Friday 05 March 2021

Employers urge new trade bloc with US against China


Dutch employers organisations are urging the government to lobby hard to form a new trade bloc with the US to create a counterbalance against China, the Financieele Dagblad said on Thursday.

Such a move would give the World Trade Organisation more teeth, VNO-NCW and MKB-Nederland wrote in a ‘position paper‘ they have sent to parliament.

‘’We should examine our interests and use them to make a new approach,’ said VNO-NCW chairman Hans De Boer. ‘We must join the race to the top instead of being on the defensive all the time.’

De Boer argued for a new initiative, a ‘smart deal’ with the US instead of a trade war. He said parliament should work towards a new trade bloc.

The US is the Netherlands’ largest trading partner outside the EU, accounting for annual bilateral trade of €50bn, of which €20bn is Dutch exports to the US. Dutch direct investment in the US totalled €170bn at end-2017, while the US had €118bn directly invested in the Netherlands.

De Boer said a trade bloc with the US would enable its members to determine the international standards of trade, sustainability and security. It could, he said, also reciprocate against China.

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