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International Agreements in Progress: The trade pillar of the EU-Mercosur Association Agreement

30-08-2019

On 28 June 2019, the European Union (EU) and the four founding members of Mercosur (the 'Southern Common Market') – Argentina, Brazil, Paraguay and Uruguay – reached an 'agreement in principle' on a free trade agreement (FTA) as part of a wider association agreement (AA). However, spurred by massive destruction of the Brazilian Amazon through large-scale forest fires, EU policy-makers and international environmental groups alike have since become increasingly vocal in expressing concerns about the ...

On 28 June 2019, the European Union (EU) and the four founding members of Mercosur (the 'Southern Common Market') – Argentina, Brazil, Paraguay and Uruguay – reached an 'agreement in principle' on a free trade agreement (FTA) as part of a wider association agreement (AA). However, spurred by massive destruction of the Brazilian Amazon through large-scale forest fires, EU policy-makers and international environmental groups alike have since become increasingly vocal in expressing concerns about the deal's potential environmental and climate change implications. EU farmers' associations with defensive interests have fiercely criticised what they have referred to as a 'cars for cows' deal. On the other hand, the deal has been warmly welcomed by EU industry associations and several sub-sectors of EU agriculture with offensive interests. If tariff and non-tariff barriers are eliminated or substantially lowered, the potential for growth in bi-regional trade in goods, services and investment is significant. In addition, the FTA would be a strong signal in favour of the rules-based multilateral trading system and against power politics in trade. After the agreement's legal review and translation, it will be presented to the Council for signature. It will then be submitted to the European Parliament for consent. Once the Council has adopted the decision concluding the agreement, it will be presented to EU Member State parliaments for ratification. First edition. The 'International Agreements in Progress' briefings are updated at key stages throughout the process, from initial discussions through to ratification.

Human rights in EU trade agreements: The human rights clause and its application

08-07-2019

The practice of linking human rights with trade liberalisation has gained ground among many trade partners. Not only the EU, but also other important trade powers, such as the US and Canada, embed human and labour-rights provisions in their new trade agreements. For the EU, this ensues inevitably from the normative vision underlying all of its external policies, as enshrined in the Treaties. Accordingly, the EU has committed to respecting and promoting human rights and democracy through its external ...

The practice of linking human rights with trade liberalisation has gained ground among many trade partners. Not only the EU, but also other important trade powers, such as the US and Canada, embed human and labour-rights provisions in their new trade agreements. For the EU, this ensues inevitably from the normative vision underlying all of its external policies, as enshrined in the Treaties. Accordingly, the EU has committed to respecting and promoting human rights and democracy through its external action. The main mechanism for incorporating human rights into the EU's bilateral agreements consists of an 'essential elements' human rights clause that enables one party to take appropriate measures in case of serious breaches by the other party. The clause, which also covers democratic principles and often the rule of law, is more than just a legal mechanism enabling the unilateral suspension of trade commitments in times of crisis. It enshrines the parties' commitments to human rights and thus puts EU relations with third countries on a solid regulatory base, opening the path to dialogue and cooperation on human rights issues. So far, the EU has clearly preferred a constructive engagement to more restrictive measures, and has not activated the clause to suspend trade preferences under any of its trade agreements. Civil society and the European Parliament have, on the other hand, encouraged the European Commission to use the clause in a more robust way in order to respond to serious breaches of human rights and democratic principles. This briefing focuses exclusively on the EU's bilateral and regional free trade agreements. EU unilateral human and labour rights provisions in trade arrangements are addressed in a separate briefing. A forthcoming EPRS paper will provide more information about labour rights (many of which also form part of the human rights enshrined in international conventions) in EU bilateral agreements.

Trade negotiations with Australia and New Zealand

03-05-2019

This study explores the context and potential of the FTA negotiations between the EU and Australia and New Zealand. Through an analysis of the status quo, as well as several academic and policy analyses, it highlights the main opportunities for the EU from the negotiations, as well as potential threats and obstacles to agreement. The study explores in detail the likely impacts of market opening on trade in goods and services, as well as the potential in other key areas, including public procurement ...

This study explores the context and potential of the FTA negotiations between the EU and Australia and New Zealand. Through an analysis of the status quo, as well as several academic and policy analyses, it highlights the main opportunities for the EU from the negotiations, as well as potential threats and obstacles to agreement. The study explores in detail the likely impacts of market opening on trade in goods and services, as well as the potential in other key areas, including public procurement and investment. It also highlights the current architecture of FTAs which Australia and New Zealand have established, especially the very recent Comprehensive and Progressive Trans Pacific Partnership (CPTPP), to which both are party. It explores how these agreements impact on the EU’s competitiveness in the Australian and New Zealand markets and how FTAs could be leveraged to improve EU integration with these partners and their broader region. The study also considers how trade and sustainable development (TSD) can be effectively integrated into the agreements, in line with the objectives of the EU’s ‘Trade for All’ strategy. Finally, several potential wider, more political impacts of the FTAs are underlined.

Външен автор

Louise CURRAN

International Agreements in Progress: The EU-Japan Strategic Partnership Agreement (SPA) - A framework to promote shared values

22-01-2019

The EU and Japan share the same basic values, including on democracy, market economy, human rights, human dignity, freedom, equality, and the rule of law. Against a background of increasingly assertive neighbours, they are also putting emphasis on security issues. The EU has adopted a Global Strategy placing security and defence as a key strategic priority, and conclusions on 'enhanced EU security cooperation in and with Asia'. Japan has reformed its security policy, aiming at becoming a 'proactive ...

The EU and Japan share the same basic values, including on democracy, market economy, human rights, human dignity, freedom, equality, and the rule of law. Against a background of increasingly assertive neighbours, they are also putting emphasis on security issues. The EU has adopted a Global Strategy placing security and defence as a key strategic priority, and conclusions on 'enhanced EU security cooperation in and with Asia'. Japan has reformed its security policy, aiming at becoming a 'proactive contributor for peace'. In order to enhance their relations, in July 2018 the EU and Japan signed a binding Strategic Partnership Agreement (SPA) – to come into force following ratfication by all Member States – along with an Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA), negotiated in parallel. The SPA represents a framework strengthening the overall partnership, by promoting political and sectoral cooperation and joint actions in more than 40 areas of common interest. Once in force, the EU-Japan strategic partnership will become more operational. The agreement will facilitate joint EU-Japan efforts to promote shared values such as human rights and rule of law, a rules-based international system, and peace and stability across the world. It will allow EU-Japan security cooperation to reach its full potential. Second edition. The 'International Agreements in Progress' briefings are updated at key stages throughout the process, from initial discussions through to ratification.

EU and Japan seek to boost their relations

05-12-2018

The EU and Japan have given a strong signal in favour of free trade and their shared commitment to fundamental values and principles. In July 2018, they signed the EU-Japan Economic Partnership Agreement and the Strategic Partnership Agreement. The two agreements now need the European Parliament's consent for their conclusion.

The EU and Japan have given a strong signal in favour of free trade and their shared commitment to fundamental values and principles. In July 2018, they signed the EU-Japan Economic Partnership Agreement and the Strategic Partnership Agreement. The two agreements now need the European Parliament's consent for their conclusion.

Finding the right balance across EU FTAs: benefits and risks for EU economic sectors

17-10-2018

Globally, anti-trade sentiment is on the rise, meaning it is incumbent upon policymakers to explore and explain the benefits of free and open trade. This study examines the costs and benefits of various free trade agreements (FTAs) that the EU has completed, will complete, or is contemplating. With regard to completed FTAs, the EU has seen benefits in terms of consumer choice but has a much larger and positive impact on its partners (although not as much as ex-ante modelling would suggest). For forthcoming ...

Globally, anti-trade sentiment is on the rise, meaning it is incumbent upon policymakers to explore and explain the benefits of free and open trade. This study examines the costs and benefits of various free trade agreements (FTAs) that the EU has completed, will complete, or is contemplating. With regard to completed FTAs, the EU has seen benefits in terms of consumer choice but has a much larger and positive impact on its partners (although not as much as ex-ante modelling would suggest). For forthcoming or contemplated FTAs, the issue of non-tariff barriers must be considered for FTAs with developed economies to be a success, while comprehensive liberalisation with emerging markets improves trade and other outcomes for both the EU and its partner. Across all FTAs, trade and economic metrics are improved by an agreement while indirect effects (human rights, environment) are less likely to change. We conclude that the EU must continue its focus on comprehensive liberalisation, incorporating NTBs effectively into new agreements, while tempering expectations of influence on human rights.

International Agreements in Progress: EU-Singapore trade and investment agreements closer to conclusion

09-10-2018

On 18 April 2018, the European Commission proposed to the Council of the EU to sign and conclude two agreements with Singapore. These agreements were created by dividing the free trade agreement reached between the EU and Singapore (EUSFTA) in 2014, but not ratified, into separate trade and investment protection agreements. When presenting the agreements, the Commission underlined that they demonstrate the commitment of Singapore and the EU to fair trade and open markets. The Council of the EU is ...

On 18 April 2018, the European Commission proposed to the Council of the EU to sign and conclude two agreements with Singapore. These agreements were created by dividing the free trade agreement reached between the EU and Singapore (EUSFTA) in 2014, but not ratified, into separate trade and investment protection agreements. When presenting the agreements, the Commission underlined that they demonstrate the commitment of Singapore and the EU to fair trade and open markets. The Council of the EU is expected to authorise the signature of the agreements in October 2018. The Commission aims to have the trade agreement come into effect before the end of its mandate in 2019, after its approval by the Council and the European Parliament. Singapore will be the first member state of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) to sign 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. Second edition. The ‘International Agreements in Progress’ briefings are updated at key stages throughout the process, from initial discussions through to ratification. To view earlier editions of this briefing, please see: PE 607.255, June 2017.

International Agreements in Progress: EU-Vietnam Free Trade Agreement

04-10-2018

The free trade agreement (FTA) negotiated in 2015 with Vietnam has been described as the most ambitious deal of its type ever between the EU and a developing country. Not only will it eliminate over 99 % of customs duties on goods, it will also open up Vietnamese services markets to EU companies and strengthen protection of EU investments in the country. According to European Commission figures, the FTA could boost Vietnam's booming economy by as much as 15 % of GDP, with Vietnamese exports to Europe ...

The free trade agreement (FTA) negotiated in 2015 with Vietnam has been described as the most ambitious deal of its type ever between the EU and a developing country. Not only will it eliminate over 99 % of customs duties on goods, it will also open up Vietnamese services markets to EU companies and strengthen protection of EU investments in the country. According to European Commission figures, the FTA could boost Vietnam's booming economy by as much as 15 % of GDP, with Vietnamese exports to Europe growing by over one third. For the EU, the agreement is an important stepping stone to a wider trade deal with south-east Asia. However, Vietnamese manufacturing sectors may suffer from competition with the EU. NGOs and the European Parliament have also criticised the Commission for pursuing closer ties with a politically repressive regime, although the deal includes some safeguards against negative outcomes. Conclusion of the FTA was delayed by a 2017 opinion of the European Court of Justice. The Court ruled that the EU does not have the power to conclude agreements on certain investment-related issues on its own; therefore, the text as it then stood would also have to be ratified by the 28 Member States. To enable at least some parts of the FTA to be ratified more speedily at EU level, in August 2018 the EU and Vietnam agreed to take provisions on investment, for which Member State ratification is required, out of the main agreement and put them in a separate Investment Protection Agreement (IPA). Both the FTA and IPA are currently in translation and are expected to be formally submitted to the Council in late 2018, possibly enabling the FTA to come into force in the second half of 2019. Third edition. The ‘International Agreements in Progress’ briefings are updated at key stages throughout the process, from initial discussions through to ratification. To view earlier editions of this briefing, please see: PE 614.702, February 2018.

The EU - Japan Economic Partnership Agreement

28-09-2018

This report independently assesses the EU-Japan Economic Partnership Agreement. We find that the EPA establishes an ambitious framework to further liberalise and better organise trade, covering goods, services, intellectual property and investment, tariff- and non-tariff measures, and regulatory cooperation. Given its depth and breadth, and that it is unprecedented in including provisions on corporate governance, SMEs, and climate change, the EPA is set to become a benchmark for future trade agreements ...

This report independently assesses the EU-Japan Economic Partnership Agreement. We find that the EPA establishes an ambitious framework to further liberalise and better organise trade, covering goods, services, intellectual property and investment, tariff- and non-tariff measures, and regulatory cooperation. Given its depth and breadth, and that it is unprecedented in including provisions on corporate governance, SMEs, and climate change, the EPA is set to become a benchmark for future trade agreements. Joining two open economies with high income levels and regulatory standards, the agreement is expected to generate benefits by boosting trade within sectors, minimising sectoral relocation and negative employment effects. Agri-food, textiles and leather products are where the EU can expect to make the greatest gains. Furthermore, the EPA will boost the EU’s economic presence and political relevance in the Asia-Pacific area. Going beyond its economic benefits, the agreement also has significant non-economic implications. Reinforced cooperation will enhance the ability of both parties to shape the course of global developments in a manner that better reflects their shared interests and values, such as their commitment to a rule-based global trade system and the fight against global warming.

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.

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