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Slowing down or changing track? Understanding the dynamics of 'Slowbalisation'

03-12-2020

Slowbalisation – understood as the slowdown in global integration – is said to have started in the aftermath of the global financial crisis of 2007-2008. The coronavirus pandemic brought about a further dramatic fall in cross-border movement of goods, services, capital and people, to the extent that commentators have proclaimed the beginning of deglobalisation. This paper examines whether the phenomenon described as slowbalisation is myth or reality, by looking at five different pathways of globalisation ...

Slowbalisation – understood as the slowdown in global integration – is said to have started in the aftermath of the global financial crisis of 2007-2008. The coronavirus pandemic brought about a further dramatic fall in cross-border movement of goods, services, capital and people, to the extent that commentators have proclaimed the beginning of deglobalisation. This paper examines whether the phenomenon described as slowbalisation is myth or reality, by looking at five different pathways of globalisation: international trade, financial openness, increasing inequality, cross-border social movement, and digital exchanges. The key conclusion is that slowbalisation has not been a uniform trend. While international economic globalisation has indeed slowed, the 'digital leap' and continued inequality suggest that globalisation is merely changing form, not disappearing.

US foreign policy after the 2020 Presidential election: Issues for the European Union

03-12-2020

The election of the 46th President of the United States took place on 3 November 2020 amidst the unprecedented scenario of the coronavirus pandemic. Following several days of vote-counting, the democratic candidate, Joe Biden, secured the electoral votes needed to become the next President of the United States. His inauguration will take place on 20 January 2021. Domestic concerns, most notably the management of the coronavirus crisis and the economy, as well as racial issues, were the most important ...

The election of the 46th President of the United States took place on 3 November 2020 amidst the unprecedented scenario of the coronavirus pandemic. Following several days of vote-counting, the democratic candidate, Joe Biden, secured the electoral votes needed to become the next President of the United States. His inauguration will take place on 20 January 2021. Domestic concerns, most notably the management of the coronavirus crisis and the economy, as well as racial issues, were the most important subjects in determining voter preference. As usual, foreign policy did not rank highly amidst voters' concerns. However, for the European Union, the impact of the election of Joe Biden on US foreign policy will leave a substantial mark on the future course of transatlantic relations and of global cooperation. While foreign policy under the forthcoming Biden Administration is expected to depart from some of the key tenets of President Trump's 'America First' foreign policy, experts also point to a high possibility of continuity in areas such as trade and relations with China. However, on climate change, multilateral cooperation and support for NATO, expectations are high regarding a potential return to deep levels of transatlantic consensus and cooperation. Biden's foreign policy is likely to focus on multilateral cooperation, for example by re-joining the Paris Agreement on climate change and resuming US support for the World Health Organization. The former Vice-President has stated he will likely re-join the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA, or Iran Nuclear Deal) in time, and pursue an extension of the New Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty (START) with Russia.

EU-US dispute over civil aircraft subsidies

17-11-2020

Since the 1980s onset of intensified sales competition between American and European civil aircraft manufacturers, aircraft trade has been a point of contention in transatlantic trade. Between 1992 and 2004, the Bilateral Agreement on Trade in Large Civil Aircraft regulated the permitted levels of support to aircraft manufacturers. In 2003, Europe's Airbus sold more large civil aircraft than United States-owned Boeing for the first time. The following year, the USA renounced the agreement and launched ...

Since the 1980s onset of intensified sales competition between American and European civil aircraft manufacturers, aircraft trade has been a point of contention in transatlantic trade. Between 1992 and 2004, the Bilateral Agreement on Trade in Large Civil Aircraft regulated the permitted levels of support to aircraft manufacturers. In 2003, Europe's Airbus sold more large civil aircraft than United States-owned Boeing for the first time. The following year, the USA renounced the agreement and launched a World Trade Organization (WTO) case over State aid given to Airbus. The European Union filed a parallel case against US subsidies to Boeing. Following a long-standing dispute, the WTO authorised US imposition of countermeasures worth nearly US$7.5 billion in 2019. In October 2020, in a mirror case brought by the EU against the US subsidies to Boeing, the EU was authorised to impose retaliatory tariffs. On 9 November, the EU imposed these tariffs, on US$4billion worth of US aircraft, food and drink production. In addition to the tariffs, the aviation industry has been hard-hit by the coronavirus crisis. Joe Biden's success in the recent Presidential election strengthen hopes for a negotiated solution to the dispute.

WTO e-commerce negotiations

05-10-2020

While e-commerce represents an increasing portion of the economy, international regulation of e-commerce is lagging behind. In 2017, the WTO Ministerial Conference issued a Joint Statement Initiative signalling the intention to launch plurilateral e-commerce talks. In January 2019, in the margins of the World Economic Forum in Davos, 76 of 164 WTO members, among them the EU, Australia, China, Japan, and the USA launched e commerce negotiations. Members seek a high-standard outcome building on WTO ...

While e-commerce represents an increasing portion of the economy, international regulation of e-commerce is lagging behind. In 2017, the WTO Ministerial Conference issued a Joint Statement Initiative signalling the intention to launch plurilateral e-commerce talks. In January 2019, in the margins of the World Economic Forum in Davos, 76 of 164 WTO members, among them the EU, Australia, China, Japan, and the USA launched e commerce negotiations. Members seek a high-standard outcome building on WTO agreements, but the legal form of the deal is not yet clear. Participants wish to modernise trade rules to fit the digital age and show that the WTO's negotiating function can deliver. Key issues in the negotiations include e-contracts and e-signatures, data flows, data localisation requirements, disclosure of source code, and customs duties on electronic transmissions. While some divergences persist, in particular on data flows and privacy, the talks are progressing with a view to deliver a consolidated draft text by the end of 2020.

International trade policy

29-07-2020

The coronavirus pandemic caused a significant collapse in international trade in the first half of 2020. Trade accounts for a higher proportion of the EU economy than that of the United States of America (US) or China, which can make the EU's economic model more vulnerable to import and export disruptions. In recent years, the multilateral liberal trading order has already been facing unprecedented turbulence. The rise of protectionism and zero-sum thinking, trade wars and the blockage within the ...

The coronavirus pandemic caused a significant collapse in international trade in the first half of 2020. Trade accounts for a higher proportion of the EU economy than that of the United States of America (US) or China, which can make the EU's economic model more vulnerable to import and export disruptions. In recent years, the multilateral liberal trading order has already been facing unprecedented turbulence. The rise of protectionism and zero-sum thinking, trade wars and the blockage within the World Trade Organization (WTO) Appellate Body have been severely undermining the basis on which trade had been conducted in recent decades. At the same time, the European Commission remains committed to the promotion of free and fair trade. Thus the five main priorities for EU trade policy after coronavirus will be economic recovery, re-establishing a positive transatlantic relationship, levelling the playing field with China, negotiating a fair new trade relationship with the United Kingdom, and improving enforcement and implementation of the EU's trade agreements with 76 countries around the world. Each of these priorities will need to be balanced against the requirements of the WTO, a comprehensive regulatory approach to digital trade and mainstreaming of sustainability objectives into trade policy. Creative solutions, such as instruments to tackle foreign subsidies and the WTO pharmaceutical agreement can also help Europe to navigate the new geo-economic and post-coronavirus era of global trade successfully.

EU international procurement instrument

16-03-2020

The EU has opened up its public procurement markets to third countries to a large degree, yet many of these countries have not granted the EU comparable access. In 2012, the European Commission tabled a proposal for an international procurement instrument (IPI). It then revised the proposal in 2015, taking on board some recommendations from Council and Parliament. However, the revised proposal did not advance owing to differences in Member States' positions. In 2019, discussions in Council gained ...

The EU has opened up its public procurement markets to third countries to a large degree, yet many of these countries have not granted the EU comparable access. In 2012, the European Commission tabled a proposal for an international procurement instrument (IPI). It then revised the proposal in 2015, taking on board some recommendations from Council and Parliament. However, the revised proposal did not advance owing to differences in Member States' positions. In 2019, discussions in Council gained new momentum in the context of a changed global trading environment, and growing recognition of the need to take a more strategic stance vis-à-vis China. The IPI would give the EU leverage in negotiating the reciprocal opening of public procurement markets in third countries.

CETA implementation: SMEs and regions in focus

18-11-2019

The majority of provisions of the EU-Canada Comprehensive Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (CETA) have been implemented since 21 September 2017, with the agreement’s provisional application pending full ratification. The aim of this EPRS analysis is to chart the state of play of CETA's ratification procedures, its key objectives, remaining controversies, and the initial results stemming from two years of provisional application, with a focus on regions and small and medium-sized enterprises ...

The majority of provisions of the EU-Canada Comprehensive Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (CETA) have been implemented since 21 September 2017, with the agreement’s provisional application pending full ratification. The aim of this EPRS analysis is to chart the state of play of CETA's ratification procedures, its key objectives, remaining controversies, and the initial results stemming from two years of provisional application, with a focus on regions and small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs). It is important to note that it is too early to evaluate the economic and social impacts of CETA. That will be the remit of the ex-post evaluation usually carried out by the European Commission five years after the start of provisonal application. By providing an overview of the early results of CETA implementation two years in, this analysis seeks to inform forthcoming deliberations on both CETA itself and other free trade agreements between the EU and various partner countries.

EU trade policy: Frequently asked questions

15-10-2019

This paper seeks to serve as a key resource for policy-makers who need to understand complex issues related to international trade quickly. It also outlines the key academic debates and issues, and provides references to further resources that could offer useful support to the work of policy-makers in the European Parliament. It seeks to provide immediate answers to the most commonly asked questions related to EU trade policy: from the evolution and scope of EU common commercial policy to the role ...

This paper seeks to serve as a key resource for policy-makers who need to understand complex issues related to international trade quickly. It also outlines the key academic debates and issues, and provides references to further resources that could offer useful support to the work of policy-makers in the European Parliament. It seeks to provide immediate answers to the most commonly asked questions related to EU trade policy: from the evolution and scope of EU common commercial policy to the role of different EU institutions and the economics of trade. It includes explanations of key trade concepts. In addition, the paper covers the procedures for the conclusion of international trade agreements, types of trade relationship, and the specific characteristics of EU legal instruments in the area of trade. Lastly, it addresses the issues of trade and sustainable development, which have grown into a key area of concern for Parliament.

Using trade policy to tackle climate change

08-10-2019

The recent forest fires in the Amazon highlight the need for greater measures worldwide to attenuate tensions between resource needs, for example mining or grazing, that cause deforestation. European leaders have called for urgent action, including through trade policy. Policy-makers argue, for instance, for leveraging the negotiated European Union (EU)-Mercosur Trade Agreement to achieve compliance with the Paris Agreement. Since the Paris Agreement is binding only in part and aspirational concerning ...

The recent forest fires in the Amazon highlight the need for greater measures worldwide to attenuate tensions between resource needs, for example mining or grazing, that cause deforestation. European leaders have called for urgent action, including through trade policy. Policy-makers argue, for instance, for leveraging the negotiated European Union (EU)-Mercosur Trade Agreement to achieve compliance with the Paris Agreement. Since the Paris Agreement is binding only in part and aspirational concerning national emissions targets, there are calls to resort to trade policy instead.

EU policies – Delivering for citizens: International trade and globalisation

28-06-2019

The European Community was founded on the belief that economic integration leads to peace and economic prosperity. Trade is therefore a fundamental part of the identity of the European Union (EU) today. Given the success of the internal market in fostering the longest period of European peace in modern history, the EU considers itself an example of the benefits of trade, globalisation and economic openness. International trade policy is an exclusive competence of the EU, and with the combined economic ...

The European Community was founded on the belief that economic integration leads to peace and economic prosperity. Trade is therefore a fundamental part of the identity of the European Union (EU) today. Given the success of the internal market in fostering the longest period of European peace in modern history, the EU considers itself an example of the benefits of trade, globalisation and economic openness. International trade policy is an exclusive competence of the EU, and with the combined economic weight of its Member States behind it, the EU is one of the key players in global trade. Yet trade policy is about more than stability and growth for the EU, as it is also used to encourage poor countries to develop, foster international alliances and support fundamental values in the world. A strong partner in the World Trade Organization (WTO), the EU backs an international trading system based on rules rather than might. The benefits of globalisation and international trade have nevertheless been questioned in recent years, including within the EU. This has led it to reinvigorate its trade policy, in particular by presenting a new trade strategy and a reflection paper on harnessing globalisation. The EU's new 'trade for all' strategy addresses criticisms and focuses on making its trade policy more effective, transparent and value-based. In line with this strategy, the EU has pursued ongoing trade negotiations with renewed vigour and launched new trade and investment talks, resulting in state-of-the-art agreements with countries such as Canada and Japan. The EU faces uncertain times due to major shifts in international trade, coming from both the West and the East. In response, it seeks to promote economic openness, standing up for its values and protecting its interests. For example, the EU has retaliated against United States (US) steel tariffs and continues to defend the rules-based international trading order. Contentious trading practices on the part of third countries, including China, have led the EU to modernise its trade defence instruments, prepare a new foreign investment screening mechanism and seek a reform of the WTO. The EU is likely to continue this approach in the coming term, pursuing international cooperation and new agreements, possibly also at a continental level with Africa, and striving to protect its citizens and businesses from economic harm. This is an update of an earlier briefing issued in advance of the 2019 European elections.

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