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International Agreements in Progress: EU-Singapore trade and investment deals pass major milestone

29-04-2019

Following the signature of the EU-Singapore trade and investment agreements on 19 October 2018, the European Parliament gave its consent on 13 February 2019 to conclude both agreements. These deals were created by dividing the initial free trade agreement reached between the EU and Singapore in 2014, but not ratified, into two separate instruments: a trade agreement and an investment protection agreement. The trade agreement will enter into force with the finalisation of Singapore's internal administrative ...

Following the signature of the EU-Singapore trade and investment agreements on 19 October 2018, the European Parliament gave its consent on 13 February 2019 to conclude both agreements. These deals were created by dividing the initial free trade agreement reached between the EU and Singapore in 2014, but not ratified, into two separate instruments: a trade agreement and an investment protection agreement. The trade agreement will enter into force with the finalisation of Singapore's internal administrative procedures and the conclusion of the final formalities by the EU and Singapore. In contrast, the investment protection agreement, which falls under the shared competence of the EU and its Member States, needs to be ratified by the EU Member States also, following their national procedures. Singapore will be the first member state of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) to conclude bilateral trade and investment agreements with the EU. The EU views bilateral agreements with ASEAN members as steps towards achieving the final objective of a region-to-region trade and investment agreement with ASEAN. Therefore, the EU Singapore agreements are considered a reference as regards the EU's ambition to conclude trade and investment agreements with other ASEAN members.

'Everything but Arms': The case of Cambodia

15-04-2019

Cambodia is one of nearly 50 developing countries that enjoy duty-free access to EU markets under the Everything but Arms scheme. In response to the country's deteriorating human rights situation, the EU is now considering whether to withdraw trade preferences.

Cambodia is one of nearly 50 developing countries that enjoy duty-free access to EU markets under the Everything but Arms scheme. In response to the country's deteriorating human rights situation, the EU is now considering whether to withdraw trade preferences.

EU investment protection after the ECJ Opinion on Singapore: Questions of competence and coherence

25-03-2019

Investment protection continues to be a controversial issue, as shown in particular during the negotiations on the EU-US Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) and the EU-Canada Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (CETA). To address stakeholder concerns, the EU has moved from traditional investor-state dispute settlement arrangements towards introducing bilateral investment court systems in new agreements and pursuing the goal of establishing a permanent multilateral investment ...

Investment protection continues to be a controversial issue, as shown in particular during the negotiations on the EU-US Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) and the EU-Canada Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (CETA). To address stakeholder concerns, the EU has moved from traditional investor-state dispute settlement arrangements towards introducing bilateral investment court systems in new agreements and pursuing the goal of establishing a permanent multilateral investment court. At the same time, the European Court of Justice defined the limits of the Union’s exclusive competence in its opinion of 16 May 2017 with regard to the EU-Singapore Free Trade Agreement (FTA), which has led to the splitting of new FTAs into two parts, treating investment protection separately. Adding to the complex picture, a plethora of EU Member States’ bilateral investment treaties also remain in place. The workshop held by the Committee on International Trade took stock of existing EU investment protection provisions and analysed the options for a coherent and predictable dispute settlement system in line with the EU Treaties.

Externý autor

Prof. Dr. Steffen HINDELANG, LL.M., Department of Law, University of Southern Denmark, and Dr. Jurgita BAUR, Germany; and Prof. Dr. Stephan SCHILL, LL.M., Amsterdam Center for International Law, University of Amsterdam, the Netherlands

Parliamentary scrutiny of trade policies across the western world

25-03-2019

The Lisbon Treaty increased the European Parliament’s powers over EU trade policy. Ten years after its entry into force it is timely to take stock of how the EP has made use of this leverage in shaping the EU’s trade negotiations. Such an exercise benefits from a comparison with other well-established parliamentary democracies, particularly the key partners with whom the EU has recently negotiated or has started to negotiate a comprehensive trade agreement. This study compares parliamentary scrutiny ...

The Lisbon Treaty increased the European Parliament’s powers over EU trade policy. Ten years after its entry into force it is timely to take stock of how the EP has made use of this leverage in shaping the EU’s trade negotiations. Such an exercise benefits from a comparison with other well-established parliamentary democracies, particularly the key partners with whom the EU has recently negotiated or has started to negotiate a comprehensive trade agreement. This study compares parliamentary scrutiny of trade policy in the EU with the United States, Canada and Australia. It concludes that the European Parliament has become powerful and active in trade policy, on a comparable level to the US Congress. Its powers exceed those of other Western democracies, such as Australia and Canada. From the latter the European Parliament may conclude that it is important to codify some of its informal oversight practices, before they may get lost over time again. This may also help to encourage its trading partners to increase their parliamentary involvement during negotiations with the EU. As regards the implementation of trade agreements however, the EU has very few competences in comparison to all other three countries analysed.

Externý autor

Bart KERREMANS, Johan ADRIAENSEN, Francesca COLLI, Evelyn COREMANS

European Council Conclusions: A Rolling Check-List of Commitments to Date

20-03-2019

The role of the European Council – to 'provide the Union with the necessary impetus for its development' and to define its 'general political directions and priorities' – has evolved rapidly over the last decade. Since June 2014, the European Council Oversight Unit within the European Parliamentary Research Service (EPRS), the European Parliament's in-house research service and think tank, has been monitoring and analysing the European Council's delivery on commitments made in the conclusions of ...

The role of the European Council – to 'provide the Union with the necessary impetus for its development' and to define its 'general political directions and priorities' – has evolved rapidly over the last decade. Since June 2014, the European Council Oversight Unit within the European Parliamentary Research Service (EPRS), the European Parliament's in-house research service and think tank, has been monitoring and analysing the European Council's delivery on commitments made in the conclusions of its meetings. This overview of European Council conclusions is a new, updated and more comprehensive edition of the Rolling Check-List, which has been published regularly by the European Council Oversight Unit since 2014. It distinguishes between four types of European Council conclusions (commitments, reviews, endorsements and statements) and indicates the follow-up given to calls for action made by EU leaders. It also offers an introductory analysis of each policy area, highlighting the background to the main orientations given by the European Council, as well as the follow-up to them and the future challenges.

US duties on imports of Spanish ripe olives

06-03-2019

In January 2019, the European Union (EU) launched a case before the World Trade Organization (WTO) against the United States (US) challenging duties on imports of Spanish ripe olives, definitively in place since July 2018. US authorities have concluded that certain EU support measures for Spanish olive producers under the common agricultural policy (CAP) are contrary to WTO rules and can be countervailed. Given the importance of such support for EU farmers, the US measures could have far-reaching ...

In January 2019, the European Union (EU) launched a case before the World Trade Organization (WTO) against the United States (US) challenging duties on imports of Spanish ripe olives, definitively in place since July 2018. US authorities have concluded that certain EU support measures for Spanish olive producers under the common agricultural policy (CAP) are contrary to WTO rules and can be countervailed. Given the importance of such support for EU farmers, the US measures could have far-reaching consequences for the EU's agricultural model and set precedents in the WTO.

Global and regional value chains: Opportunities for European SMEs' internationalisation and growth

14-02-2019

International value chains have emerged as the new paradigm for the organisation of production globally. Today, most production processes across the world are vertically fragmented as a result of the increased unbundling of tasks and functions and their sourcing from different geographical locations. The extent to which this expansion in supply-chain trade is global in character (which some describe as the 'Factory World' phenomenon), or is rather based on more intra-regional ties clustered around ...

International value chains have emerged as the new paradigm for the organisation of production globally. Today, most production processes across the world are vertically fragmented as a result of the increased unbundling of tasks and functions and their sourcing from different geographical locations. The extent to which this expansion in supply-chain trade is global in character (which some describe as the 'Factory World' phenomenon), or is rather based on more intra-regional ties clustered around Europe, Asia and the Americas, is still being debated in the literature. Notwithstanding their geographical characteristics, international value chains offer increased opportunities for enterprises, by fostering their growth and internationalisation irrespective of their scale and size. To SMEs, they offer a broader range of channels through which they can participate more actively in global markets. By linking with international supply chains, SMEs can take a first step up the ladder, which – through spill-overs and knowledge transfers – can often give them access to assignments of higher added value. With greater interconnectedness, however, comes greater complexity. Not all SMEs are able to take advantage of the opportunities and link with international value chains in an effective way. More importantly, however, for those that do manage to integrate into international production chains, the magnitude and nature of the benefits will critically depend on the SMEs' entry point and position in global production networks and the links they can develop within those networks.

Understanding trade balances

08-02-2019

Trade policy discourse on both sides of the Atlantic has recently focused on trade deficits and surpluses. In the United States (US), President Donald Trump has routinely referred to the US trade deficit as a central indicator of the country's economic woes and made its reduction a key objective of US trade policy. In Europe, the world's largest trade surplus, run by Germany, has come under scrutiny. However, focusing on trade balances of exports and imports can be misleading in the trade policy ...

Trade policy discourse on both sides of the Atlantic has recently focused on trade deficits and surpluses. In the United States (US), President Donald Trump has routinely referred to the US trade deficit as a central indicator of the country's economic woes and made its reduction a key objective of US trade policy. In Europe, the world's largest trade surplus, run by Germany, has come under scrutiny. However, focusing on trade balances of exports and imports can be misleading in the trade policy context. Trade balances need to be considered as an integral part of a larger whole, the balance of payments of an economy. The imposition of specific trade policy measures, such as unilateral tariffs, cannot be expected to improve a trade balance significantly.

EU framework for FDI screening

08-02-2019

On 13 September 2017, the European Commission adopted a proposal for a regulation establishing a framework for screening foreign direct investment (FDI) inflows into the EU on grounds of security or public order. The proposal is a response to a rapidly evolving and increasingly complex investment landscape. It aims to strike a balance between maintaining the EU's general openness to FDI inflows and ensuring that the EU's essential interests are not undermined. Recent FDI trends and policies of emerging ...

On 13 September 2017, the European Commission adopted a proposal for a regulation establishing a framework for screening foreign direct investment (FDI) inflows into the EU on grounds of security or public order. The proposal is a response to a rapidly evolving and increasingly complex investment landscape. It aims to strike a balance between maintaining the EU's general openness to FDI inflows and ensuring that the EU's essential interests are not undermined. Recent FDI trends and policies of emerging FDI providers have cast doubt on the effectiveness of the current decentralised and fragmented formal system of FDI screening in place, and in use in only some EU Member States, to adequately address the potential (cross-border) impact of FDI inflows on security or public order without EU-coordinated cooperation among all EU Member States. The proposal's objective is neither to harmonise the formal FDI screening mechanisms currently used by half of the Member States, nor to replace them with a single EU mechanism. Instead, it aims to enhance cooperation and information-sharing on FDI screening between the Commission and Member States, and to increase legal certainty and transparency. The European Parliament's Committee on International Trade (INTA) and the Council adopted their positions in May and June 2018 respectively, and interinstitutional negotiations concluded in November 2018 with a provisional text. That was first endorsed by the Member States' Permanent Representatives (Coreper) and then by INTA in December 2018, and the text will be submitted for a vote in the European Parliament's plenary session of February 2019. Third edition. The ‘EU Legislation in Progress’ briefings are updated at key stages throughout the legislative procedure. Please note this document has been designed for on-line viewing.

Trade and investment agreements with Singapore

07-02-2019

The trade and investment agreements with Singapore, the EU's largest commercial partner in the region, are the first between the EU and a member state of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN). The EU views bilateral agreements with ASEAN countries as steps towards the final objective of a region-to-region trade and investment agreement with ASEAN. The European Parliament is due to vote on giving its consent to the conclusion of the agreements with Singapore during the February plenary ...

The trade and investment agreements with Singapore, the EU's largest commercial partner in the region, are the first between the EU and a member state of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN). The EU views bilateral agreements with ASEAN countries as steps towards the final objective of a region-to-region trade and investment agreement with ASEAN. The European Parliament is due to vote on giving its consent to the conclusion of the agreements with Singapore during the February plenary session.

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