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This briefing discusses 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. Second, based on previous literature on the topic, we distinguish between SMEs without international operations and SMEs that are already internationalised and discuss how different barriers can affect them.

In May 2018, the Council authorised the Commission to negotiate a free trade agreement (FTA) with Australia. Negotiations were officially launched in June 2018. Between July 2018 and September 2020, eight negotiation rounds took place. The first chapter of the prospective EU-Australia FTA, concluded at the technical level, is on small and medium-sized enterprises. The ninth negotiation round started on 30 November 2020.

Lack of reciprocity in access to the Chinese market and the absence of a level playing field for EU investors in China have posed major challenges for EU-China investment relations in recent years, with the negotiation of a comprehensive agreement on investment (CAI) being considered by the EU a key instrument to remedy this state of play. The CAI negotiations are aimed at establishing a uniform legal framework for EU-China investment ties by replacing the 25 outdated bilateral investment treaties ...

The European Union aims to ensure that road transport rules are applied effectively and without discrimination. The current rules governing the access to the international market for coach and bus services appear to have been only partly effective in promoting this mode of transport. There are still differences in rules on access to national markets, differences in openness of national markets, diverse national access arrangements and discrimination in access to terminals in some EU countries. In ...

With the European Parliament elections set for May 2019, the 21st EU-China Summit has been advanced, to be held in Brussels on 9 April 2019, only nine months after the previous one. The 2018 summit's joint statement captured a broad range of deliverables that had been achieved over a three-year period, since the EU and China had failed to agree on joint statements in 2016 and 2017. Considering that not even the short-term commitments on the trade and investment agenda from 2018 have been met, that ...

Following the signature of the EU-Japan Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA) in July 2018, and the conclusion of the ratification procedures by both partners at the end of 2018, the agreement entered into force on 1 February 2019. The agreement is the EU's largest bilateral trade agreement to date. It establishes a free trade area with a combined market of around 640 million consumers, accounting for roughly a third of the world's gross domestic product (GDP). The European Commission's analysis of ...

This evaluation of the EU Generalised Scheme of Preferences (GSP) focuses on the incentives in the GSP provisions that aim to push beneficiaries to comply with human rights and the extent to which these have been implemented and have had an impact on poverty reduction and good governance. The annexed economic evaluation of the GSP Regulation examines three inter-related questions: how beneficiaries have graduated from the GSP and what role preferences have played; how trade relations between the ...

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.

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 ...

TThis in-depth analysis, commissioned by the European Parliament’s Policy Department for Citizens’ Rights and Constitutional Affairs at the request of the AFCO Committee, examines the impact for the European Union’s legal system and institutions of a “bespoke” agreement based on a “distant” cooperation model (with the EU/Ukraine and the EU/Canada agreements as main illustrations). The analysis of these agreements’ main characteristics reveals that even “distant” cooperation already has quite impressive ...