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EU free trade agreement with Australia and New Zealand

15-02-2018

This note seeks to provide an initial analysis of the strengths and weaknesses of the European Commission's impact assessment (IA) accompanying the above proposals, submitted on 13 September 2017 and referred to Parliament's Committee on International Trade (INTA). For the Commission, the proposals are a step towards fulfilment of the key criteria for the EU's trade relations with third countries, namely the criteria of effectiveness, transparency, and the safeguarding of the European social and ...

This note seeks to provide an initial analysis of the strengths and weaknesses of the European Commission's impact assessment (IA) accompanying the above proposals, submitted on 13 September 2017 and referred to Parliament's Committee on International Trade (INTA). For the Commission, the proposals are a step towards fulfilment of the key criteria for the EU's trade relations with third countries, namely the criteria of effectiveness, transparency, and the safeguarding of the European social and regulatory model as underlined in the European Commission's 'Trade for all' communication. One of the objectives of the Commission's 2017 work programme was to open negotiations with Australia and New Zealand. Both countries are important trade partners for the EU and vice versa. In 2015, total trade in commercial services amounted to €4.3 billion between the EU and New Zealand, and €21.9 billion between the EU and Australia. In recent years, the EU has concluded bilateral agreements containing trade-related arrangements. Since 2015, the Commission has been preparing the ground for a free trade agreement (FTA) with both countries. On 26 October 2017 the European Parliament adopted two resolutions in which it called on the Council to authorise the Commission to start negotiations for trade and investment agreements with Australia and with New Zealand. The Parliament called on the Commission to outline the general future architecture of these trade agreements as rapidly as possible. The Parliament also stressed that the future FTAs 'must lead to improved market access and trade facilitation on the ground, create decent jobs, ensure gender equality for the benefit of the citizens on both sides, encourage sustainable development, uphold EU standards, safeguard services of general interest, and respect democratic procedures while boosting EU export opportunities'. The Commission conducted one impact assessment for the two proposals for free trade agreements with Australia and New Zealand and its conclusions are considered as valid for the EU's subsequent negotiations with both countries.

What next after the US withdrawal from the TPP? What are the options for trade relations in the Pacific and what will be the impact on the EU?

27-11-2017

The Trans-Pacific Partnership was a landmark trade agreement signed by 12 Pacific Rim countries including the US on 4 February 2016. TPP had commercial as well as geopolitical significance for the Obama administration and was a key component of the former president´s so-called “pivot” to Asia. On his first full day in office, on 24 January 2017, President Trump pulled the US out of TPP leaving the other 11 signatories to grapple with the consequences. They have since vowed to move forward even without ...

The Trans-Pacific Partnership was a landmark trade agreement signed by 12 Pacific Rim countries including the US on 4 February 2016. TPP had commercial as well as geopolitical significance for the Obama administration and was a key component of the former president´s so-called “pivot” to Asia. On his first full day in office, on 24 January 2017, President Trump pulled the US out of TPP leaving the other 11 signatories to grapple with the consequences. They have since vowed to move forward even without US participation, reviewing the existing clauses and rebranding the regional agreement under the name of Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for the Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP). Negotiations on the CPTPP will continue in 2018. The European Parliament has requested three experts from the EU, US and Asia to consider the implications of the US withdrawal from the TPP and draw conclusions on how the EU should position itself in this high-growth and geopolitically-strategic area. The findings were presented during a Workshop organised by the Policy Department for the International Trade Committee on 8 November 2017 in Brussels.

Autor extern

Peter CHASE, Pasha L. HSIEH, Bart KERREMANS

FTA talks with Australia and New Zealand

23-10-2017

On 13 September 2017, the Commission presented recommendations to the Council to authorise the launch of free trade agreement (FTA) negotiations with Australia and New Zealand. In October, the Parliament is due to debate reports by the Parliament's Committee on International Trade (INTA) on the proposed negotiating mandate for trade negotiations with Australia and New Zealand.

On 13 September 2017, the Commission presented recommendations to the Council to authorise the launch of free trade agreement (FTA) negotiations with Australia and New Zealand. In October, the Parliament is due to debate reports by the Parliament's Committee on International Trade (INTA) on the proposed negotiating mandate for trade negotiations with Australia and New Zealand.

International Agreements in Progress: EU-Australia free trade agreement - Moving towards the launch of talks

11-10-2017

The prospective EU-Australia free trade agreement (FTA) will complement the economic dimension of the current longstanding and evolving relationship with a new element. In addition to opening up new bilateral commercial opportunities, the FTA would also both facilitate the creation of new ties with global production and commercial networks and help to advance the trade policy interests of the EU in the Asia-Pacific region. The economic cooperation already in place includes a number of bilateral agreements ...

The prospective EU-Australia free trade agreement (FTA) will complement the economic dimension of the current longstanding and evolving relationship with a new element. In addition to opening up new bilateral commercial opportunities, the FTA would also both facilitate the creation of new ties with global production and commercial networks and help to advance the trade policy interests of the EU in the Asia-Pacific region. The economic cooperation already in place includes a number of bilateral agreements that provide a good basis for the future negotiations. However, given that Australia is a major agricultural and agri-food exporter globally, it is expected that, in the course of the negotiations, certain sensitive issues may be raised. The EU is committed to taking European agricultural sensitivities fully into consideration in its negotiating strategy, seeking to protect vulnerable sectors through specific provisions. On 13 September 2017, the European Commission presented the draft negotiating directives for the FTA with Australia. This draft mandate, in line with the EU Court of Justice's recent opinion on the EU-Singapore FTA, covers only those areas falling under the EU's exclusive competence. Therefore, the prospective agreement could be concluded by the EU on its own and could be ratified at EU level only. The Commission aims to finalise the negotiations before the end of its mandate in late 2019.

Migration into the EU [What Think Tanks are thinking]

30-06-2017

At the European Council meeting of 23 June 2017, European Union Heads of State or Government agreed to strengthen efforts to reduce irregular migration flows on the central Mediterranean route, notably by speeding up training, equipping the Libyan coast guard and improving cooperation with countries of migration origin. However, the European Council made limited progress on reforming the Common European Asylum System, with the migration debate clouded by refusal of some central and eastern European ...

At the European Council meeting of 23 June 2017, European Union Heads of State or Government agreed to strengthen efforts to reduce irregular migration flows on the central Mediterranean route, notably by speeding up training, equipping the Libyan coast guard and improving cooperation with countries of migration origin. However, the European Council made limited progress on reforming the Common European Asylum System, with the migration debate clouded by refusal of some central and eastern European countries to accept refugees under the existing quotas. This note offers links to recent commentaries and studies on migration from major international think-tanks and research institutes.

Australia: Economic indicators and trade with EU

02-06-2017

Australia is one of the most prosperous countries in the Asia-Pacific region. It has a strong and dynamic relationship with the EU, and negotiations for a free trade agreement between Australia and the EU are expected to be launched later in 2017. In 2016, Australia was the EU’s 19th largest trading partner, with a 1.3% share of the EU’s total trade. Further information on EU-Australia trade relations, such as the composition of trade between the two partners, can be found in this infographic, which ...

Australia is one of the most prosperous countries in the Asia-Pacific region. It has a strong and dynamic relationship with the EU, and negotiations for a free trade agreement between Australia and the EU are expected to be launched later in 2017. In 2016, Australia was the EU’s 19th largest trading partner, with a 1.3% share of the EU’s total trade. Further information on EU-Australia trade relations, such as the composition of trade between the two partners, can be found in this infographic, which also provides an economic snapshot of Australia.

Challenges to Freedom of the Seas and Maritime Rivalry in Asia

14-03-2017

China’s New Maritime Silk Road policy poses geostrategic challenges and offers some opportunities for the US and its allies in Asia-Pacific. To offset China’s westward focus, the US seeks to create a global alliance strategy with the aim to maintain a balance of power in Eurasia, to avoid a strong Russia-China or China-EU partnership fostered on economic cooperation. For the EU, the ‘One Belt, One Road’ (OBOR) initiative by improving infrastructure may contribute to economic development in neighbouring ...

China’s New Maritime Silk Road policy poses geostrategic challenges and offers some opportunities for the US and its allies in Asia-Pacific. To offset China’s westward focus, the US seeks to create a global alliance strategy with the aim to maintain a balance of power in Eurasia, to avoid a strong Russia-China or China-EU partnership fostered on economic cooperation. For the EU, the ‘One Belt, One Road’ (OBOR) initiative by improving infrastructure may contribute to economic development in neighbouring countries and in Africa but present also risks in terms of unfair economic competition and increased Chinese domination. Furthermore, China’s behaviour in the South China Sea and rebuff of the ruling of the Permanent Court of Arbitration, in July 2016, put the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS) at risk with possible consequences to freedom of the seas. Increasing relations with China could also affect EU-US relations at a time of China-US tension. To face these challenges, a stronger EU, taking more responsibility in Defence and Security, including inside NATO, is needed.

Autor extern

Patrick HÉBRARD (Fondation pour la recherche stratégique - FRS, Paris, France)

Refugee and asylum policy in Australia: Between resettlement and deterrence

10-11-2016

Australia has established a refugee policy which has proved highly effective in deterring irregular migrants, but has attracted much criticism from human rights organisations. Its main drivers have been mandatory detention and offshore processing of irregular asylum-seekers arriving by boat. Since it was enacted, drownings at sea no longer occur and irregular migration by boat to its shores has completely stopped. However, the conditions in the offshore centres in Nauru and Papua New Guinea, where ...

Australia has established a refugee policy which has proved highly effective in deterring irregular migrants, but has attracted much criticism from human rights organisations. Its main drivers have been mandatory detention and offshore processing of irregular asylum-seekers arriving by boat. Since it was enacted, drownings at sea no longer occur and irregular migration by boat to its shores has completely stopped. However, the conditions in the offshore centres in Nauru and Papua New Guinea, where people arriving by boat have been sent, have been criticised as inappropriate by civil society organisations, and these people's indefinite detention there was deemed to constitute arbitrary detention under international law. Further to such criticism, recently, the two countries have decided to allow asylum-seekers to move freely and, if determined to be refugees, to settle in the community. However, the situation of the refugees in the two countries remains extremely precarious and no lasting solution is yet in sight, despite Australia's efforts to secure resettlement agreements with other third countries. At the same time, Australia has remained open to asylum-seekers and refugees who enter through official channels, and is one of the countries admitting most refugees resettled through the UNHCR. This briefing is an extended and updated version of an earlier publication, from October 2015.

Australia's double dissolution election

29-06-2016

On 2 July 2016, following the double dissolution of their federal Parliament, Australians will elect the 150 members of the House of Representatives (the lower house) and the 76 members of the Senate (the upper house). Domestic politics has been central to this election campaign, and the outcome of the UK’s EU referendum has made political parties focus even more acutely on domestic stability. On the eve of the election, it is still difficult to predict which of the two major parties will win and ...

On 2 July 2016, following the double dissolution of their federal Parliament, Australians will elect the 150 members of the House of Representatives (the lower house) and the 76 members of the Senate (the upper house). Domestic politics has been central to this election campaign, and the outcome of the UK’s EU referendum has made political parties focus even more acutely on domestic stability. On the eve of the election, it is still difficult to predict which of the two major parties will win and whether either of them will be able to form a majority government.

Trans-Pacific Partnership: Geopolitical Implications for EU-US Relations

24-06-2016

The Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) and the prospective Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP), if enacted, will reshape trade and investment flows between the United States, Asia, and Europe. Together, these agreements encompass more than 60 % of the global economy, including the leading industrial economies of North America, the European Union and Japan. TPP is the economic anchor of the US ‘pivot’ to Asia. TPP is as much a geopolitical project to reinforce US leadership in Asia ...

The Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) and the prospective Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP), if enacted, will reshape trade and investment flows between the United States, Asia, and Europe. Together, these agreements encompass more than 60 % of the global economy, including the leading industrial economies of North America, the European Union and Japan. TPP is the economic anchor of the US ‘pivot’ to Asia. TPP is as much a geopolitical project to reinforce US leadership in Asia as it is a deal driven by an economic logic of spurring new sources of trade and investment. The EU has concluded or is negotiating a series of bilateral trade and investment agreements, including with Singapore, Vietnam, Australia, Japan, Malaysia, and New Zealand. But Europe as a whole needs to take a more strategic and coherent approach to Asia, beyond commerce and investment ties, and particularly to unify its approach to China. This is a compelling requirement given both China’s enormous economic power and the risks its ascendancy poses to the liberal international order. Beyond the politics around both trade deals, however, lies a conviction among trade liberalisers in both the Atlantic and Pacific theatres that the agreements could provide a positive shock to a global economy badly in need of new engines of growth.

Autor extern

Daniel TWINING? Hans KUNDNANI and Peter SPARDING

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