EU proposes ‘transatlantic green trade agenda’ in wake of Biden’s election

Josep Borrell, Vice-President of the European Commission, presents proposals for a new EU-US agenda in Brussels, 2 December 2020. [Source: EC - Audiovisual Service]

The European Commission has proposed establishing “a comprehensive transatlantic green agenda” to coordinate EU-US positions on climate change in the wake of Joe Biden’s election to the White House.

The new green trade agenda, put forward by the European Commission on Wednesday (2 December), is part of a broader proposal to reset EU-US relations after four years of strained ties under Donald Trump.

“Let’s look forward, not back. Let’s rejuvenate our relationship,” said Josep Borrell, the EU’s foreign policy chief.

Renewed EU-US alliance to focus on climate, digital, 'strategic autonomy'

The EU’s chief diplomat Josep Borrell proposed a plan on Wednesday (2 December) for a renewed alliance between the EU and the US under President-elect, Joe Biden, based on greater climate cooperation and new efforts to smooth out commercial and digital friction.

High on the European Commission’s list of priorities is a proposal to forge a new “transatlantic green trade agenda” based on “a shared transatlantic commitment to a net-zero emissions pathway by 2050”.

A US commitment to climate neutrality by mid-century would mirror the EU’s own objective, adopted in December last year.

“Together with our partners, the EU and the US can lead the world towards a green, circular, competitive and inclusive economy,” the Commission said, adding this will require investment, innovation and “the right price signals” to make polluters pays for carbon emissions.

One key area of potential transatlantic cooperation is the EU’s upcoming Carbon Border Adjustment Mechanism, which aims to restore fair competition with countries that do not put a price on carbon emissions from polluting industries.

Europe and the US could “work together to set a global template for such measures,” the Commission said, calling for a joint EU-US “Trade and Climate initiative” within the World Trade Organisation.

Other proposals include a “green technology alliance”, and a global regulatory framework for sustainable finance, as well as joint leadership in the fight against deforestation, and stepping up ocean protection.

“As major financial hubs and regulators, the EU and the US are best placed” to develop a regulatory framework to support private investment in green technologies, the Commission said, citing its recent proposal for a sustainable finance taxonomy.

EU Commission drafts world's first 'green list' for sustainable investment

The European Commission on Friday (20 November) launched “the world’s first ever ‘green-list’” of sustainable economic activities for private investors by publishing draft guidelines under the EU’s green finance taxonomy.

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