With the world’s attention absorbed by the US-China trade war, the EU had a fair try at upstaging the recent Group of 20 (G20) summit by announcing that it had concluded two new free trade agreements (FTAs).

The deals with Vietnam and the Mercosur bloc, the latter heavy with symbolism given that it was signed 20 years to the day after the start of fraught talks, allowed Brussels to show off as the defender of the multilateral order amid Washington’s protectionist turn and Beijing’s increasing assertiveness. 

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