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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 ...

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 ...

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.

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 ...

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 ...

The United Kingdom (UK) left the European Union (EU) on 1 February 2020 and will regain competence for its own international trade policy as soon as the transition period concludes at the end of 2020. Freedom to determine its own trade relationships was a major reason for the UK's withdrawal from the EU: its new international trade policy is based on the goal of establishing 'global Britain', a country asserting that it is strongly committed to trade openness with international leadership. To this ...

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.