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EU policies – Delivering for citizens: International trade and globalisation

28-06-2019

The European Community was founded on the belief that economic integration leads to peace and economic prosperity. Trade is therefore a fundamental part of the identity of the European Union (EU) today. Given the success of the internal market in fostering the longest period of European peace in modern history, the EU considers itself an example of the benefits of trade, globalisation and economic openness. International trade policy is an exclusive competence of the EU, and with the combined economic ...

The European Community was founded on the belief that economic integration leads to peace and economic prosperity. Trade is therefore a fundamental part of the identity of the European Union (EU) today. Given the success of the internal market in fostering the longest period of European peace in modern history, the EU considers itself an example of the benefits of trade, globalisation and economic openness. International trade policy is an exclusive competence of the EU, and with the combined economic weight of its Member States behind it, the EU is one of the key players in global trade. Yet trade policy is about more than stability and growth for the EU, as it is also used to encourage poor countries to develop, foster international alliances and support fundamental values in the world. A strong partner in the World Trade Organization (WTO), the EU backs an international trading system based on rules rather than might. The benefits of globalisation and international trade have nevertheless been questioned in recent years, including within the EU. This has led it to reinvigorate its trade policy, in particular by presenting a new trade strategy and a reflection paper on harnessing globalisation. The EU's new 'trade for all' strategy addresses criticisms and focuses on making its trade policy more effective, transparent and value-based. In line with this strategy, the EU has pursued ongoing trade negotiations with renewed vigour and launched new trade and investment talks, resulting in state-of-the-art agreements with countries such as Canada and Japan. The EU faces uncertain times due to major shifts in international trade, coming from both the West and the East. In response, it seeks to promote economic openness, standing up for its values and protecting its interests. For example, the EU has retaliated against United States (US) steel tariffs and continues to defend the rules-based international trading order. Contentious trading practices on the part of third countries, including China, have led the EU to modernise its trade defence instruments, prepare a new foreign investment screening mechanism and seek a reform of the WTO. The EU is likely to continue this approach in the coming term, pursuing international cooperation and new agreements, possibly also at a continental level with Africa, and striving to protect its citizens and businesses from economic harm. This is an update of an earlier briefing issued in advance of the 2019 European elections.

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.

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.

State of EU-US relations

05-09-2018

Over a year and a half into the presidency of Donald Trump, transatlantic relations continue to adapt to new realities under the 'America First' foreign policy. Its implications have touched several areas, such as climate, defence, sanctions and cooperation within multilateral institutions. EU-US trade relations have deteriorated significantly. However, following a visit by Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker to the US in July, new bilateral trade talks are being prepared. During its September ...

Over a year and a half into the presidency of Donald Trump, transatlantic relations continue to adapt to new realities under the 'America First' foreign policy. Its implications have touched several areas, such as climate, defence, sanctions and cooperation within multilateral institutions. EU-US trade relations have deteriorated significantly. However, following a visit by Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker to the US in July, new bilateral trade talks are being prepared. During its September plenary session, the European Parliament is expected to discuss an own-initiative report addressing these issues.

US tariffs: EU response and fears of a trade war

21-06-2018

On 1 June 2018, US tariffs entered into force for steel and aluminium imports from the EU, Canada and Mexico, following US President Donald Trump's decision not to extend temporary exemptions. Argentina, Australia, Brazil and South Korea managed to obtain permanent exemptions as a result of deals struck with the Trump Administration. For all other countries, the US tariffs had already taken effect at the end of March 2018. After talks with the Trump Administration failed to result in a permanent ...

On 1 June 2018, US tariffs entered into force for steel and aluminium imports from the EU, Canada and Mexico, following US President Donald Trump's decision not to extend temporary exemptions. Argentina, Australia, Brazil and South Korea managed to obtain permanent exemptions as a result of deals struck with the Trump Administration. For all other countries, the US tariffs had already taken effect at the end of March 2018. After talks with the Trump Administration failed to result in a permanent exemption, the EU responded to the new tariffs by lodging a complaint at the WTO and instituting rebalancing measures on specific US exports. A safeguard investigation on steel imports into the EU is also on-going. Other US trading partners have responded in similar ways, raising fears that this could be the start of a full-blown trade war that would harm economic growth.

Mexico: Economic indicators and trade with EU

22-05-2018

Mexico's economy is the 15th largest in the world (in terms of GDP) and the second largest in Latin America, after Brazil. It is currently classified as an upper middle-income economy by the World Bank, and is a member of the WTO, the OECD and the G20. The EU is Mexico's third-largest trading partner after the US and China, and its second biggest export market after the US. Our infographic, produced in close cooperation with GlobalStat, provides a quick and useful overview of Mexico's main economic ...

Mexico's economy is the 15th largest in the world (in terms of GDP) and the second largest in Latin America, after Brazil. It is currently classified as an upper middle-income economy by the World Bank, and is a member of the WTO, the OECD and the G20. The EU is Mexico's third-largest trading partner after the US and China, and its second biggest export market after the US. Our infographic, produced in close cooperation with GlobalStat, provides a quick and useful overview of Mexico's main economic and trade data, as well as of the EU grants and loans to this country. This is an updated edition of an ‘at a glance’ note published in March 2017.

New US tariffs: Potential impact on the WTO

13-03-2018

On 8 March 2018, US President Donald Trump signed orders imposing tariffs of 25 % on steel imports and 10 % on aluminium imports. These tariffs will apply to all countries, except Canada and Mexico (and possibly also Australia). President Trump has expressed a willingness to discuss the measures with individual countries and make additional exceptions if US (security) concerns are addressed. The European Commission and other US trading partners have expressed their concern at the measures, fearing ...

On 8 March 2018, US President Donald Trump signed orders imposing tariffs of 25 % on steel imports and 10 % on aluminium imports. These tariffs will apply to all countries, except Canada and Mexico (and possibly also Australia). President Trump has expressed a willingness to discuss the measures with individual countries and make additional exceptions if US (security) concerns are addressed. The European Commission and other US trading partners have expressed their concern at the measures, fearing that they could lead to a wider trade dispute. The Trump administration's justification of the tariffs on national security grounds is also viewed as a threat to the multilateral trading system.

International procurement instrument

30-11-2017

Over the years, the EU has opened up its public procurement markets to third countries to a large degree, yet many of these countries have not granted the EU a similar privilege. This situation has been difficult to address through multilateral or bilateral trade negotiations alone. With this in mind, the European Commission proposed the creation of an international procurement instrument in 2012. The aim of this instrument is twofold: to improve the conditions under which EU businesses can compete ...

Over the years, the EU has opened up its public procurement markets to third countries to a large degree, yet many of these countries have not granted the EU a similar privilege. This situation has been difficult to address through multilateral or bilateral trade negotiations alone. With this in mind, the European Commission proposed the creation of an international procurement instrument in 2012. The aim of this instrument is twofold: to improve the conditions under which EU businesses can compete for public contracts in third countries and to give the EU more leverage when negotiating its access to foreign public procurement markets. To overcome a legislative deadlock on the 2012 proposal, in 2016 the Commission submitted an amended version that would enable it to open investigations into alleged discrimination against EU parties in foreign public procurement markets. If such practices were to be confirmed, the Commission would enter into consultations with the third country concerned to obtain reciprocal concessions on its procurement market. As a last resort, the Commission would be able to impose a price penalty on tenders originating in the third country concerned, giving EU and non-targeted countries' tenders a competitive advantage on EU procurement markets.

Interactions between trade, investment and trends in EU industry: EU regions and international trade

27-10-2017

This study analyses the interactions between EU and regional trade patterns and the trends in EU manufacturing on the one hand, and the influence of industrial and regional competitiveness factors on trade and industrial developments, on the other. The study specifically reviews theories on the factors behind trade specialisation and the role of trade in growth and inequalities, and links these to regional trade patterns in 13 EU Member States.

This study analyses the interactions between EU and regional trade patterns and the trends in EU manufacturing on the one hand, and the influence of industrial and regional competitiveness factors on trade and industrial developments, on the other. The study specifically reviews theories on the factors behind trade specialisation and the role of trade in growth and inequalities, and links these to regional trade patterns in 13 EU Member States.

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

26-10-2017

This publication provides an overview of trade relations between the EU and Latin American and Caribbean countries and groupings. The EU has concluded 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. It is currently also modernising its agreement with Mexico and intends soon to start negotiations ...

This publication provides an overview of trade relations between the EU and Latin American and Caribbean countries and groupings. The EU has concluded 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. It is currently also modernising its agreement with Mexico and intends soon to start negotiations on modernising its agreement with Chile. The EU has also concluded framework agreements with Mercosur and its individual members (Argentina, Brazil, Paraguay, and Uruguay). The agreement with the former will be replaced, once the on-going 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 agreements governing trade relations that have already been concluded, and analyses the reasons behind the ongoing and planned negotiations on the EU-Mercosur, EU-Mexico and EU-Chile agreements. This is a revised and updated edition of a publication from March 2016 by Enrique Gomez Ramirez, Eleni Lazarou, Laura Puccio and Giulio Sabbati, PE 579.086.

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