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Multilateralism in international trade: Reforming the WTO

22-10-2018

Since its establishment in 1995, the World Trade Organization (WTO) has embodied the multilateral trading system. Despite successes in some areas, including the effective settlement of numerous trade disputes and the conclusion of new multilateral trade agreements, the WTO currently faces serious challenges to its legitimacy and its effective functioning. Of particular concern is the US blockage of new appointments to the WTO’s Appellate Body (AB), which fulfils a key role in the WTO dispute settlement ...

Since its establishment in 1995, the World Trade Organization (WTO) has embodied the multilateral trading system. Despite successes in some areas, including the effective settlement of numerous trade disputes and the conclusion of new multilateral trade agreements, the WTO currently faces serious challenges to its legitimacy and its effective functioning. Of particular concern is the US blockage of new appointments to the WTO’s Appellate Body (AB), which fulfils a key role in the WTO dispute settlement system. This impasse could soon paralyse the practical enforcement of multilateral trade rules, which would undermine the rules-based system. In addition, certain countries’ contentious trade practices cannot be addressed under existing WTO rules, and rules on transparency are not fully complied with. The WTO has also had limited success in adding new issues to its trade agenda, and the 2001 Doha round was inconclusive. This has led many countries to pursue their own trade agreements outside the WTO’s multilateral framework. The EU is a key supporter of the multilateral trading system and seeks to address the challenges that the WTO faces. In September 2018, the Commission published a concept paper on WTO reform, in particular in the areas of rule-making, regular work and transparency, and dispute settlement. Other countries have also been working on WTO reform, sometimes together with the EU. A meeting of 13 WTO members, including the EU, to discuss reform proposals is due to take place in Canada on 24 and 25 October 2018. The European Parliament strongly supports the multilateral trading system and has expressed its support for efforts to reform the WTO. Parliament’s International Trade Committee is currently drafting an own-initiative report on the matter. This is a further update of a briefing published in December 2017.

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.

Ulkopuolinen laatija

Ms Marina FOLTEA

International Agreements in Progress - EU-Japan trade agreement: a driver for closer cooperation beyond trade

09-07-2018

Negotiations on an EU-Japan trade agreement were officially launched in March 2013. Following the political agreement in principle reached in July 2017, a final accord on the EU-Japan Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA) was announced in December 2017. On 18 April 2018, the European Commission proposed to the Council of the European Union to sign and conclude the agreement. The Commission expects that the EU-Japan EPA can be signed in July 2018, and aims to have the agreement come into effect before ...

Negotiations on an EU-Japan trade agreement were officially launched in March 2013. Following the political agreement in principle reached in July 2017, a final accord on the EU-Japan Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA) was announced in December 2017. On 18 April 2018, the European Commission proposed to the Council of the European Union to sign and conclude the agreement. The Commission expects that the EU-Japan EPA can be signed in July 2018, and aims to have the agreement come into effect before the end of its mandate in 2019, following approval by the Council and the European Parliament. The EU-Japan EPA will establish a free trade area with a combined market of around 640 million consumers that accounts for roughly a third of the world's gross domestic product (GDP). The 2016 Trade Sustainability Impact Assessment (Trade SIA) of the agreement indicated that EU exports to Japan could rise by up to 34 %, and according to a more recent Commission estimate, European companies would save up to €1 billion in customs duties per year as a result of the EU-Japan EPA. In addition to exploiting the untapped potential of bilateral trade, the agreement is also of strategic importance, conveying a strong message of the parties' commitment to promoting a free and fair trading system based on rules, and to reject trade protectionism. [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 589.828, 7 october 2016.

Protectionism and international diplomacy

25-06-2018

Just three decades after the fall of the Berlin Wall signifying the end of Cold War aggression and the ascendancy of international liberalism, the world faces even greater uncertainty. In every region of the world, geopolitical shifts are taking place that have brought offensive trade agendas to the fore. The US has withdrawn from underwriting the post-World War Two international economic and foreign policy architecture, instead proposing to build a wall between itself and neighbouring Mexico, imposing ...

Just three decades after the fall of the Berlin Wall signifying the end of Cold War aggression and the ascendancy of international liberalism, the world faces even greater uncertainty. In every region of the world, geopolitical shifts are taking place that have brought offensive trade agendas to the fore. The US has withdrawn from underwriting the post-World War Two international economic and foreign policy architecture, instead proposing to build a wall between itself and neighbouring Mexico, imposing unilateral tariff increases while refusing to negotiate new international agreements. In Europe, the project of ever greater integration has been attacked by Brexit, as well as other populist sentiment against the perceived power of EU institutions and the forces of globalisation. The breakdown of the western coalition advocating global governance has left a power vacuum that other key players such as China are forced to respond to. These current tectonic shifts in power and foreign policy positions impact on every country and every individual in the early 21st century. While many governments strive to maintain international cooperation and further integration, it is an unpredictable era. For trade policy has established itself firmly within the arena of high foreign diplomacy and as a result, traditional assumptions and adherence to international norms can no longer be assumed in such a state of political and economic flux. Yet when trade policy becomes a tool of diplomacy and foreign policy, sound economic reasoning can be lost to political decision making. This report shines a spotlight on the rise of protectionism in the 21st century. It examines the diplomatic dynamics behind economic nationalism and its attack on the established liberal international institutions that were created after the second World War to settle disputes without recourse to war. Before focusing on the US, UK, EU and China, the first chapter centers on the threat to economic integration and cooperation in promoting sustainable development through the multilateral rules-based system established under the World Trade Organization.

Ulkopuolinen laatija

Ms Kamala DAWAR

Euroopan unioni ja Maailman kauppajärjestö

01-05-2018

Maailman kauppajärjestö (WTO) pyrkii takaamaan sääntöihin perustuvan kansainvälisen kauppajärjestelmän. Kauppaneuvottelujen umpikujasta huolimatta keinoja nykyaikaistaa WTO:n sääntöjä ja vastata uusiin maailmanlaajuisiin haasteisiin kartoitetaan parhaillaan. Kaupan helpottamista koskevan sopimuksen voimaantulo helmikuussa 2017 sai aikaan uudenlaista kehitystä WTO:n kauppasäännöissä. Euroopan parlamentti toimii Lissabonin sopimuksen nojalla lainsäätäjänä yhdessä neuvoston kanssa. Parlamentilla on ...

Maailman kauppajärjestö (WTO) pyrkii takaamaan sääntöihin perustuvan kansainvälisen kauppajärjestelmän. Kauppaneuvottelujen umpikujasta huolimatta keinoja nykyaikaistaa WTO:n sääntöjä ja vastata uusiin maailmanlaajuisiin haasteisiin kartoitetaan parhaillaan. Kaupan helpottamista koskevan sopimuksen voimaantulo helmikuussa 2017 sai aikaan uudenlaista kehitystä WTO:n kauppasäännöissä. Euroopan parlamentti toimii Lissabonin sopimuksen nojalla lainsäätäjänä yhdessä neuvoston kanssa. Parlamentilla on lisäksi tärkeä rooli kansainvälisen kauppapolitiikan valvojana.

Research for AGRI Committee - The Interactions between the EU's External Action and the Common Agricultural Policy

07-07-2016

The CAP has been strongly influenced by the EU’s External Actions. The various Enlargements, and trade policies to favour its neighbours to both the East and South, and for its former colonies, have left their mark. However it is external pressures through the GATT/WTO that have had the most defining effect. Current pressures stem from a new generation of Free Trade agreements, the need to reduce agriculture’s greenhouse gas emissions, and to respond to Brexit.

The CAP has been strongly influenced by the EU’s External Actions. The various Enlargements, and trade policies to favour its neighbours to both the East and South, and for its former colonies, have left their mark. However it is external pressures through the GATT/WTO that have had the most defining effect. Current pressures stem from a new generation of Free Trade agreements, the need to reduce agriculture’s greenhouse gas emissions, and to respond to Brexit.

Ulkopuolinen laatija

Alan SWINBANK (School of Agriculture, Policy and Development, University of Reading, the UK)

Economic significance of trade in services: Background to negotiations on a Trade in Services Agreement (TiSA)

18-02-2015

Fifty-one members of the World Trade Organization (WTO): Australia, Canada, Chile, Chinese Taipei, Colombia, Costa Rica, Hong Kong, Iceland, Israel, Japan, Liechtenstein, Mexico, New Zealand, Norway, Pakistan, Panama, Paraguay, Peru, South Korea, Switzerland, Turkey and the United States, together with the European Union and its 28 Member States – have been trying to find a way to break the deadlock in the Doha Round on liberalising trade in services since March 2013. These countries together represent ...

Fifty-one members of the World Trade Organization (WTO): Australia, Canada, Chile, Chinese Taipei, Colombia, Costa Rica, Hong Kong, Iceland, Israel, Japan, Liechtenstein, Mexico, New Zealand, Norway, Pakistan, Panama, Paraguay, Peru, South Korea, Switzerland, Turkey and the United States, together with the European Union and its 28 Member States – have been trying to find a way to break the deadlock in the Doha Round on liberalising trade in services since March 2013. These countries together represent over two thirds of global trade in services. The services sector accounts for more than 70% of GDP in the EU and in other developed economies, as well as for a substantial share of GDP in emerging economies. The sector is also the largest employer in the EU and other advanced economies. Yet the proportion of services trade in total international trade lags well behind its importance in overall economic activity. Reasons for the low share of services in overall trade include lower tradability of (some) services, under-reporting of the importance of services for overall trade in the balance of payments, and barriers to trade in services. Policy-makers intervene in the services trade to enhance consumer protection, counter market failures and secure a beneficial equity position. At the same time, government-imposed barriers to trade can reduce the efficiency and range of services provided. As services are instrumental in ensuring the smooth running of the economy, and play an increasing role in facilitating international trade in goods, restrictions imposed on the services trade may lower the international competitiveness of an economy. Calculating equivalent tariffs for non-tariff measures and compiling indices on the restrictiveness of the services trade help to enable comparison of non-tariff measures across countries and serve as a reference point for governments and negotiators when considering renegotiating the framework governing international trade in services.

The European Union’s Trade Policy, Five Years After the Lisbon Treaty

03-03-2014

Despite the global economic crisis of 2008 and the spectacular rise of new emerging powers, the European Union (EU) remains one of the world's leading economies. The EU's trade policy has fundamentally changed in recent years. One of the founding and most influential members of the World Trade Organisation (WTO), the EU has been compelled to acknowledge that the multilateral approach that it had adopted for many years has not yielded genuine progress. In response, the EU launched a new strategy ...

Despite the global economic crisis of 2008 and the spectacular rise of new emerging powers, the European Union (EU) remains one of the world's leading economies. The EU's trade policy has fundamentally changed in recent years. One of the founding and most influential members of the World Trade Organisation (WTO), the EU has been compelled to acknowledge that the multilateral approach that it had adopted for many years has not yielded genuine progress. In response, the EU launched a new strategy to combine its multilateral approach with renewed efforts to forge bilateral trade deals. The traditionally technocratic approach of the EU’s trade policy was radically changed by the entry into force of the Lisbon Treaty in 2009; with this treaty, the Commission lost its unilateral control in the domain, while the European Parliament gained an important voice.

WTO Back on Track After Bali

11-12-2013

An agreement on trade reached through the World Trade Organisation in Bali will likely reduce global trading costs by 10-15 %. Red tape is likely to be substantially reduced. While the deal includes some new provisions on agriculture, the issue remains a thorny one among negotiating parties. The package also includes concessions on market access for developing countries. The Bali ministerial meeting marked good progress, but there remains much to be done before the WTO can conclude the Doha Development ...

An agreement on trade reached through the World Trade Organisation in Bali will likely reduce global trading costs by 10-15 %. Red tape is likely to be substantially reduced. While the deal includes some new provisions on agriculture, the issue remains a thorny one among negotiating parties. The package also includes concessions on market access for developing countries. The Bali ministerial meeting marked good progress, but there remains much to be done before the WTO can conclude the Doha Development Round. The global trading system has changed since the Doha round was initiated, and this should be taken into account.

Modernisation of Trade Defence Instruments: Initial Appraisal of the Commission's Impact Assessment

14-10-2013

This note seeks to provide an initial analysis of the strengths and weaknesses of the European Commission's Impact Assessment accompanying its Proposal for a Regulation of the European Parliament and of the Council amending Council Regulation (EC) n° 1225/2009 on protection against dumped imports from countries not members of the European Community and Council Regulation (EC) n° 597/2009 on protection against subsidised imports from countries not members of the European Community (COM (2013) 192 ...

This note seeks to provide an initial analysis of the strengths and weaknesses of the European Commission's Impact Assessment accompanying its Proposal for a Regulation of the European Parliament and of the Council amending Council Regulation (EC) n° 1225/2009 on protection against dumped imports from countries not members of the European Community and Council Regulation (EC) n° 597/2009 on protection against subsidised imports from countries not members of the European Community (COM (2013) 192 final), which was submitted on 10 April 2013 and which aims at modernising the EU’s trade defence policy in order to respond to the new challenges in the international trade environment.

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