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For two decades, the EU has sought to modernise its preferential trade relationship with the sub-Saharan African, Caribbean and Pacific (ACP) countries and establish free trade areas with regional groupings under so-called economic partnership agreements (EPAs). The process of establishing the EPAs has been longer and more complicated than initially expected, encountering criticism and opposition from civil society and some governments in ACP countries, who have been worried about the potential negative ...

On 30 June 2022, Commission President Ursula von der Leyen and New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern announced the conclusion of negotiations on a comprehensive EU-New Zealand free trade agreement (FTA). The 2014-2019 Commission had initially aimed to finalise negotiations before the end of its mandate in late 2019. However, both sides raised several sensitive issues during negotiations, not least because New Zealand is a major and competitive producer and exporter of agricultural goods. The ...

US Congress and trade policy tackling China

Накратко 04-03-2022

In the first year of the 117th US Congress (2021-2022), members of both the House and the Senate saw an urgent need both for a trade policy offensive specifically for the Indo-Pacific region to maintain US leadership in setting international standards and norms, and for an upgrade of defensive trade policy tools to address China's unfair trade practices. Congressional initiatives have coincided with debates in the European Parliament on the EU's Indo-Pacific strategy and on legislative proposals ...

US Congress approach to US-Taiwan relations

Накратко 01-03-2022

The first year of the 117th US Congress (2021-2022) under a 'unified government', where President Biden's party holds a majority of Democrats in the House of Representatives and the Senate, saw strong bipartisan support for shaping closer security, economic and political ties with Taiwan. Perceived as a vibrant democracy, worth protecting to secure peace and security in the Indo-Pacific region, the Biden administration invited Taiwan to the 2021 US Summit for Democracy, defining shared values rather ...

Sustainability-related provisions are a key part of international trade negotiations. Since the free trade agreement (FTA) signed with South Korea in 2009, EU trade deals each include dedicated trade and sustainable development (TSD) chapters encompassing issues such as environment, labour rights, climate change and responsible business conduct. In an effort to step up implementation and enforcement of these chapters, in 2018 the Commission published a non-paper setting out a 15-point action plan ...

The level playing-field (LPF) provisions of the Trade and Cooperation Agreement (TCA) between the European Union (EU) and the United Kingdom (UK) constitute a key part of the agreement, and are the product of some of the more challenging issues in the negotiations. The LPF provisions seek to safeguard fair competition between the parties. A notable component are the rules on social provisions, labour, environment and climate change, often referred to as the 'trade and sustainable development' (TSD ...

This briefing discusses the actions that the EU could take to properly tackle the challenges that SMEs are currently facing. Several initiatives have already been launched, such as the EU Helpdesk, the Access2Markets Platform and the CTEO. The pros and cons of these initiatives are outlined, and examples and a general assessment are provided. In a second step, several actions of Member States and commerce organisations are highlighted and a detailed classification provided. In a final step, recommendations ...

These briefings discuss how free trade agreements (FTAs) can help small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs). It provides an overview of FTAs with provisions supporting SMEs internationalise. Based on a literature review, we also discuss the main challenges and concerns for SMEs doing business in third countries. First, we show the current situation of European SMEs with respect to internationalisation and highlight the corresponding benefits. Following previous literature on the topic, we distinguish ...

This briefing discusses how free trade agreements (FTAs) can help small- and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs). It provides an overview of the FTAs that the EU has concluded, along with a classification and a discussion of key provisions on and for SMEs. Several pioneering agreements are studied more closely, including the EU-Japan, EU-Canada, EU-Mercosur and EU-UK agreements. To conclude, the briefing assesses SME awareness of FTA chapters and analyses the related benefits.

15 countries signed the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) on 15 November 2020. Upon ratification, it will become the largest preferential trade agreement by economic output in the world, with the potential to increase trade and integration among the economies of East Asia. This briefing presents the structure and the content of the agreement, its relationship to existing cooperation in the region, and discusses important economic and political implications. Several notable takeaways ...