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The Council of the EU has authorised the European Commission to represent the EU and its Member States in the intergovernmental talks at the United Nations Commission on International Trade Law (UNCITRAL), with a view to reforming the existing investor-state dispute settlement (ISDS) system. The latter provides a procedural framework for disputes between international investors and host states in relation to international investment agreements, and relies on arbitration procedures. The system has ...

During the November I part-session, Parliament is due to vote on giving its consent to the conclusion of the EU China agreement on cooperation on, and protection of, geographical indications (GIs), i.e. distinctive signs attached, mainly, to agri-food products that have a given quality, reputation or other characteristics that are attributable to their specific geographical origin. The agreement adds a new element to the legal framework for EU relations with China that is currently based, in particular ...

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CAI negotiations are aimed at establishing a uniform legal framework for EU-China investment ties by replacing the 25 outdated bilateral investment treaties ...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 new European Commission (EC) is putting EU-African relations to the fore. A Joint Communication of the EC towards a comprehensive Strategy with Africa stresses the African Continent’s strategic importance and the EU’s need to strengthen its partnership with (and not for) Africa. Proposals in the Joint Communication maintain promotion of sustainable investments with Africa on top of the EU’s agenda. Partnership with Africa to attract investors and boost regional as well as continental integration ...

Following the signature of the EU-Singapore trade and investment agreements on 19 October 2018, the European Parliament gave its consent on 13 February 2019 to conclude both agreements. These deals were created by dividing the initial free trade agreement reached between the EU and Singapore in 2014, but not ratified, into two separate instruments: a trade agreement and an investment protection agreement. The trade agreement will enter into force with the finalisation of Singapore's internal administrative ...

Investment protection continues to be a controversial issue, as shown in particular during the negotiations on the EU-US Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) and the EU-Canada Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (CETA). To address stakeholder concerns, the EU has moved from traditional investor-state dispute settlement arrangements towards introducing bilateral investment court systems in new agreements and pursuing the goal of establishing a permanent multilateral investment ...

The trade and investment agreements with Singapore, the EU's largest commercial partner in the region, are the first between the EU and a member state of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN). The EU views bilateral agreements with ASEAN countries as steps towards the final objective of a region-to-region trade and investment agreement with ASEAN. The European Parliament is due to vote on giving its consent to the conclusion of the agreements with Singapore during the February plenary ...

China is an important strategic partner for the EU, despite fundamental divergences in some areas, mostly related to state intervention and fundamental human rights. The partnership offers mutually beneficial cooperation and dialogue in areas ranging from investment and transport to human rights and cybersecurity. China is navigating in new directions, guided by Xi Jinping's 'Thought on Socialism with Chinese Characteristics for a New Era’. Despite President Xi’s repeated avowals that 'the market ...

On 22 May 2018, the Council authorised the Commission to negotiate free trade agreements (FTAs) with Australia and New Zealand, and adopted the related negotiating directives. The FTAs will mainly focus on further reducing existing trade obstacles, eliminating custom duties on goods, and improving access for services and public procurement in Australia and New Zealand. The first negotiation rounds are expected to take place in July 2018, and the Commission aims to conclude negotiations before the ...

This study analyses provisions of the EU-Singapore Free Trade Agreement concluded in May 2015 ('EUSFTA'). It compares EUSFTA with other 'new-generation' free trade agreements, such as the EU-Republic of Korea and the EU-Canada Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement. Overall, EUSFTA adopts a WTO+ approach and as a result significantly liberalises trade between the EU and Singapore compared to the current trade relationship. The study finds that a number of tariff and non-tariff barriers to trade ...