is already negotiating a customs peace with the administration of Trump’s successor, Joe Biden.
HN: Why is there growing opposition to free trade in Europe? Isn’t that also because his supporters have previously claimed how everyone will earn money on him and have reduced negative impacts, such as moving jobs to countries with lower labor costs?
The European Commission recently committed again to promoting open and fair trade based on clear rules. It’s good to look at the numbers. The European Union has a very high trade surplus with the rest of the world. Second, 85% of global economic growth in the next decade will come from outside the European Union. If we are to take advantage of this growth, we need more trade, not less. If we close ourselves together, we will become poor. However, we must monitor the effects of free trade on specific sectors or regions and mitigate any negative effects.
HN: Even so, estimates of the benefits of free trade agreements are only in tenths of a percentage of GDP. Is it worth it at all, given the problems they’ve raised recently?
I don’t agree with that. 35 million jobs, every sixth, depend on exports in European Union countries. These are well-paying jobs. People who work on it earn an average of 12 percent more than others. So trade is very important to our economy.