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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.

China: Economic indicators and trade with EU

04-10-2018

China's economy is slowing from past two-digit growth rates to a 'new normal' growth rate of 'only' 6.5% on average under the current five-year plan (2016-2020). To what extent does this slowdown affect China's public finances and other macroeconomic indicators? How has EU trade with China developed during the last decade? How important is the EU for China in terms of trade? And what about China's trade relevance for the EU? Has the huge trade imbalance in goods trade between China and the EU narrowed ...

China's economy is slowing from past two-digit growth rates to a 'new normal' growth rate of 'only' 6.5% on average under the current five-year plan (2016-2020). To what extent does this slowdown affect China's public finances and other macroeconomic indicators? How has EU trade with China developed during the last decade? How important is the EU for China in terms of trade? And what about China's trade relevance for the EU? Has the huge trade imbalance in goods trade between China and the EU narrowed in recent years? How intensive is trade in services between the EU and China? What are the EU's main export items to China? How does China's export basket look like? You can find the answers to these and other questions in our EPRS publication on China produced in collaboration with the European University Institute's GlobalStat on the world's main economies. This is an updated edition of an ‘At a Glance’ note published in June 2016.

The future of sustainable development chapters in EU free trade agreements

23-07-2018

Sustainable development is an important part of the EU trade policy since it gets on meeting the needs of the present whilst ensuring future generations can meet their own needs. All EU FTAs include a Trade and Sustainable Development (TSD) chapter, which seeks to ensure that partners follow international requirements in the three pillars that compose sustainable development: economic, environmental and social. The adoption of the UN Agenda 2030 in 2015, which sets 17 Sustainable Development Goals ...

Sustainable development is an important part of the EU trade policy since it gets on meeting the needs of the present whilst ensuring future generations can meet their own needs. All EU FTAs include a Trade and Sustainable Development (TSD) chapter, which seeks to ensure that partners follow international requirements in the three pillars that compose sustainable development: economic, environmental and social. The adoption of the UN Agenda 2030 in 2015, which sets 17 Sustainable Development Goals and 169 targets, and the 2015 Paris agreement on climate change, have pushed the Commission to review its TSD chapter and to table a new proposal, identifying 15 action points drawn from the large debate with member states, the European Parliament as well as the civil society launched eight months before. In order to feed the forthcoming debates within the European Union institutions, academic experts in the three dimensions of the sustainable development as well as representatives of the European Union institutions have been invited to the workshop to share their views, not only on the binding aspect of TSD provisions, but also on how various European Union policies can be worked together to achieve the best results.

Autorzy zewnętrzni

Mr Damian RAESS Ms Evita SCHMIEG Mr Tancrède VOITURIEZ

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.

Autorzy zewnętrzni

Ms Marina FOLTEA

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.

Autorzy zewnętrzni

Ms Kamala DAWAR

EU as a global player one year on from the Rome Declaration

15-05-2018

The EU celebrated the 60th anniversary of the Rome Treaties a year ago by pledging to enhance the EU’s role as a global player, in line with the 2016 Global Strategy. This was intended to develop the EU’s role in security and defence matters, starting with increasing support for the European defence industry and the Common Security and Defence Policy (CSDP) as a whole, as well as reinforcing existing or developing new partnerships and pushing for further global engagement in support of the UN system ...

The EU celebrated the 60th anniversary of the Rome Treaties a year ago by pledging to enhance the EU’s role as a global player, in line with the 2016 Global Strategy. This was intended to develop the EU’s role in security and defence matters, starting with increasing support for the European defence industry and the Common Security and Defence Policy (CSDP) as a whole, as well as reinforcing existing or developing new partnerships and pushing for further global engagement in support of the UN system, NATO and rules-based multilateralism. What progress has been made since 25 March 2017? What are the European Parliament’s positions on these issues, and what are the prospects for the future? Answering these questions is crucial for ensuring the effectiveness of the EU’s strategies, policies and actions and for the credibility of the EU project in future.

Unia Europejska a Światowa Organizacja Handlu

01-05-2018

Światowa Organizacja Handlu (WTO) działa na rzecz zagwarantowania międzynarodowego systemu handlu opartego na uregulowaniach prawnych. Pomimo impasu w negocjacjach handlowych rozważa się modernizację zasad WTO i poszukuje rozwiązania nowych problemów globalnych. Wejście w życie w lutym 2017 r. umowy o ułatwieniach w handlu zaowocowało dalszym rozwojem zasad handlu WTO. Na mocy Traktatu z Lizbony Parlament pełni wraz z Radą rolę współustawodawcy i odgrywa ważną rolę jako organ sprawujący nadzór nad ...

Światowa Organizacja Handlu (WTO) działa na rzecz zagwarantowania międzynarodowego systemu handlu opartego na uregulowaniach prawnych. Pomimo impasu w negocjacjach handlowych rozważa się modernizację zasad WTO i poszukuje rozwiązania nowych problemów globalnych. Wejście w życie w lutym 2017 r. umowy o ułatwieniach w handlu zaowocowało dalszym rozwojem zasad handlu WTO. Na mocy Traktatu z Lizbony Parlament pełni wraz z Radą rolę współustawodawcy i odgrywa ważną rolę jako organ sprawujący nadzór nad polityką handlową.

Workshop "Anti-corruption provisions in EU free trade and investment agreements: Delivering on clean trade"

28-03-2018

International trade agreements have the potential to help breaking the vicious circle of corruption in economies based on privileged connections rather than fair competition. They increase competition in the removal of tariffs and so diminish the power of rentier companies which influence domestic regulation in their favour. They also contribute to a fairer business environment through their transparency provisions. Trade openness, red tape reduction and fiscal transparency, especially transparency ...

International trade agreements have the potential to help breaking the vicious circle of corruption in economies based on privileged connections rather than fair competition. They increase competition in the removal of tariffs and so diminish the power of rentier companies which influence domestic regulation in their favour. They also contribute to a fairer business environment through their transparency provisions. Trade openness, red tape reduction and fiscal transparency, especially transparency of procurement, play positive roles in widening control of corruption. They can be more easily influenced by external actors than the other important control of corruption factors: judicial independence, freedom of the press or the demand from civil society for good governance. This study ordered by the INTA Committee argues that indirect good governance policies which increase competition and subvert power and economic monopolies or quasi monopolies are far more effective than direct anticorruption policies, which in relying on domestic implementation tend to fall into the vicious circle again. The study presents options characterised as an ‘economist’s approach’ with an apparently more modest but effective good governance package, a ‘lawyer’s’ approach’ with firm anticorruption language but unenforceable provisions even in EU countries (on bribery, for instance), and a ‘holistic’ approach where the EU would coordinate across international trade, promotion of norms and development aid. The three options may be used alternatively, depending on the degree of development and quality of governance of the trading partner. The study was presented at a workshop of the INTA committee on 24 January 2018.

Autorzy zewnętrzni

Alina MUNGIU-PIPPIDI

Free Trade Agreement between the EU and the Republic of Singapore – Analysis

16-03-2018

This study analyses provisions of the EU-Singapore Free Trade Agreement concluded in May 2015 ('EUSFTA'). It compares EUSFTA with other 'new-generation' free trade agreements, such as the EU-Republic of Korea and the EU-Canada Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement. Overall, EUSFTA adopts a WTO+ approach and as a result significantly liberalises trade between the EU and Singapore compared to the current trade relationship. The study finds that a number of tariff and non-tariff barriers to trade ...

This study analyses provisions of the EU-Singapore Free Trade Agreement concluded in May 2015 ('EUSFTA'). It compares EUSFTA with other 'new-generation' free trade agreements, such as the EU-Republic of Korea and the EU-Canada Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement. Overall, EUSFTA adopts a WTO+ approach and as a result significantly liberalises trade between the EU and Singapore compared to the current trade relationship. The study finds that a number of tariff and non-tariff barriers to trade in goods and services that currently exist between the parties will be reduced or removed on EUSFTA's entry into force. EUSFTA, as with other 'new-generation' FTAs negotiated by the EU, adopts a comprehensive approach, and contains innovative provisions on investment, intellectual property rights, competition and public procurement. It also contains provisions which reflect growing concerns about the impact of global trade, such as those on trade and sustainable development. With regard to EUSFTA's potential impact on trade, the economic modelling estimates an increase of around 10 % in trade volumes and greater volumes of foreign direct investment between the EU and Singapore as a result of the agreement. It also concludes that EUSFTA should lead to small increases of the gross domestic products of the EU and Singapore (0.06 % and 0.35 %, respectively). The responses of a wide-range of EU and Singaporean stakeholder consultation reveal that, in general, EUSFTA is viewed positively and is considered a very ambitious agreement, which will offer new opportunities for trade and investment in the EU and Singapore. However, some concerns have been raised, especially by small and medium-sized enterprises. The implications of the result of the Opinion of the Court of Justice of the EU in case 2/15 of 2017, on whether the EU had exclusive competence to sign and conclude EUSFTA alone, is also analysed in detail. The study recommends, notably, monitoring closely that commitments taken under sustainable development provisions are implemented and used effectively in practice.

Autorzy zewnętrzni

Glyn CHAMBERS, Managing Economist Capital Economics, Melanie DEBONO, Economist Capital Economics, Costas FRANGESKIDES, Partner Holman Fenwick Wilan, Jody GALLAGHER, Trainee Solicitor Holman Fenwick Willan, Dr Peter HOLMES, Reader in Economics at Sussex University (project leader), Jeremy KELLY, Associate Holman Fenwick Willan, Eirini ROUSSOU, Senior Associate Holman Fenwick Willan, Cliff STEVENSON, Cliff Stevenson Consulting, Anthony WOOLICH, Partner Holman Fenwick Willan

Future trade relations between the EU and the UK: Options after Brexit

16-03-2018

This study analyses the various options for the future trade relations between the EU and the UK, after Brexit. It examines the various models against the canvas of two distinct paradigms: market integration and trade liberalization. It finds that an intermediate model, which would allow for continued convergence and mutual recognition in some sectors/freedoms, but not others, is unavailable and cannot easily be constructed for legal, institutional, and political reasons. The stark choice is between ...

This study analyses the various options for the future trade relations between the EU and the UK, after Brexit. It examines the various models against the canvas of two distinct paradigms: market integration and trade liberalization. It finds that an intermediate model, which would allow for continued convergence and mutual recognition in some sectors/freedoms, but not others, is unavailable and cannot easily be constructed for legal, institutional, and political reasons. The stark choice is between a customs union/free trade agreement, or continued internal market membership through the EEA or an equivalent agreement. The study further analyses the effects of Brexit on the UK’s continued participation in the trade agreements concluded by the EU. Notwithstanding a range of complexities, the study finds that such continued participation is not automatic but subject to negotiation.

Autorzy zewnętrzni

Piet Eeckhout

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