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International Agreements in Progress: Economic Partnership Agreement with the East African Community

16-04-2018

The current ACP-EU Partnership Agreement (the 'Cotonou Partnership Agreement') features a provision making it possible for the EU to negotiate different economic partnership agreements (EPAs) with regional ACP sub-groups. This provision was needed for the partnership to be brought into compliance with the World Trade Organization's rules. Negotiations for an EPA with the members of the East African Community (EAC) – at the time: Burundi, Kenya, Rwanda, Tanzania, and Uganda – were finalised in October ...

The current ACP-EU Partnership Agreement (the 'Cotonou Partnership Agreement') features a provision making it possible for the EU to negotiate different economic partnership agreements (EPAs) with regional ACP sub-groups. This provision was needed for the partnership to be brought into compliance with the World Trade Organization's rules. Negotiations for an EPA with the members of the East African Community (EAC) – at the time: Burundi, Kenya, Rwanda, Tanzania, and Uganda – were finalised in October 2014. South Sudan, which joined the EAC in 2016, did not take part in the negotiations, but can join the agreement once it comes into force. Once it enters into force, the EU-EAC EPA will provide immediate duty-free, quota-free access to the EU market for all EAC exports, combined with partial and gradual opening of the EAC market to imports from the EU. The EPA contains detailed provisions on sustainable agriculture and fisheries, rules of origin, and sanitary and phytosanitary measures. The parties are committed to concluding additional negotiations within five years of the entry into force of the agreement. The signing of the EPA has been stalled because of discussions within the EAC. Kenya is the only EAC country to have ratified the agreement, in order not to lose free access to the EU market. Other EAC member states, being least developed countries, still enjoy free access and some of them have pushed for further clarifications on the consequences of the EPA for their economies before the EAC endorses the agreement. First edition. The 'International Agreements in Progress' briefings are updated at key stages throughout the process, from initial discussions through to ratification.

Rail freight in the EU: Developing a tool for more sustainable transport

11-04-2017

In the early 20th century, rail was by far the most important mode for hauling goods across Europe. Since then, the freight market has undergone profound changes. In 2014, rail accounted for less than 12 % of all freight in the EU, while its main competitor, road haulage, achieved roughly a 50 % market share. This development entailed environmental concerns, road being considered more detrimental to the environment than rail. In the context of a predicted increase in freight transport, the EU has ...

In the early 20th century, rail was by far the most important mode for hauling goods across Europe. Since then, the freight market has undergone profound changes. In 2014, rail accounted for less than 12 % of all freight in the EU, while its main competitor, road haulage, achieved roughly a 50 % market share. This development entailed environmental concerns, road being considered more detrimental to the environment than rail. In the context of a predicted increase in freight transport, the EU has adopted a broad policy framework and a set of initiatives to promote more sustainable transport where rail freight plays an important role. These range from measures to improve the competitiveness, governance and technical compatibility of the rail sector in general, to specific provisions to support rail freight networks and services. The EU has also provided for a set of financing instruments and programmes. Today, experts seem to share a common understanding of the unsatisfactory performance of rail freight: regulatory and management issues, an uneven playing field and insufficient effectiveness of EU funding are among the main causes that are being discussed. At the same time, a consensus seems to have emerged on the need to increase rail freight in the EU. As a result, recommendations have been made to enhance and stabilise the regulatory environment; improve management and better adapt it to rail freight needs; make more consistent use of EU funds to improve the infrastructure; better exploit the potential of intermodal facilities; and monitor more closely the results achieved. Ongoing steps, such as rail projects at EU and national level and implementation of the EU regulatory framework, are already contributing to making rail freight a more customer-oriented and sustainable mode of transport.

TTIP - Challenges and Opportunities

29-06-2016

This leaflet provides short compilation of papers prepared by the European Parliament’s Policy Department A: Economic and Scientific Policy in relation to the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP).

This leaflet provides short compilation of papers prepared by the European Parliament’s Policy Department A: Economic and Scientific Policy in relation to the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP).

Workshop on "Bringing EU-Turkey Trade and Investment Relations Up to Date?"

19-05-2016

The case is made paper maintains that the EU-Turkey CU of 1995 covering industrial goods should be modernised and modified to take into account the various and growing criticisms of the original CU. Furthermore, economic integration between the EU and Turkey should be strengthened by signing a complementary deep integration regional trade agreement (RTA) between the EU and Turkey, covering agriculture, SPS measures, services, government procurement, investment, and dispute settlement. For Turkey, ...

The case is made paper maintains that the EU-Turkey CU of 1995 covering industrial goods should be modernised and modified to take into account the various and growing criticisms of the original CU. Furthermore, economic integration between the EU and Turkey should be strengthened by signing a complementary deep integration regional trade agreement (RTA) between the EU and Turkey, covering agriculture, SPS measures, services, government procurement, investment, and dispute settlement. For Turkey, the objective would be to achieve comprehensive liberalisation, while for the EU this is an ideal opportunity to harness the economic and political potential of deeper integration with Turkey, in line with its wider trade and investment policy.

Food Contact Materials - Regulation (EC) 1935/2004

10-05-2016

Food contact materials (FCMs) are widely used in everyday life in the form of food packaging, kitchen utensils, tableware, etc. When put in contact with food, the different materials may behave differently and transfer their constituents to the food. Thus, if ingested in large quantities, FCM chemicals might endanger human health, or change the food itself. Therefore, food contact materials are subject to legally binding rules at EU level, currently laid down in Regulation (EC) No 1935/2004 which ...

Food contact materials (FCMs) are widely used in everyday life in the form of food packaging, kitchen utensils, tableware, etc. When put in contact with food, the different materials may behave differently and transfer their constituents to the food. Thus, if ingested in large quantities, FCM chemicals might endanger human health, or change the food itself. Therefore, food contact materials are subject to legally binding rules at EU level, currently laid down in Regulation (EC) No 1935/2004 which aims at ensuring FCM safety but also the effective functioning of the internal market in FCM goods. The regulation sets up a general safety requirement applicable to all possible food contact materials and articles, and envisages a possibility for the adoption of specific safety requirements (i.e. further harmonisation at EU level) for seventeen FCMs listed in Annex I to Regulation (EC) No 1935/2004. So far, specific safety requirements have been adopted only for four FCMs: plastics (including recycled plastics), ceramics, regenerated cellulose and so-called active and intelligent materials. Where specific requirements have not been adopted at EU level, Member States could adopt such measures at national level, which is the case for several widely used FCMs, such as: paper & board, metals & alloys, glass, coatings, silicones, rubbers, printing inks etc. However, as reported by the majority of stakeholders participating in this survey, the lack of specific measures at EU level for some food contact materials/articles negatively impacts the functioning of the internal market for the relevant material/article and its food safety. Stakeholders - across businesses, consumers, environmental and health NGOs, researchers, as well as Member States' competent authorities - are in favour of specific measures at EU level for the FCMs that are not yet harmonised at EU level.

TTIP: Technical Barriers to Trade, Including Standards - Study in Focus

16-11-2015

The study TTIP: Opportunities and Challenges in the area of Technical Barriers to Trade, including Standards concentrates on the horizontal TBT chapter in TTIP, with links to the regulatory cooperation chapter and the nine sectorial chapters This is a short overview of this study. Link to the original document: http://www.europarl.europa.eu/RegData/etudes/STUD/2015/542225/IPOL_STU(2015)542225_EN.pdf

The study TTIP: Opportunities and Challenges in the area of Technical Barriers to Trade, including Standards concentrates on the horizontal TBT chapter in TTIP, with links to the regulatory cooperation chapter and the nine sectorial chapters This is a short overview of this study. Link to the original document: http://www.europarl.europa.eu/RegData/etudes/STUD/2015/542225/IPOL_STU(2015)542225_EN.pdf

TTIP: Engineering, Including Machinery - Study in Focus

16-11-2015

The study TTIP: Engineering including Machinery explores how TTIP could effectively address the causes of costly market access to the US in the Engineering sector, such as stubborn TBTs. The case is made why TTIP offers the potential to lower the TBTs to the US engineering market significantly, via three complementary routes in TTIP. The study sets out the overall and specific EU offensive interests, one crucial defensive interest (the integrity of the single market) and some opportunities and challenges ...

The study TTIP: Engineering including Machinery explores how TTIP could effectively address the causes of costly market access to the US in the Engineering sector, such as stubborn TBTs. The case is made why TTIP offers the potential to lower the TBTs to the US engineering market significantly, via three complementary routes in TTIP. The study sets out the overall and specific EU offensive interests, one crucial defensive interest (the integrity of the single market) and some opportunities and challenges. This is a short overview of this study. Link to the original document: http://www.europarl.europa.eu/RegData/etudes/STUD/2015/542233/IPOL_STU(2015)542233_EN.pdf

TTIP: Challenges and Opportunities in the Area of Customs and Trade Facilities

31-08-2015

The trade costs associated with customs and other border controls become more important as tariff barriers are reduced. The EU is in the process of further modernisation of is customs code. It also needs to work with the EU’s trading partners to facilitate trade while protecting consumer interests and the security of the international supply chain. The negotiations on TTIP offer a means of building on existing agreements to further this aim. This paper is about how to make customs more efficient. ...

The trade costs associated with customs and other border controls become more important as tariff barriers are reduced. The EU is in the process of further modernisation of is customs code. It also needs to work with the EU’s trading partners to facilitate trade while protecting consumer interests and the security of the international supply chain. The negotiations on TTIP offer a means of building on existing agreements to further this aim. This paper is about how to make customs more efficient. Others in this series of eight, prepared by Policy Department A for the IMCO Committee, cover the substantive issues in technical barriers to trade, services, procurement and the sectors of textiles and clothing, motor vehicles and machinery sectors. A further paper covers the horizontal issues in regulatory cooperation.

The Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP): Challenges and Opportunities for the Internal Market and Consumer Protection in the Area of Engineering

15-07-2015

The European Engineering industry, by far the biggest exporter of goods to the US, suffers from a range of TBTs (Technical Barriers to Trade) when exporting to the US. After two decades of trying – in vain - to reduce the costs of these TBTs, TTIP should address them, yielding significant economic gains. US standards, relevant for US safety regulation, are very rarely international standards from ISO and IEC, in sharp contrast with the EU. This is costly for EU exporters. Conformity assessment issues ...

The European Engineering industry, by far the biggest exporter of goods to the US, suffers from a range of TBTs (Technical Barriers to Trade) when exporting to the US. After two decades of trying – in vain - to reduce the costs of these TBTs, TTIP should address them, yielding significant economic gains. US standards, relevant for US safety regulation, are very rarely international standards from ISO and IEC, in sharp contrast with the EU. This is costly for EU exporters. Conformity assessment issues related to OSHA requirements (US regulator) should be resolved as EU exporters suffer from a triple cost disadvantage. The US insistence of ‘mutual recognition of standards’ is not a solution at all, undermining the EU single standard environment and ‘trading in’ a first best (world standard) solution for a second-best one, if not worse. Over time globalisation increases the pressure to find effective US/EU solutions.

EU-US negotiations on TTIP: A survey of current issues

15-06-2015

The negotiations on a Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) between the EU and the US aim at achieving a comprehensive trade agreement with renewed liberalisation efforts in trade, services and investments while at the same time aiming at regulatory cooperation and rule-based trade. Negotiations on TTIP have now completed their ninth round. Political debates on some of the outstanding issues are becoming more acute, as the European Parliament discusses its new recommendations to the ...

The negotiations on a Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) between the EU and the US aim at achieving a comprehensive trade agreement with renewed liberalisation efforts in trade, services and investments while at the same time aiming at regulatory cooperation and rule-based trade. Negotiations on TTIP have now completed their ninth round. Political debates on some of the outstanding issues are becoming more acute, as the European Parliament discusses its new recommendations to the European Commission on TTIP. The discussion and vote in plenary planned for 10 June was postponed in view of the large number of amendments submitted to the draft recommendations. This analysis looks at the different negotiation issues still outstanding.

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