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International Agreements in Progress: The EU-Japan Strategic Partnership Agreement (SPA) - A framework to promote shared values

22-01-2019

The EU and Japan share the same basic values, including on democracy, market economy, human rights, human dignity, freedom, equality, and the rule of law. Against a background of increasingly assertive neighbours, they are also putting emphasis on security issues. The EU has adopted a Global Strategy placing security and defence as a key strategic priority, and conclusions on 'enhanced EU security cooperation in and with Asia'. Japan has reformed its security policy, aiming at becoming a 'proactive ...

The EU and Japan share the same basic values, including on democracy, market economy, human rights, human dignity, freedom, equality, and the rule of law. Against a background of increasingly assertive neighbours, they are also putting emphasis on security issues. The EU has adopted a Global Strategy placing security and defence as a key strategic priority, and conclusions on 'enhanced EU security cooperation in and with Asia'. Japan has reformed its security policy, aiming at becoming a 'proactive contributor for peace'. In order to enhance their relations, in July 2018 the EU and Japan signed a binding Strategic Partnership Agreement (SPA) – to come into force following ratfication by all Member States – along with an Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA), negotiated in parallel. The SPA represents a framework strengthening the overall partnership, by promoting political and sectoral cooperation and joint actions in more than 40 areas of common interest. Once in force, the EU-Japan strategic partnership will become more operational. The agreement will facilitate joint EU-Japan efforts to promote shared values such as human rights and rule of law, a rules-based international system, and peace and stability across the world. It will allow EU-Japan security cooperation to reach its full potential. Second edition. The 'International Agreements in Progress' briefings are updated at key stages throughout the process, from initial discussions through to ratification.

Finding the right balance across EU FTAs: benefits and risks for EU economic sectors

17-10-2018

Globally, anti-trade sentiment is on the rise, meaning it is incumbent upon policymakers to explore and explain the benefits of free and open trade. This study examines the costs and benefits of various free trade agreements (FTAs) that the EU has completed, will complete, or is contemplating. With regard to completed FTAs, the EU has seen benefits in terms of consumer choice but has a much larger and positive impact on its partners (although not as much as ex-ante modelling would suggest). For forthcoming ...

Globally, anti-trade sentiment is on the rise, meaning it is incumbent upon policymakers to explore and explain the benefits of free and open trade. This study examines the costs and benefits of various free trade agreements (FTAs) that the EU has completed, will complete, or is contemplating. With regard to completed FTAs, the EU has seen benefits in terms of consumer choice but has a much larger and positive impact on its partners (although not as much as ex-ante modelling would suggest). For forthcoming or contemplated FTAs, the issue of non-tariff barriers must be considered for FTAs with developed economies to be a success, while comprehensive liberalisation with emerging markets improves trade and other outcomes for both the EU and its partner. Across all FTAs, trade and economic metrics are improved by an agreement while indirect effects (human rights, environment) are less likely to change. We conclude that the EU must continue its focus on comprehensive liberalisation, incorporating NTBs effectively into new agreements, while tempering expectations of influence on human rights.

Externe Autor

Christopher HARTWELL, Veronika MOVCHAN

International Agreements in Progress: EU-Singapore trade and investment agreements closer to conclusion

09-10-2018

On 18 April 2018, the European Commission proposed to the Council of the EU to sign and conclude two agreements with Singapore. These agreements were created by dividing the free trade agreement reached between the EU and Singapore (EUSFTA) in 2014, but not ratified, into separate trade and investment protection agreements. When presenting the agreements, the Commission underlined that they demonstrate the commitment of Singapore and the EU to fair trade and open markets. The Council of the EU is ...

On 18 April 2018, the European Commission proposed to the Council of the EU to sign and conclude two agreements with Singapore. These agreements were created by dividing the free trade agreement reached between the EU and Singapore (EUSFTA) in 2014, but not ratified, into separate trade and investment protection agreements. When presenting the agreements, the Commission underlined that they demonstrate the commitment of Singapore and the EU to fair trade and open markets. The Council of the EU is expected to authorise the signature of the agreements in October 2018. The Commission aims to have the trade agreement come into effect before the end of its mandate in 2019, after its approval by the Council and the European Parliament. Singapore will be the first member state of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) to sign bilateral trade and investment agreements with the EU. The EU views bilateral agreements with ASEAN members as steps towards achieving the final objective of a region-to-region trade and investment agreement with ASEAN. Therefore, the EU Singapore agreements are considered a reference as regards the EU's ambition to conclude trade and investment agreements with other ASEAN members. Second edition. The ‘International Agreements in Progress’ briefings are updated at key stages throughout the process, from initial discussions through to ratification. To view earlier editions of this briefing, please see: PE 607.255, June 2017.

International Agreements in Progress: EU-Vietnam Free Trade Agreement

04-10-2018

The free trade agreement (FTA) negotiated in 2015 with Vietnam has been described as the most ambitious deal of its type ever between the EU and a developing country. Not only will it eliminate over 99 % of customs duties on goods, it will also open up Vietnamese services markets to EU companies and strengthen protection of EU investments in the country. According to European Commission figures, the FTA could boost Vietnam's booming economy by as much as 15 % of GDP, with Vietnamese exports to Europe ...

The free trade agreement (FTA) negotiated in 2015 with Vietnam has been described as the most ambitious deal of its type ever between the EU and a developing country. Not only will it eliminate over 99 % of customs duties on goods, it will also open up Vietnamese services markets to EU companies and strengthen protection of EU investments in the country. According to European Commission figures, the FTA could boost Vietnam's booming economy by as much as 15 % of GDP, with Vietnamese exports to Europe growing by over one third. For the EU, the agreement is an important stepping stone to a wider trade deal with south-east Asia. However, Vietnamese manufacturing sectors may suffer from competition with the EU. NGOs and the European Parliament have also criticised the Commission for pursuing closer ties with a politically repressive regime, although the deal includes some safeguards against negative outcomes. Conclusion of the FTA was delayed by a 2017 opinion of the European Court of Justice. The Court ruled that the EU does not have the power to conclude agreements on certain investment-related issues on its own; therefore, the text as it then stood would also have to be ratified by the 28 Member States. To enable at least some parts of the FTA to be ratified more speedily at EU level, in August 2018 the EU and Vietnam agreed to take provisions on investment, for which Member State ratification is required, out of the main agreement and put them in a separate Investment Protection Agreement (IPA). Both the FTA and IPA are currently in translation and are expected to be formally submitted to the Council in late 2018, possibly enabling the FTA to come into force in the second half of 2019. Third edition. The ‘International Agreements in Progress’ briefings are updated at key stages throughout the process, from initial discussions through to ratification. To view earlier editions of this briefing, please see: PE 614.702, February 2018.

The EU - Japan Economic Partnership Agreement

28-09-2018

This report independently assesses the EU-Japan Economic Partnership Agreement. We find that the EPA establishes an ambitious framework to further liberalise and better organise trade, covering goods, services, intellectual property and investment, tariff- and non-tariff measures, and regulatory cooperation. Given its depth and breadth, and that it is unprecedented in including provisions on corporate governance, SMEs, and climate change, the EPA is set to become a benchmark for future trade agreements ...

This report independently assesses the EU-Japan Economic Partnership Agreement. We find that the EPA establishes an ambitious framework to further liberalise and better organise trade, covering goods, services, intellectual property and investment, tariff- and non-tariff measures, and regulatory cooperation. Given its depth and breadth, and that it is unprecedented in including provisions on corporate governance, SMEs, and climate change, the EPA is set to become a benchmark for future trade agreements. Joining two open economies with high income levels and regulatory standards, the agreement is expected to generate benefits by boosting trade within sectors, minimising sectoral relocation and negative employment effects. Agri-food, textiles and leather products are where the EU can expect to make the greatest gains. Furthermore, the EPA will boost the EU’s economic presence and political relevance in the Asia-Pacific area. Going beyond its economic benefits, the agreement also has significant non-economic implications. Reinforced cooperation will enhance the ability of both parties to shape the course of global developments in a manner that better reflects their shared interests and values, such as their commitment to a rule-based global trade system and the fight against global warming.

Externe Autor

Sonali CHOWDHRY, Marie Curie Visiting Fellow; André SAPIR, Senior Fellow; Alessio TERZI, Affiliate Fellow

The future of sustainable development chapters in EU free trade agreements

23-07-2018

Sustainable development is an important part of the EU trade policy since it gets on meeting the needs of the present whilst ensuring future generations can meet their own needs. All EU FTAs include a Trade and Sustainable Development (TSD) chapter, which seeks to ensure that partners follow international requirements in the three pillars that compose sustainable development: economic, environmental and social. The adoption of the UN Agenda 2030 in 2015, which sets 17 Sustainable Development Goals ...

Sustainable development is an important part of the EU trade policy since it gets on meeting the needs of the present whilst ensuring future generations can meet their own needs. All EU FTAs include a Trade and Sustainable Development (TSD) chapter, which seeks to ensure that partners follow international requirements in the three pillars that compose sustainable development: economic, environmental and social. The adoption of the UN Agenda 2030 in 2015, which sets 17 Sustainable Development Goals and 169 targets, and the 2015 Paris agreement on climate change, have pushed the Commission to review its TSD chapter and to table a new proposal, identifying 15 action points drawn from the large debate with member states, the European Parliament as well as the civil society launched eight months before. In order to feed the forthcoming debates within the European Union institutions, academic experts in the three dimensions of the sustainable development as well as representatives of the European Union institutions have been invited to the workshop to share their views, not only on the binding aspect of TSD provisions, but also on how various European Union policies can be worked together to achieve the best results.

Externe Autor

Mr Damian RAESS Ms Evita SCHMIEG Mr Tancrède VOITURIEZ

How to include ’Mode 5’ services commitments in bilateral free trade agreements and at multilateral stage?

11-07-2018

Mode 5 refers to services which are incorporated into goods which are then traded across international borders. Unlike traditional services, Mode 5 services are not subject to the existing international trade regime under the WTO General Agreement on Trade in Services (GATS). Rather, they are subject to trade rules under the framework that governs trade in goods. As a consequence, trade in Mode 5 services is not fully liberalised, even though liberalisation would be in the best interest of international ...

Mode 5 refers to services which are incorporated into goods which are then traded across international borders. Unlike traditional services, Mode 5 services are not subject to the existing international trade regime under the WTO General Agreement on Trade in Services (GATS). Rather, they are subject to trade rules under the framework that governs trade in goods. As a consequence, trade in Mode 5 services is not fully liberalised, even though liberalisation would be in the best interest of international trade and the European Union. This report explores different avenues for including Mode 5 service commitments in multilateral trade agreements and free trade agreements, analyzing benefits and associated challenges. The broad conclusion is that while it may be possible to pursue Mode 5 options at the multilateral level, the most viable immediate strategy would consist in including such commitments in free trade agreements between the EU and its trading partners.

Externe Autor

Ms Marina FOLTEA

Workshop "Anti-corruption provisions in EU free trade and investment agreements: Delivering on clean trade"

28-03-2018

International trade agreements have the potential to help breaking the vicious circle of corruption in economies based on privileged connections rather than fair competition. They increase competition in the removal of tariffs and so diminish the power of rentier companies which influence domestic regulation in their favour. They also contribute to a fairer business environment through their transparency provisions. Trade openness, red tape reduction and fiscal transparency, especially transparency ...

International trade agreements have the potential to help breaking the vicious circle of corruption in economies based on privileged connections rather than fair competition. They increase competition in the removal of tariffs and so diminish the power of rentier companies which influence domestic regulation in their favour. They also contribute to a fairer business environment through their transparency provisions. Trade openness, red tape reduction and fiscal transparency, especially transparency of procurement, play positive roles in widening control of corruption. They can be more easily influenced by external actors than the other important control of corruption factors: judicial independence, freedom of the press or the demand from civil society for good governance. This study ordered by the INTA Committee argues that indirect good governance policies which increase competition and subvert power and economic monopolies or quasi monopolies are far more effective than direct anticorruption policies, which in relying on domestic implementation tend to fall into the vicious circle again. The study presents options characterised as an ‘economist’s approach’ with an apparently more modest but effective good governance package, a ‘lawyer’s’ approach’ with firm anticorruption language but unenforceable provisions even in EU countries (on bribery, for instance), and a ‘holistic’ approach where the EU would coordinate across international trade, promotion of norms and development aid. The three options may be used alternatively, depending on the degree of development and quality of governance of the trading partner. The study was presented at a workshop of the INTA committee on 24 January 2018.

Externe Autor

Alina MUNGIU-PIPPIDI

Free Trade Agreement between the EU and the Republic of Singapore – Analysis

16-03-2018

This study analyses provisions of the EU-Singapore Free Trade Agreement concluded in May 2015 ('EUSFTA'). It compares EUSFTA with other 'new-generation' free trade agreements, such as the EU-Republic of Korea and the EU-Canada Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement. Overall, EUSFTA adopts a WTO+ approach and as a result significantly liberalises trade between the EU and Singapore compared to the current trade relationship. The study finds that a number of tariff and non-tariff barriers to trade ...

This study analyses provisions of the EU-Singapore Free Trade Agreement concluded in May 2015 ('EUSFTA'). It compares EUSFTA with other 'new-generation' free trade agreements, such as the EU-Republic of Korea and the EU-Canada Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement. Overall, EUSFTA adopts a WTO+ approach and as a result significantly liberalises trade between the EU and Singapore compared to the current trade relationship. The study finds that a number of tariff and non-tariff barriers to trade in goods and services that currently exist between the parties will be reduced or removed on EUSFTA's entry into force. EUSFTA, as with other 'new-generation' FTAs negotiated by the EU, adopts a comprehensive approach, and contains innovative provisions on investment, intellectual property rights, competition and public procurement. It also contains provisions which reflect growing concerns about the impact of global trade, such as those on trade and sustainable development. With regard to EUSFTA's potential impact on trade, the economic modelling estimates an increase of around 10 % in trade volumes and greater volumes of foreign direct investment between the EU and Singapore as a result of the agreement. It also concludes that EUSFTA should lead to small increases of the gross domestic products of the EU and Singapore (0.06 % and 0.35 %, respectively). The responses of a wide-range of EU and Singaporean stakeholder consultation reveal that, in general, EUSFTA is viewed positively and is considered a very ambitious agreement, which will offer new opportunities for trade and investment in the EU and Singapore. However, some concerns have been raised, especially by small and medium-sized enterprises. The implications of the result of the Opinion of the Court of Justice of the EU in case 2/15 of 2017, on whether the EU had exclusive competence to sign and conclude EUSFTA alone, is also analysed in detail. The study recommends, notably, monitoring closely that commitments taken under sustainable development provisions are implemented and used effectively in practice.

Externe Autor

Glyn CHAMBERS, Managing Economist Capital Economics, Melanie DEBONO, Economist Capital Economics, Costas FRANGESKIDES, Partner Holman Fenwick Wilan, Jody GALLAGHER, Trainee Solicitor Holman Fenwick Willan, Dr Peter HOLMES, Reader in Economics at Sussex University (project leader), Jeremy KELLY, Associate Holman Fenwick Willan, Eirini ROUSSOU, Senior Associate Holman Fenwick Willan, Cliff STEVENSON, Cliff Stevenson Consulting, Anthony WOOLICH, Partner Holman Fenwick Willan

EU free trade agreement with Australia and New Zealand

15-02-2018

This note seeks to provide an initial analysis of the strengths and weaknesses of the European Commission's impact assessment (IA) accompanying the above proposals, submitted on 13 September 2017 and referred to Parliament's Committee on International Trade (INTA). For the Commission, the proposals are a step towards fulfilment of the key criteria for the EU's trade relations with third countries, namely the criteria of effectiveness, transparency, and the safeguarding of the European social and ...

This note seeks to provide an initial analysis of the strengths and weaknesses of the European Commission's impact assessment (IA) accompanying the above proposals, submitted on 13 September 2017 and referred to Parliament's Committee on International Trade (INTA). For the Commission, the proposals are a step towards fulfilment of the key criteria for the EU's trade relations with third countries, namely the criteria of effectiveness, transparency, and the safeguarding of the European social and regulatory model as underlined in the European Commission's 'Trade for all' communication. One of the objectives of the Commission's 2017 work programme was to open negotiations with Australia and New Zealand. Both countries are important trade partners for the EU and vice versa. In 2015, total trade in commercial services amounted to €4.3 billion between the EU and New Zealand, and €21.9 billion between the EU and Australia. In recent years, the EU has concluded bilateral agreements containing trade-related arrangements. Since 2015, the Commission has been preparing the ground for a free trade agreement (FTA) with both countries. On 26 October 2017 the European Parliament adopted two resolutions in which it called on the Council to authorise the Commission to start negotiations for trade and investment agreements with Australia and with New Zealand. The Parliament called on the Commission to outline the general future architecture of these trade agreements as rapidly as possible. The Parliament also stressed that the future FTAs 'must lead to improved market access and trade facilitation on the ground, create decent jobs, ensure gender equality for the benefit of the citizens on both sides, encourage sustainable development, uphold EU standards, safeguard services of general interest, and respect democratic procedures while boosting EU export opportunities'. The Commission conducted one impact assessment for the two proposals for free trade agreements with Australia and New Zealand and its conclusions are considered as valid for the EU's subsequent negotiations with both countries.

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