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The EU and North America

13.07.2021 - Article

The EU and North America enjoy close ties. Shared roots and values form a bond between the democracies on both sides of the Atlantic. The United States remains Europe’s most important security and economic partner. Canada maintains close political, economic and cultural cooperation with the EU.

Flags of the EU und der USA
Flags of the EU und der USA© photothek.net

Traditionally close economic and social cooperation

The links between the European Union and the United States have historical roots: America’s decision in 1945 not to withdraw from Europe, as it did after the First World War, provided for an element of stability and security during the Cold War. This enabled Europe to pursue its integration. Thus the integration of Europe following the Second World War was both a historic achievement by the Europeans and the successful result of far‑sighted American foreign policy.

The EU and the US enjoy the most substantial economic and trade relations in the world (trade worth 555.5 billion euro in 2020, EU export surplus of 150.3 billion euro).Transatlantic trade and mutual investment create growth and jobs both in the EU and in the United States. In 2020, 18.3% of goods exported from the EU were destined for the US, making it the prime destination for goods from the EU (ahead of the UK and China). 11.8% of goods imported by the EU in 2020 came from the US. Only China provided more (22.4%). US Americans invest three times as much in the EU as in the whole of Asia. EU nationals invest eight times as much in the United States as in China and India together (source: EUROSTAT).

In this context, the EU is key for bundling the interests of Germany and its European partners, for instance in the field of trade. Although they make up just over 10% of the world’s population, the EU and the United States produce about half of global national product and are responsible for around a third of global trade and one third of all patent registrations. They account for 60% of direct investments worldwide.

For historical reasons, Canada and its society also have profound ties to European traditions. Canada enjoys very close political, economic and cultural cooperation with the European states and institutions. A Strategic Partnership Agreement has been in place since 2016 to intensify cooperation between the EU and Canada, particularly on international peace and security policy, global governance, energy, research and development, the environment and climate change. A strategic partnership on raw materials was agreed on 15 June 2021 at the EU‑Canada Summit with a view to developing a robust and sustainable supply chain.

Since 2018 EU‑Canadian trade has been regulated by the Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (CETA). This led to an increase in the volume of trade of 4.5% in 2019.

Furthermore, the EU and its member states also cooperate closely with the US and Canada in the field of security and defence. This cooperation supplements the Euro-Atlantic security alliance under NATO auspices. In this way, Canada has regularly supported EU Common Security and Defence Policy missions since 2005, for example in Ukraine, Mali, Iraq and the Palestinian territories. In addition, the US and Canada were invited in early May 2021 to join the EU’s Permanent Structured Cooperation (PESCO) to improve military mobility.

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