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In recent years, the US has taken a range of steps to strengthen US legislation and enforcement practice from a human rights, trade and foreign policy perspective in the fight against the widespread use of forced labour in the increasingly complex global supply chains of the 21st century. A prominent example is the Uyghur Forced Labour Prevention Act of 2021. It bans imports from the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region (XUAR) in the north-west of China, except where importers can rebut the presumption ...

On 28 June 2019, the European Union and Mercosur reached a political agreement to establish an interregional trade agreement as ‘part of a wider Association Agreement between the two regions’. The European Commission and Mercosur member states went on to publish a summary of the negotiating results, while both sides started the process of legal revision. Meanwhile, the European External Action Service and Mercosur representatives were negotiating the political dialogue and cooperation part of the ...

This study looks at the European Commission’s proposal for a new GSP Regulation from human rights and sustainable development perspectives. It focuses on proposed changes to the conditionality provisions with their linked monitoring and dialogue processes that aim to promote human rights, sustainable development and good governance in the beneficiary countries. The Commission’s proposal is not revolutionary as it foresees retention of the three existing arrangements (Standard GSP, GSP+ and EBA). ...

The EU has implemented the world’s largest carbon-pricing system, the emissions trading system (ETS). While pricing emissions can encourage industrial decarbonisation, it also risks carbon leakage, whereby EU companies move their production abroad. To date, the EU has mitigated carbon leakage through free allocations to certain industries, but with rising climate ambition and higher carbon prices, the Commission seeks to phase out free allocations. In parallel, a novel carbon border adjustment mechanism ...

Since 2008, when the European Union introduced elaborate sustainable development provisions into its agreement with the Cariforum group of states, provisions on labour rights and the environment have become a central part of most of the EU's subsequent trade agreements, the one with South Korea (2011) being the first to contain a dedicated chapter. These provisions continue to evolve: for instance, recent agreements with some of the EU's developed partners, such as Canada and the United Kingdom, ...

On 21 September 2021, the Commission published its proposal for a new EU scheme of generalised preferences. Two of the current scheme’s three components are due to expire at the end of 2023, which would deprive developing countries of a vital opportunity to trade under preferential terms with the EU. Therefore, renewing the scheme appears to be both a necessity and an opportunity to strengthen its conditionality in the light of lessons learned and the increased urgency for dealing with the climate ...

The European Commission is proposing a new General Scheme of Preferences regulation to replace the current one that expires at the end of 2023. This initial appraisal of the Commission’s impact assessment (IA) on the proposal finds that the IA logically links the problems, their drivers, the objectives and the policy interventions under consideration. However, the IA remains evasive on the impacts of crucial aims of the regulation -- poverty eradication and advancing sustainable development and good ...

The economies of most ASEAN countries contracted due to the turmoil caused by the Covid-19 pandemic in 2020. Three of them, however, (Brunei, Myanmar/Burma and Vietnam) still managed to grow in terms of GDP, although at a much slower rate than in previous years. Despite the fact that the value of trade in goods declined by 10 % to €189 billion, the ASEAN countries remain an important partner for the EU, collectively representing 5 % of the EU’s overall trade in 2020, ranking in sixth place after ...

In this study we analyse the provisions of the EU-Mercosur trade agreement (EUMETA) in its form presented by the European Commission. Our analysis covers the potential macroeconomic effects of the agreement that are based on the analysis of the extent of trade liberalisation through the lens of a computable general simulation model, as well as more detailed analysis of trade structure, tariff structure, non-tariff protection and the trade-related provisions of the agreement including trade in services ...

The growing importance of global supply chains has fundamentally changed the way the global economy and goods manufacturing are organised. While trade conducted through global supply chains has fallen somewhat as a share of total trade since the 2008-2010 global financial and economic crisis, more than two-thirds of international trade still involves transactions made possible by such chains. The EU is profoundly involved in these production chains, more so than most other countries, and significantly ...