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The Role of the European Investment Bank in Promoting Foreign Trade by SMEs

28-01-2016

The EU's trade policy does not exist in a vacuum. On the one hand, it is affected by international standard and rule-setting. On the other hand, the EU is itself an influential actor shaping the international trade agenda by participating in the work of international organisations and fora. This short note focuses on the European Investment Bank (EIB).

The EU's trade policy does not exist in a vacuum. On the one hand, it is affected by international standard and rule-setting. On the other hand, the EU is itself an influential actor shaping the international trade agenda by participating in the work of international organisations and fora. This short note focuses on the European Investment Bank (EIB).

Il partenariato transatlantico su commercio e investimenti (TTIP): i negoziati procedono a rilento

20-10-2015

Le dieci tornate di negoziati sul partenariato transatlantico su commercio e investimenti (TTIP) svoltesi negli ultimi due anni hanno prodotto scarsi risultati. Da quando sono stati avviati i colloqui nel giugno 2013, accompagnati da elevate aspettative, i negoziatori hanno evitato di affrontare questioni di sostanza o problemi complessi. Gli obiettivi politici del mandato dell'UE e le finalità espresse dal Parlamento europeo nella sua recente risoluzione sul TTIP, nonché gli obiettivi formulati ...

Le dieci tornate di negoziati sul partenariato transatlantico su commercio e investimenti (TTIP) svoltesi negli ultimi due anni hanno prodotto scarsi risultati. Da quando sono stati avviati i colloqui nel giugno 2013, accompagnati da elevate aspettative, i negoziatori hanno evitato di affrontare questioni di sostanza o problemi complessi. Gli obiettivi politici del mandato dell'UE e le finalità espresse dal Parlamento europeo nella sua recente risoluzione sul TTIP, nonché gli obiettivi formulati dal Congresso degli Stati Uniti, come specificato nella normativa Trade Promotion Authority (TPA), sono chiari: tutte le parti interessate raccomandano l'abolizione delle tariffe e l'eliminazione degli ostacoli non tariffari al fine di liberalizzare ulteriormente i mercati transatlantici e di promuovere livelli più elevati di crescita e la creazione di posti di lavoro. All'inizio di ottobre 2015, le parti negoziali hanno finalmente presentato proposte aggiornate su come eliminare le tariffe. Le parti in questione dovranno altresì sottoporre offerte riguardanti l'accesso ai mercati degli appalti pubblici e dovranno avviare le discussioni sul nuovo sistema giudiziario per la protezione degli investimenti, come proposto dal commissario al Commercio Cecilia Malmström il 16 settembre 2015. Il partenariato transpacifico (TPP), l'altro principale accordo commerciale che ha visto impegnati i negoziatori degli USA (in realtà in misura maggiore rispetto al TTIP), è stato concluso il 5 ottobre 2015. Se i negoziati concernenti il TTIP devono essere conclusi prima che il presidente degli Stati Uniti Barack Obama lasci la carica, il processo dovrà essere considerevolmente accelerato, al fine di evitare un'interruzione dei negoziati e il possibile avvio di una nuova presidenza statunitense con un approccio meno favorevole al libero scambio.

The TTIP’s Potential Impact on Developing Countries: A Review of Existing Literature and Selected Issues

29-04-2015

The position and concerns of developing countries have only belatedly entered the discussion over the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP). While poor countries may gain much from the positive effects of the TTIP, their precarious positions means that they may be less able to react and adapt to negative consequences. The EU is required to assess the development effects of its policies, including trade policies, by the Lisbon Treaty. Although the shape and scope of the final TTIP ...

The position and concerns of developing countries have only belatedly entered the discussion over the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP). While poor countries may gain much from the positive effects of the TTIP, their precarious positions means that they may be less able to react and adapt to negative consequences. The EU is required to assess the development effects of its policies, including trade policies, by the Lisbon Treaty. Although the shape and scope of the final TTIP agreement is not yet known, economic analyses have identified different ways in which it could affect developing countries and influence the global trading system. Several economic studies have also attempted to measure the possible outcomes for different countries and regions. While it appears that the negative impact of trade diversion and preference erosion is likely to be small, there may be notable exceptions, including risks to the position of some countries in international value chains. Proposals to address such negative consequences include concrete measures for affected countries, such as extending unilateral preferences and shaping the TTIP in such a way as to facilitate positive effects. Extending the principle of mutual recognition or equivalence to third parties and defining liberal rules of origin in the agreement are particularly important.

EU Initiative on Responsibly Importing Minerals from Conflict-Affected Regions

01-12-2014

The European Commission has forwarded draft regulation to the European Parliament to limit the import of ’conflict minerals’. Including tin, tantalum, tungsten and gold, conflict minerals originate in countries and regions marked by armed conflict or the risk of conflict; the exports of these ‘conflict minerals’ are suspected of illicitly financing the army or other military groups. The initiative attempts to set-up a voluntary Union system for supply chain due diligence self-certification of responsible ...

The European Commission has forwarded draft regulation to the European Parliament to limit the import of ’conflict minerals’. Including tin, tantalum, tungsten and gold, conflict minerals originate in countries and regions marked by armed conflict or the risk of conflict; the exports of these ‘conflict minerals’ are suspected of illicitly financing the army or other military groups. The initiative attempts to set-up a voluntary Union system for supply chain due diligence self-certification of responsible importers, smelters and refiners using these minerals.

Negotiations on the EU-Canada Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (CETA) Concluded

15-10-2014

The Comprehensive Economic Trade Agreement (CETA) between the EU and Canada, on which negotiations were concluded at the EU-Canada Summit in Ottawa on 26 September 2014, will be a 'first' in many areas. The agreement will be the EU's first with another highly industrialised country to facilitate market access for goods, services and investment by abolishing almost all tariffs and reducing a wide array of non-tariff barriers. CETA is also the first agreement to have been negotiated with a sound chapter ...

The Comprehensive Economic Trade Agreement (CETA) between the EU and Canada, on which negotiations were concluded at the EU-Canada Summit in Ottawa on 26 September 2014, will be a 'first' in many areas. The agreement will be the EU's first with another highly industrialised country to facilitate market access for goods, services and investment by abolishing almost all tariffs and reducing a wide array of non-tariff barriers. CETA is also the first agreement to have been negotiated with a sound chapter on investment protection, (including Investor-State Dispute Settlement (ISDS) provisions) – an area that is, since the entry into force of the Lisbon Treaty, an EU competence. The EU and Canada have agreed to improve regulatory cooperation without compromising existing safety standards, and CETA includes protection for more than 145 food products with geographical indications (GIs). The agreement preserves the governments' right to regulate in the public interest. The European Parliament will be asked to give its consent to this agreement and to the parallel Strategic Partnership Agreement (SPA) – a process that is likely to take two years. This will give the Parliament sufficient time to weigh potential public concerns – which today are focussed principally on trade and investment negotiations with the US, but may spill over onto this agreement with Canada.

Helping – or Not – European Small and Medium-Sized Enterprises (SMEs) Venture Abroad

15-09-2014

Various EU initiatives to supporting the internationalisation of European SMEs fall short of the European Parliament's expectations. Although independent evaluations of the European Business Centres in India, China and Thailand suggested that bold decisions were necessary, the European Commission has only adopted some changes to the measures. Using budget appropriations from the previous budget framework, the Commission plans to support the current structures until the end of their contracts – which ...

Various EU initiatives to supporting the internationalisation of European SMEs fall short of the European Parliament's expectations. Although independent evaluations of the European Business Centres in India, China and Thailand suggested that bold decisions were necessary, the European Commission has only adopted some changes to the measures. Using budget appropriations from the previous budget framework, the Commission plans to support the current structures until the end of their contracts – which have been extended in some cases. The Commission also plans to geographically extend its business support in third countries – also financed by the ICI+ programme. Under the EU's budgetary procedure, the European Parliament has only oversight over the implementation of inefficient structures. As Member States require tailor-made support to turn-around declining exports, small and medium-sized enterprises should first be supported through the Member States, and then perhaps by the EU.

The Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP): The US Congress’s Positions

09-09-2014

The US Congress is mandated by the US Constitution to exercise a regulatory and oversight role in international trade. It also has a role to play in negotiating external trade agreements, exercising its oversight, legislative and advisory functions. To date, the Congress has played an active role in the negotiations on the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP), overseeing the negotiations, gathering the views of key stakeholders during hearings and events it has organised, and flagging ...

The US Congress is mandated by the US Constitution to exercise a regulatory and oversight role in international trade. It also has a role to play in negotiating external trade agreements, exercising its oversight, legislative and advisory functions. To date, the Congress has played an active role in the negotiations on the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP), overseeing the negotiations, gathering the views of key stakeholders during hearings and events it has organised, and flagging issues it considers politically important. While the US Congress has been broadly supportive of the negotiations, there appears to be no political consensus at the moment on the key issues under consideration, including the potential desirability and likely impact of the measures under discussion. Contentious issues include agriculture, intellectual property rights, regulatory cooperation and the EU’s access to the US public procurement and energy markets.

Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) Negotiations: State of Play

28-08-2014

The negotiations on a comprehensive Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) started in June 2013, with enormous political support on both sides of the Atlantic. One year on, after six rounds of negotiations, initial enthusiasm in view of an agreement which would create a transatlantic market free of tariffs and other non-tariff barriers with the aim of boosting growth and creating additional jobs, both in the EU and the US, has given way to defence of own markets. Be it increased ...

The negotiations on a comprehensive Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) started in June 2013, with enormous political support on both sides of the Atlantic. One year on, after six rounds of negotiations, initial enthusiasm in view of an agreement which would create a transatlantic market free of tariffs and other non-tariff barriers with the aim of boosting growth and creating additional jobs, both in the EU and the US, has given way to defence of own markets. Be it increased access to markets for goods, services and public procurement, closer regulatory cooperation, an investment chapter that includes sound investment protection provisions and an Investor-State Dispute Settlement clause, intellectual property rights, a chapter on energy and raw materials, etc., all the issues involved appear to be contentious in some way for the transatlantic negotiators. The European Parliament, which will have to give its consent to the TTIP (as will the US Congress), has been following the negotiations closely.

India's 2014 Legislative Elections: The Lack of Economic Miracles Lands the Congress Party on the Opposition Benches

27-05-2014

The EU’s relationship with India and the floundering bilateral trade negotiations may be reinvigorated by the results of the country’s elections for India’s lower house of parliament – the Lok Sabha – held between 7 April and 12 May 2014. The landslide victory of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and its leader, Narendra Modi, came at the expense of the Congress party; after being in power for all but 18 years since the country's independence in 1947, Congress obtained only 44 seats – less than 8 ...

The EU’s relationship with India and the floundering bilateral trade negotiations may be reinvigorated by the results of the country’s elections for India’s lower house of parliament – the Lok Sabha – held between 7 April and 12 May 2014. The landslide victory of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and its leader, Narendra Modi, came at the expense of the Congress party; after being in power for all but 18 years since the country's independence in 1947, Congress obtained only 44 seats – less than 8 % of the total – in the recent ballot. The new Common People's Party, which performed well in 2013-regional elections in the capital, Delhi, obtained only four seats nationwide. Modi, a Hindu nationalist who led the state of Gujarat, had been shunned by the EU and the US for many years for his part in the 2002 Gujarat riots. But between the recent elections and his investiture, on 26 May 2014, both transatlantic powers made friendly overtures to the new prime minister. Negotiations within the BJP and with potential coalition partners are well underway, and the composition of the new Indian government should be known soon. As Modi’s election campaign focussed on domestic issues, and in particular on the ailing Indian economy, the BJP-led government’s stance on foreign relations – including on cross-border trade and investment and negotiations with the EU on the stalled free trade agreement – will soon crystallise.

The HLWG Report on a Future EU-US Trade and Investment Agreement - A Short Comment

25-02-2014

The decision of EU and US policy makers, announced in early February 2013, to launch negotiations on a 'comprehensive, ambitious trade and investment agreement' has been widely welcomed. The EU and the US are major economic partners, together generating about half of the world's gross domestic product and almost one third of global trade. By eliminating customs duties and reducing non-tariff barriers, liberalising bilateral commercial relations further is expected to lead to sustainable economic ...

The decision of EU and US policy makers, announced in early February 2013, to launch negotiations on a 'comprehensive, ambitious trade and investment agreement' has been widely welcomed. The EU and the US are major economic partners, together generating about half of the world's gross domestic product and almost one third of global trade. By eliminating customs duties and reducing non-tariff barriers, liberalising bilateral commercial relations further is expected to lead to sustainable economic growth and additional jobs on both sides of the Atlantic. The final report of the High-Level Working on Jobs and Growth (HLWG) defines the scope of future EU-US negotiations. Implementing the HLWG's recommendations should lead to a better-integrated transatlantic marketplace, which Members of the European Parliament have been demanding for years. A far-reaching transatlantic agreement may have positive spillover effects regarding third countries —and notably emerging ones — and may help to restore the leadership that the EU and the US once enjoyed in international trade and investment matters. Given the complexity and the difficulties of some topics, especially in the field of agriculture, the negotiations will need the full support of both the European Parliament and the US Congress to be completed within the timeframe envisaged.

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