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Argentina: Economic indicators and trade with EU

07-12-2018

In 2017, Argentina’s economy continued its gradual recovery from major macroeconomic imbalances with a GDP per capita growth rate of 2.9% thanks to austerity measures and a comprehensive reform agenda. However, inflation at 25.7% and unemployment at 8.5% remained high. Whereas economic fundamentals were slowly improving and the country’s political context remained stable after president Mauricio Macri made political gains at the mid-term legislative elections in October 2017, a crisis of confidence ...

In 2017, Argentina’s economy continued its gradual recovery from major macroeconomic imbalances with a GDP per capita growth rate of 2.9% thanks to austerity measures and a comprehensive reform agenda. However, inflation at 25.7% and unemployment at 8.5% remained high. Whereas economic fundamentals were slowly improving and the country’s political context remained stable after president Mauricio Macri made political gains at the mid-term legislative elections in October 2017, a crisis of confidence hit the economy in spring 2018. The crisis exposed vulnerabilities resulting from Argentina’s fiscal and current account deficit and large foreign-denominated debt. As the peso continued its downward trend in autumn 2018, although Argentina secured an IMF US$50 billion credit line and committed to new austerity measures, the economic context is likely to harden ahead of the 2019 presidential elections. With a share of 16.2% of Argentina’s overall trade, the EU is the country’s second largest trading partner after Brazil that accounts for 21.9%. In 2017, EU exports to Argentina increased to almost €10 billion, while EU imports slightly decreased to more than €8 billion. Total imports of primary products from Argentina declined and those of manufactures, notably chemicals, grew. EU exports of both primary products and manufactures, particularly machinery and appliances as well as transport equipment, increased.

International Agreements in Progress: Modernisation of the trade pillar of the EU-Chile Association Agreement

15-11-2018

In November 2017, the EU and Chile launched negotiations on a modernised trade pillar of the 2002 EU-Chile Association Agreement, based on a Council negotiating mandate which is the first-ever to have been published prior to the start of negotiations with a view to enhancing transparency and inclusiveness. After having operated smoothly for 15 years and led to a significant expansion of bilateral trade in goods and services and investment, the trade pillar needs to be broadened and deepened in order ...

In November 2017, the EU and Chile launched negotiations on a modernised trade pillar of the 2002 EU-Chile Association Agreement, based on a Council negotiating mandate which is the first-ever to have been published prior to the start of negotiations with a view to enhancing transparency and inclusiveness. After having operated smoothly for 15 years and led to a significant expansion of bilateral trade in goods and services and investment, the trade pillar needs to be broadened and deepened in order to unlock untapped potential, break new ground and keep pace with new trade and investment patterns in a global competitive environment that has fundamentally changed with the growing global footprint of countries like China. Against the backdrop of rising protectionist trends, the EU and Chile – two like-minded partners – seek to reassert their commitment to keeping their economies open to trade and investment. Both intend to shape, pioneer and promote state-of-the-art trade(-related) and investment rules of the 21st century, including on trade and sustainable development (TSD), trade and gender equality, and the fight against corruption. Given the large convergence of the EU's and Chile's interests and level of ambition, the negotiations are expected to make rapid progress.

Brazil ahead of the 2018 elections

05-10-2018

On 7 October 2018, about 147 million Brazilians will go to the polls to choose a new president, new governors and new members of the bicameral National Congress and state legislatures. If, as expected, none of the presidential candidates gains over 50 % of votes, a run-off between the two best-performing presidential candidates is scheduled to take place on 28 October 2018. Brazil's severe and protracted political, economic, social and public-security crisis has created a complex and polarised political ...

On 7 October 2018, about 147 million Brazilians will go to the polls to choose a new president, new governors and new members of the bicameral National Congress and state legislatures. If, as expected, none of the presidential candidates gains over 50 % of votes, a run-off between the two best-performing presidential candidates is scheduled to take place on 28 October 2018. Brazil's severe and protracted political, economic, social and public-security crisis has created a complex and polarised political climate that makes the election outcome highly unpredictable. Pollsters show that voters have lost faith in a discredited political elite and that only anti-establishment outsiders not embroiled in large-scale corruption scandals and entrenched clientelism would truly match voters' preferences. However, there is a huge gap between voters' strong demand for a radical political renewal based on new faces, and the dramatic shortage of political newcomers among the candidates. Voters' disillusionment with conventional politics and political institutions has fuelled nostalgic preferences and is likely to prompt part of the electorate to shift away from centrist candidates associated with policy continuity to candidates at the opposite sides of the party spectrum. Many less well-off voters would have welcomed a return to office of former left-wing President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva (2003-2010), who due to a then booming economy, could run social programmes that lifted millions out of extreme poverty and who, barred by Brazil's judiciary from running in 2018, has tried to transfer his high popularity to his much less-known replacement. Another part of the electorate, appalled by growing public-security issues and endemic corruption, but also disappointed with democracy more broadly, appears to be strongly attracted by the simple and unconventional answers to complex challenges posed by far-right populist rhetoric. The latter – worryingly – glorifies Brazil's dictatorship (1964-1985). As candidates with unorthodox political approaches appear to be an emerging norm, Brazilians may opt for a populist turn as well. If so, EU-Brazil relations may become more complex in the future.

EU trade with Latin America and the Caribbean: Overview and figures

14-09-2018

This publication provides an overview of trade relations between the EU and Latin American and Caribbean countries and groupings. The EU has fully fledged agreements with two Latin American groupings (Cariforum and the Central America group), a multiparty trade agreement with three members of the Andean Community (Colombia, Ecuador, and Peru), and bilateral agreements with Chile and Mexico. Since November 2017, a new agreement governing trade relations with Cuba has also been provisionally applied ...

This publication provides an overview of trade relations between the EU and Latin American and Caribbean countries and groupings. The EU has fully fledged agreements with two Latin American groupings (Cariforum and the Central America group), a multiparty trade agreement with three members of the Andean Community (Colombia, Ecuador, and Peru), and bilateral agreements with Chile and Mexico. Since November 2017, a new agreement governing trade relations with Cuba has also been provisionally applied. In addition, the EU is currently modernising its agreements with Mexico (with which it has reached an 'agreement in principle') and Chile. The EU also has framework agreements with Mercosur and its individual members (Argentina, Brazil, Paraguay, and Uruguay). The agreement with the former will be replaced, once the ongoing negotiations on an EU-Mercosur association agreement have been completed. This publication provides recent data on trade relations between the EU and Latin American and Caribbean countries and groupings, compares the main agreements governing trade relations that are already in place, and analyses the rationale behind the ongoing negotiations on the EU-Mercosur, EU-Mexico and EU-Chile agreements. This is a revised and updated edition of a publication from October 2017 by Gisela Grieger and Roderick Harte, PE 608.793.

China, the 16+1 format and the EU

07-09-2018

Since 2012, China has engaged 16 central and eastern European countries (CEECs), including 11 EU Member States and five Western Balkan countries under the 16+1 cooperation format, which it has portrayed as an innovative approach to regional cooperation. Although framed as multilateralism, in practice this format has remained largely bilateral and highly competitive in nature. While in 2012 the CEECs had enthusiastically embraced this form of cooperation as a chance to diversify their EU-focused economic ...

Since 2012, China has engaged 16 central and eastern European countries (CEECs), including 11 EU Member States and five Western Balkan countries under the 16+1 cooperation format, which it has portrayed as an innovative approach to regional cooperation. Although framed as multilateralism, in practice this format has remained largely bilateral and highly competitive in nature. While in 2012 the CEECs had enthusiastically embraced this form of cooperation as a chance to diversify their EU-focused economic relations in the wake of the 2008 financial crisis, by 2018 some of them had voiced dissatisfaction with the economic results it had yielded for them. The 2018 Sofia summit guidelines for the first time stressed the need for a more balanced trade, reciprocity of market access and open tenders in infrastructure construction, thus echoing concerns the EU had repeatedly raised with China. Empirical evidence shows that China-CEEC trade had actually jumped prior to 2012, whereas afterwards it increased at a much slower pace, with Chinese exports to CEECs expanding much quicker than CEEC exports to China, thus generating an unbalanced trade that is heavily tilted in favour of China. Foreign direct investment (FDI) data reveal that while Chinese FDI is highly concentrated on the biggest CEECs, it accounts for an extremely low share of total FDI stock. Some smaller CEECs have started to attract Chinese FDI as well, although at comparatively low levels. Some of China's infrastructure construction projects in the CEECs have suffered setbacks in a regional environment governed by EU norms and regulations. The EU engages in the 16+1 as a summit observer, adheres to the principles of its 2016 strategy for China and works towards cooperation with China on physical and digital infrastructure - through the EU-China Connectivity Platform. It has added the Berlin Process to its Western Balkans policy and has issued a new strategy providing for a credible enlargement perspective for and an enhanced EU engagement with the Western Balkans. This updates an 'at a glance' note, China, the 16+1 cooperation format and the EU, of March 2017.

EU framework for FDI screening

12-07-2018

On 13 September 2017, the European Commission adopted a proposal for a regulation establishing a framework for screening foreign direct investment (FDI) inflows into the EU on grounds of security or public order. The proposal is a response to a rapidly evolving and increasingly complex investment landscape. It aims to strike a balance between maintaining the EU’s general openness to FDI inflows and ensuring that the EU’s essential interests are not undermined. Recent FDI trends and policies of emerging ...

On 13 September 2017, the European Commission adopted a proposal for a regulation establishing a framework for screening foreign direct investment (FDI) inflows into the EU on grounds of security or public order. The proposal is a response to a rapidly evolving and increasingly complex investment landscape. It aims to strike a balance between maintaining the EU’s general openness to FDI inflows and ensuring that the EU’s essential interests are not undermined. Recent FDI trends and policies of emerging FDI providers have cast doubt on the effectiveness of the EU’s decentralised and fragmented system of monitoring FDI inflows to adequately address the potential (cross-border) impact of FDI inflows on security or public order without EU-coordinated cooperation among Member States. The proposal’s objective is neither to harmonise the formal FDI screening mechanisms currently used by less than half of the Member States nor to replace them with a single EU mechanism. It aims to enhance cooperation on FDI screening between the Commission and Member States, to increase legal certainty and transparency. Member States, stakeholders and academia are divided in their views on the proposal. Second edition. The ‘EU Legislation in Progress’ briefings are updated at key stages throughout the legislative procedure. Please note this document has been designed for on-line viewing.

Modernising trade defence instruments

03-07-2018

Trade defence instruments (TDIs) play a vital role in countering unfair trade practices from third countries and in levelling the playing field for EU companies, notably in times of mounting global overcapacity in a number of sectors. In April 2013, the Commission adopted a proposal to modernise the EU's basic Anti dumping and Anti-subsidy (AD/AS) Regulations. The reform was intended to enhance the transparency and predictability of investigations and increase the effectiveness and enforcement of ...

Trade defence instruments (TDIs) play a vital role in countering unfair trade practices from third countries and in levelling the playing field for EU companies, notably in times of mounting global overcapacity in a number of sectors. In April 2013, the Commission adopted a proposal to modernise the EU's basic Anti dumping and Anti-subsidy (AD/AS) Regulations. The reform was intended to enhance the transparency and predictability of investigations and increase the effectiveness and enforcement of AD/AS measures. Parliament adopted its position on the proposal in 2014, but the procedure was deadlocked in the Council until November 2016. Following interinstitutional negotiations, a political agreement was achieved in December 2017. After the Council’s adoption of its first-reading position in April 2018, the text was formally adopted by Parliament in May 2018. In 2016, the legislative procedure on the reform of the methodology for calculating AD duties was launched as a second pillar of the TDI reform. See also our 'EU Legislation in progress' briefing on that proposal: Protection from dumped and subsidised imports. Second edition. The ‘EU Legislation in Progress’ briefings are updated at key stages throughout the legislative procedure.

Modernising trade defence instruments

23-05-2018

Dumping and subsidising of exports by third countries are unfair trade practices that may cause injury to the importing country. World trade Organization (WTO) law allows to counter such injury by imposing specific duties known as trade defence instruments (TDIs). To ensure EU TDIs are appropriate to tackle new challenges to international trade, such as raw-material distortions in exporting countries, the Commission proposed to modernise the EU's basic Anti-Dumping (AD) and Anti-Subsidy (AS) Regulations ...

Dumping and subsidising of exports by third countries are unfair trade practices that may cause injury to the importing country. World trade Organization (WTO) law allows to counter such injury by imposing specific duties known as trade defence instruments (TDIs). To ensure EU TDIs are appropriate to tackle new challenges to international trade, such as raw-material distortions in exporting countries, the Commission proposed to modernise the EU's basic Anti-Dumping (AD) and Anti-Subsidy (AS) Regulations. Parliament is due to vote during its May II plenary session on the early second-reading agreement reached in trilogue negotiations.

China's foreign influence operations in Western liberal democracies: An emerging debate

15-05-2018

A debate is gaining traction in Western democracies about the nature, extent and the implications of, as well as possible responses to, China’s growing efforts to influence Western political elites, academia, think-tanks, and media through what has recently been labelled 'sharp power'. This debate reflects different levels of concern in Australia, New Zealand, the USA, and the European Union.

A debate is gaining traction in Western democracies about the nature, extent and the implications of, as well as possible responses to, China’s growing efforts to influence Western political elites, academia, think-tanks, and media through what has recently been labelled 'sharp power'. This debate reflects different levels of concern in Australia, New Zealand, the USA, and the European Union.

China's Arctic policy: How China aligns rights and interests

24-04-2018

Unlike the Arctic states, China has no territorial sovereignty and related sovereign rights to resource extraction and fishing in the Arctic. Faced with very limited rights as a non-Arctic state, China has been eager to design strategies to bridge the widening gap between the legal and institutional constraints in the Arctic and its growing Arctic interests. It has developed a self-defined Arctic identity as a 'near-Arctic state' and sought – and in 2013 gained – observer status in the Arctic Council ...

Unlike the Arctic states, China has no territorial sovereignty and related sovereign rights to resource extraction and fishing in the Arctic. Faced with very limited rights as a non-Arctic state, China has been eager to design strategies to bridge the widening gap between the legal and institutional constraints in the Arctic and its growing Arctic interests. It has developed a self-defined Arctic identity as a 'near-Arctic state' and sought – and in 2013 gained – observer status in the Arctic Council, to prepare the ground for a future expanded foothold in the region. China's first-ever white paper on Arctic policy of 26 January 2018 seeks to justify the country's Arctic ambitions through its history of Arctic research and the challenges and opportunities that rapid climate change in the Arctic present the country. China acknowledges for the first time that its Arctic interests are no longer limited to scientific research but extend to a variety of commercial activities. These are embedded in a new China-led cooperation initiative which aims to build a 'Polar Silk Road' that connects China with Europe via the Arctic and corresponds to one of two new 'blue ocean passages' extending from China's 21st Century Maritime Silk Road, launched in 2013. The white paper stresses China's commitment to upholding the institutional and legal framework for Arctic governance and to respecting the sovereign rights of the Arctic states. On the other hand, it asserts China's right as a non-Arctic state to participate in Arctic affairs under international law. China's Arctic policy suggests a strong desire to push for the internationalisation of the Arctic's regional governance system. The white paper is not a strategy document, and is more interesting for what it omits, such as the national security dimension that is a major driver of China's Arctic ambitions.

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