European Union: No New Trade Deals With Countries Not Implementing The Paris Agreement


Robin Andrews

Science & Policy Writer



Officials at the European Union (EU) have declared that, if the US does indeed withdraw from the Paris agreement in 2020, then there will be no future trade deals between the two blocs.

As reported by Climate Home News, France’s Foreign Minister, Jean-Baptiste Lemoyne, told the French Parliament that “one of our main demands is that any country who signs a trade agreement with [the] EU should implement the Paris agreement on the ground.


“No Paris agreement, no trade agreement,” he added. “The US knows what to expect.”

The use of the word "implementation" here suggests that the trading partners need to not have just signed, but ratified the Paris agreement. That means that it wouldn't just be the US that's excluded, but 23 other countries, including Russia. The US, however, is clearly the target of this proposal.

Responding to a request to comment about this on Twitter, Anna Cecilia Malmström, the European Commissioner for Trade, supported this call.


It’s likely that the comments have come in response to US Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross’ recent suggestions that the US is happy to talk with the EU with regards to the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership, a proposed free trade agreement.


“Business leaders and diplomatic experts warned the Trump administration that undermining the Paris agreement would result in a loss of US credibility and influence,” Sierra Club Global Climate Policy Director John Coequyt said in an emailed statement.

“We now see that they were correct.”

This is hard to deny. The overall aim of the Paris accords is to save the planet from climate change nightmares, of course – but regardless of how successful that turns out to be, one undeniable side effect of the agreement is that America, or at least the federal government, is losing political influence on the world stage by being the only country on Earth to reject it.

Immediately after the infamous Rose Garden announcement, much of the US fell into the company of countries aiming to take mitigating action on climate change. States, cities, and businesses quickly set up pro-Paris alliances and threw their lot in with the EU – particularly Germany and France – as well as China, all of whom have an interest, both environmental and political, in decarbonization.


At the same time, France is successfully poaching America’s climatologists, while promising to fund climate change programs at the UN that the US has abandoned. As the White House abdicates responsibility, the EU is beginning to step up to the plate.

This trend looks set to continue for some time. Science is being so thoroughly undermined in the US that the White House has become both a pariah and a laughing stock in the international community. The lack of adherence to science, climate-based or otherwise, even contributed to setting the symbolic Doomsday Clock to two minutes to midnight a few weeks back.

Trade barriers are another measure in this regard. It’s not the first time France has mooted such an idea, though. Back in 2016, the former French president Nicolas Sarkozy – who was running for office again at the time – suggested the country could place a carbon tax on goods imported from the US.


Significantly, the Canadian government has also implied that climate change mitigation features in any future renegotiation of the North American Free Trade Agreement, or NAFTA.


Yes, all of these proposals are hypothetical for now. At this stage, this is a way for wealthy trading blocs to protest Trump’s actions in a way that he might understand: using money, the economy, and trade.


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