Institute for Politics and Society in cooperation with Aspen organize on-line debate "The Impact of a Pandemic and Economic Depression on International Trade", which will be held on October 19 from 16:00 to 17:30.

The consequences of the coronavirus pandemic have affected the global economy. Industry is struggling to recover from an unexpected situation that affects millions of people. There are many upcoming hot issues which concern the future of international trade and the European Union.

Firstly, Brexit: Prime Minister Boris Johnson led Britain to a decisive victory for the Conservatives and has already left the EU after years of political limbo. During the interim transitory period the United Kingdom has to make new trade arrangements with the rest of the EU, respectively, with every member state of the remaining 27 member states. Everything is open.

The EU-27 can deal with Britain in accordance with simple WTO rules. Starting 2021, it can have limited agreements, which would only eliminate tariffs for goods; there is still a limited chance of a complex FTA.  Is there a chance that the UK will have a trade deal with the US first? Is it possible for the UK to negotiate two free trade agreements at the same time?

Secondly, there are potential US tariffs and looming threat of tariffs on the European automobile industry. There are also US sanctions against companies which are involved in Nord Stream 2.

Do we have to accept a transactional approach to trade represented by the US president as the new reality? Is it just transactional? Is it based on “deal making”? Or is it a revival protectionism?

Lastly, is the United State’s “two tracks approach” to China. On one track there is a strategic geopolitical and technological confrontation with China, which is here to stay and no signs of abating. On the other track is the new US-Chinese provisional trade deal and ceasefire in trade disputes.

What should be the position of Europe in all of this? Should a more proactive approach be taken?

Introduction: Jan Macháček, Chairman of the Board of the Institute for Politics and Society


  • Dita Charanzová, Vice-President of the European Parliament,
  • David O’Sullivan, Former Ambassador of the European Union to the United State,
  • Tony Gardner,  Former U.S. Ambassador to the European Union
  • Casper Klynge, Vice President, Microsoft
  • Markus Beyrer, Director General BusinessEurope

Moderator of the event is Ivan Hodač, Founder and President of the Aspen Institute Central Europe.

Closing remarks: Jan Macháček, Chairman of the Board of the Institute for Politics and Society.

The online debate will be held on 19 October from 4:00 to 5:30 PM. Working language is English.