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Economic integration under the African Union

16-11-2017

Although it tends to prioritise political objectives, the African Union (AU) pursues a no less ambitious project for economic integration with the ultimate goal of creating a common market and a monetary and economic union. Currently, the main responsibility for driving economic integration forward is carried by the regional economic communities, which are overseen and coordinated by the AU. However, the pace of progress is very uneven. In addition, the AU has developed its own programmes for promoting ...

Although it tends to prioritise political objectives, the African Union (AU) pursues a no less ambitious project for economic integration with the ultimate goal of creating a common market and a monetary and economic union. Currently, the main responsibility for driving economic integration forward is carried by the regional economic communities, which are overseen and coordinated by the AU. However, the pace of progress is very uneven. In addition, the AU has developed its own programmes for promoting the continent's economic development.

The state of implementation of the associations and free trade agreements with Ukraine, Georgia and Moldova with a particular focus on Ukraine and systemic analysis of key sectors

16-11-2017

Signing and ratifying Association Agreements with Georgia, Moldova, and Ukraine has proven to be an impressive affirmation of Brussels’ soft power. The EU’s overtures have persuaded elites and mobilised societies despite the fact that the Agreements come neither with a membership promise nor with the kind of financial assistance that has been given to the EU’s new member states. EU assistance has been effective in restoring macro-financial stability in all three countries. While costs of compliance ...

Signing and ratifying Association Agreements with Georgia, Moldova, and Ukraine has proven to be an impressive affirmation of Brussels’ soft power. The EU’s overtures have persuaded elites and mobilised societies despite the fact that the Agreements come neither with a membership promise nor with the kind of financial assistance that has been given to the EU’s new member states. EU assistance has been effective in restoring macro-financial stability in all three countries. While costs of compliance with the DCFTA were calculated, level of investment associated with the necessary modernisation to make these economies competitive were neglected. The discrepancy between costs and benefits should prompt the EU to be more flexible. Brussels’ achievements remain fragile. Informal interests continue to play important roles in these countries and have the potential to thwart reforms. In the absence of strong, de-politicised institutions, the EU should work to support political consolidation—the alternative is further polarisation and political fragility—while at the same time insisting on adherence to democratic standards and strengthened institutional checks and balances.

Vanjski autor

Iulian GROZA; Balazs JARABIK (coordinator); Jana KOBZOVA; Dr. Viktor KONSTANTYNOV; Tsovinar KUIUMCHIAN; Leonid LITRA; Tornike SHARASHENIDZE; Isaac WEBB

Understanding the EU customs union

20-09-2017

In December 2016, the European Commission adopted its long-term plan to strengthen the governance and management of the EU customs union. The customs union, in place since 1968, is a pillar of the single market, and vital to the free flow of goods and services. According to the Commission, a strong customs system helps foster competitive businesses, increases wealth, and also protects against terrorist, health, and environmental threats. The customs union operates under the legal framework of the ...

In December 2016, the European Commission adopted its long-term plan to strengthen the governance and management of the EU customs union. The customs union, in place since 1968, is a pillar of the single market, and vital to the free flow of goods and services. According to the Commission, a strong customs system helps foster competitive businesses, increases wealth, and also protects against terrorist, health, and environmental threats. The customs union operates under the legal framework of the Union Customs Code (UCC), in force since May 2016. However, while customs rules are the same across the EU, national customs authorities do not always apply them in a consistent manner. The Commission has therefore proposed structural and administrative changes, inter alia, on customs policy monitoring, formulation, and implementation. In addition, the Commission proposes to tackle administrative issues (e.g. application of EU law, competency building for custom officials, aligning new EU-wide IT systems dedicated to customs procedures), and border management coordination. The European Parliament is critical of the differences between customs systems at the national level, in particular regarding customs duties and customs clearance, since these create fragmentation, additional administrative burdens (in particular for small and medium-sized enterprises), and hamper e-commerce. The Parliament suggests, among other things, the creation of more uniform electronic customs requirements and risk-assessment programmes. Parliament has also called on the Commission to present an interim report evaluating EU customs policy by 2017, including a review of the problems, overlaps, gaps, and complaints filed with customs authorities, and customs infringements.

The future of EU finances

08-09-2017

The European Commission has completed its series of reflection papers on the future of the EU, with a document that analyses how the EU budget could evolve in the coming years to address current and new challenges. The paper should help shape the proposals, due in the coming months, for the next Multiannual Financial Framework of the EU, for the period from 2021 on.

The European Commission has completed its series of reflection papers on the future of the EU, with a document that analyses how the EU budget could evolve in the coming years to address current and new challenges. The paper should help shape the proposals, due in the coming months, for the next Multiannual Financial Framework of the EU, for the period from 2021 on.

Driving trade in the ASEAN region: Progress of FTA negotiations

14-12-2016

After negotiations between the EU and the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) for a regional free trade agreement (FTA) were suspended in 2009, the EU decided to pursue bilateral trade agreements with the individual ASEAN member states. To date, six of them have started talks on a bilateral FTA with the EU. Negotiations have already been concluded with two of these countries, Singapore and Vietnam, although those FTAs still await ratification. The EU's final objective is to have a region-to-region ...

After negotiations between the EU and the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) for a regional free trade agreement (FTA) were suspended in 2009, the EU decided to pursue bilateral trade agreements with the individual ASEAN member states. To date, six of them have started talks on a bilateral FTA with the EU. Negotiations have already been concluded with two of these countries, Singapore and Vietnam, although those FTAs still await ratification. The EU's final objective is to have a region-to-region agreement with ASEAN, based on the bilateral FTAs concluded with the ASEAN member states. Once the conditions required for this to happen are in place, the EU and its ASEAN partners will need to determine how to bring all these bilateral agreements under one regional FTA, with a view to including ASEAN member states with which the EU does not have bilateral agreements. It is in the EU's strategic interest to strengthen economic cooperation with ASEAN, and to maintain its competitive position in the Asia-Pacific region, given its economic importance, combined with the expanding intraregional trade and investment relations and the growing number of regional integration initiatives. Back in 2006, in its communication entitled 'Global Europe: Competing in the world', the European Commission identified ASEAN as a potential FTA partner that should be given priority based on key economic criteria. The Commission's new 2015 trade strategy, entitled 'Trade for all – Towards a more responsible trade and investment policy', reaffirmed this objective.

Granting Market Economy Status to China: An analysis of WTO law and of selected WTO members' policy

10-11-2015

Under Section 15 of the Chinese WTO Accession Protocol, China can be treated as a non-market economy (NME) in anti-dumping proceedings. The definition of China as a NME allows importing countries to use alternative methodologies for the determination of normal values, often leading to higher anti-dumping duties. The correct interpretation of Section 15(d) of the Chinese WTO Accession Protocol has come under debate, as well as whether the latter section stipulates the automatic granting of Market ...

Under Section 15 of the Chinese WTO Accession Protocol, China can be treated as a non-market economy (NME) in anti-dumping proceedings. The definition of China as a NME allows importing countries to use alternative methodologies for the determination of normal values, often leading to higher anti-dumping duties. The correct interpretation of Section 15(d) of the Chinese WTO Accession Protocol has come under debate, as well as whether the latter section stipulates the automatic granting of Market Economy Status to China after December 2016. This analysis looks at the debate regarding the interpretation of Section 15(d) and the current policy of selected WTO members with respect to China's Market Economy Status.

When Choosing Means Losing: The Eastern Partners, the EU and the Eurasian Economic Union

10-03-2015

The six countries in the EU's Eastern Partnership are sandwiched between two large, potent trading blocs: the EU to the west, and the Russian-led Eurasian Economic Union (EAEU) to the east. Most of the six have chosen to pursue a deeper alliance with one or the other bloc – a tough choice, reflecting both political and economic factors. Georgia, Moldova and Ukraine signed Association Agreements with the EU on 27 June 2014. Armenia and Belarus chose to accede to the Eurasian Economic Union (belatedly ...

The six countries in the EU's Eastern Partnership are sandwiched between two large, potent trading blocs: the EU to the west, and the Russian-led Eurasian Economic Union (EAEU) to the east. Most of the six have chosen to pursue a deeper alliance with one or the other bloc – a tough choice, reflecting both political and economic factors. Georgia, Moldova and Ukraine signed Association Agreements with the EU on 27 June 2014. Armenia and Belarus chose to accede to the Eurasian Economic Union (belatedly, in the case of Armenia). For all these countries, a choice for East or West has meant a loss: a loss of trade policy sovereignty – and likely the growth that comes with open trade policies – for some; a loss of the vital and once-fluid exchanges with the EAEU for the others. The trade and economic separation between the EU and EAEU has not aided the Eastern partners. In fact, the division is not simply a commercial one: it has been drawn – and deepened – by political and geopolitical considerations. But from a purely trade perspective, all the partners – the countries choosing one or another alliance, as well as the dozens composing the EU and EEAU – would benefit from a new and more constructive approach.

International cooperation in Africa

04-03-2015

Inspired by the idea of pan-African solidarity and unity, the countries of Africa have established a multi-layered architecture for cooperation and integration. At its heart is a pancontinental organisation with a broad mandate – the African Union. At subcontinental level, a total of eight regional economic communities (RECs), with overlapping memberships in a number of cases, have been officially recognised by the African Union as pillars of economic integration.

Inspired by the idea of pan-African solidarity and unity, the countries of Africa have established a multi-layered architecture for cooperation and integration. At its heart is a pancontinental organisation with a broad mandate – the African Union. At subcontinental level, a total of eight regional economic communities (RECs), with overlapping memberships in a number of cases, have been officially recognised by the African Union as pillars of economic integration.

Economic integration under the African Union

04-03-2015

Although it tends to prioritise political objectives, the African Union (AU) pursues a no less ambitious project for economic integration with the ultimate goal of creating a common market and a monetary and economic union. Currently, the main responsibility for driving economic integration forward is carried by the regional economic communities, which are overseen and coordinated by the AU. However, the pace of progress is very uneven. In addition, the AU has developed its own programmes for promoting ...

Although it tends to prioritise political objectives, the African Union (AU) pursues a no less ambitious project for economic integration with the ultimate goal of creating a common market and a monetary and economic union. Currently, the main responsibility for driving economic integration forward is carried by the regional economic communities, which are overseen and coordinated by the AU. However, the pace of progress is very uneven. In addition, the AU has developed its own programmes for promoting the continent's economic development.

The Tripartite Free Trade Area project: Integration in southern and eastern Africa

04-03-2015

The African continent could soon witness an important milestone on its path towards economic integration with the completion of the Tripartite Free Trade Area covering 26 countries and representing more than half the continent's gross domestic product (GDP). The establishment of this area would be the logical consequence of integration efforts in three regional economic communities in the eastern and southern parts of the continent, which have already concluded preferential trade agreements with ...

The African continent could soon witness an important milestone on its path towards economic integration with the completion of the Tripartite Free Trade Area covering 26 countries and representing more than half the continent's gross domestic product (GDP). The establishment of this area would be the logical consequence of integration efforts in three regional economic communities in the eastern and southern parts of the continent, which have already concluded preferential trade agreements with considerable economic benefits in their own regions and are moving forward with integration. The proposed Tripartite Free Trade Area is based on three main pillars – market integration, infrastructure development and industrial development – reflecting the fact that there are multiple obstacles to trade in the region and it requires efforts to increase and diversify industrial production and improve transport infrastructure. The trade negotiations include two phases: in the first phase, they will deal with the liberalisation of trade in goods, by removing tariff and non-tariff barriers, and with ensuring the free movement of business people; in a second phase, they will tackle the gradual liberalisation of trade in services. Although the expected direct gains are moderate and will mainly benefit the more economically powerful countries, the real advantages should be broader, including an improved business environment, more foreign direct investment, enhanced economic development in general, and, most importantly, bringing impetus to the realisation of the continental free trade area, a project currently led by the African Union. The completion of the Tripartite Free Trade Area would also simplify the complicated geography of regional integration schemes, and would fit into the integration efforts promoted in the framework of the Economic Partnership Agreements already negotiated by the EU with two of the regional groupings involved.

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