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State of play of EU-Australia FTA talks

02-12-2020

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.

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.

State of play of EU–New Zealand FTA talks

12-11-2020

Negotiations on an EU free trade agreement (FTA) with New Zealand, one of the fastest-growing developed economies in the world, were launched in June 2018. Eight negotiating rounds took place between July 2018 and June 2020, resulting in the closure of the Transparency Chapter of the future FTA. The next round will be scheduled with the New Zealand government following the general elections held on 17 October 2020.

Negotiations on an EU free trade agreement (FTA) with New Zealand, one of the fastest-growing developed economies in the world, were launched in June 2018. Eight negotiating rounds took place between July 2018 and June 2020, resulting in the closure of the Transparency Chapter of the future FTA. The next round will be scheduled with the New Zealand government following the general elections held on 17 October 2020.

Trade negotiations between the EU and ASEAN member states

11-11-2020

In 2017, the European Union–Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) dialogue partnership celebrated its 40th anniversary. The same year saw the 50th anniversary of the founding of ASEAN. The ASEAN region is currently the world's fifth largest economy, a dynamic economic area home to more than 660 million consumers. To ensure better access to opportunities in the region's market, the European Union (EU) started negotiations with ASEAN for a region-to-region free trade agreement (FTA) in 2007 ...

In 2017, the European Union–Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) dialogue partnership celebrated its 40th anniversary. The same year saw the 50th anniversary of the founding of ASEAN. The ASEAN region is currently the world's fifth largest economy, a dynamic economic area home to more than 660 million consumers. To ensure better access to opportunities in the region's market, the European Union (EU) started negotiations with ASEAN for a region-to-region free trade agreement (FTA) in 2007. After negotiations were suspended in 2009, the EU decided to pursue bilateral trade agreements with the individual ASEAN member states. To date, six have begun talks on bilateral FTAs with the EU: Singapore and Malaysia in 2010; Vietnam in 2012; Thailand in 2013; the Philippines in 2015; and Indonesia in 2016. Negotiations have already been concluded and FTAs entered into force with two of these countries, Singapore and Vietnam, in November 2019 and August 2020, respectively. Negotiations are under way with Indonesia, while talks are currently on hold with Malaysia, the Philippines and Thailand. In the longer term, these bilateral FTAs would allow the establishment of a region-to-region FTA, which remains the EU's ultimate ambition. By bringing together two of the world's largest economic areas, the agreement would establish a free trade area with a combined market of more than 1 billion people. It is in the EU's interest to strengthen its economic cooperation with ASEAN, in order to maintain its competitive position in this dynamically developing region. Closer trade and investment relations could also pave the way towards the EU's goal of a strategic partnership between the two regional blocs, encompassing political as well as economic cooperation.

The Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN): The EU's partner in Asia?

11-11-2020

Founded in 1967, the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) is often compared with the EU. Both organisations brought together former adversaries and successfully resolved tensions through cooperation, helping to bring peace and prosperity to their regions. However, the EU and ASEAN operate in very different ways. ASEAN is a strictly intergovernmental organisation in which decisions are based on consensus. While this approach has made it difficult for south-east Asian countries to achieve ...

Founded in 1967, the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) is often compared with the EU. Both organisations brought together former adversaries and successfully resolved tensions through cooperation, helping to bring peace and prosperity to their regions. However, the EU and ASEAN operate in very different ways. ASEAN is a strictly intergovernmental organisation in which decisions are based on consensus. While this approach has made it difficult for south-east Asian countries to achieve the same level of integration as the EU, it has also enabled ASEAN to accommodate huge disparities among its 10 member states. In 2003, south-east Asian leaders decided to take cooperation to another level by setting up an ASEAN Community. To this end, they adopted a charter in 2007, though without fundamentally changing the nature of the organisation's decision-making or giving it stronger institutions. The community has three pillars: political-security, economic, and socio-cultural. ASEAN's impact has been uneven. Barring the contentious South China Sea issue, ASEAN has become an effective platform for cooperation between its member states and the wider Asia-Pacific region, and promoted economic integration, even if the goal of an EU-style single market is a long way off. On the other hand, ASEAN is still perceived as an elite project that has little impact on the daily lives of south-east Asians. EU-ASEAN relations span four decades and have steadily deepened, building on common values as well as booming trade and investment. Both sides have expressed their ambition to upgrade to a strategic partnership.

EU-India: Trade prospects

12-10-2020

The EU-India Summit held in July 2020 agreed to establish a regular high-level dialogue at ministerial level on bilateral trade and investment relations. In this way, the EU and India expressed a clear political will to work together to overcome issues that have hampered their trade relations in recent years and impeded advances towards a bilateral trade and investment agreement – where negotiations have been stalled since 2013 – and achievement of the potential of economic relations between the ...

The EU-India Summit held in July 2020 agreed to establish a regular high-level dialogue at ministerial level on bilateral trade and investment relations. In this way, the EU and India expressed a clear political will to work together to overcome issues that have hampered their trade relations in recent years and impeded advances towards a bilateral trade and investment agreement – where negotiations have been stalled since 2013 – and achievement of the potential of economic relations between the world's two biggest democracies.

Future EU-UK trade relationship: Rules of origin

03-04-2020

The United Kingdom (UK) withdrew from the European Union (EU) on 1 February 2020, and moved into the agreed transition period, running until 31 December 2020. The EU and UK have launched negotiations towards a free trade agreement (FTA) that will shape their future trade relationship. Both parties expressed a preference for reducing 'trade frictions' to the extent possible, and rules of origin will play a role in that regard. Rules of origin (RoO) are provisions in FTAs that govern the conditions ...

The United Kingdom (UK) withdrew from the European Union (EU) on 1 February 2020, and moved into the agreed transition period, running until 31 December 2020. The EU and UK have launched negotiations towards a free trade agreement (FTA) that will shape their future trade relationship. Both parties expressed a preference for reducing 'trade frictions' to the extent possible, and rules of origin will play a role in that regard. Rules of origin (RoO) are provisions in FTAs that govern the conditions under which an imported good is recognised to 'originate' from the FTA partner country and becomes eligible for preferential trade. These conditions are restrictive – implying trade 'frictions' – to various degrees and designed product-by-product, following operation- and/or value creation-based rules. Importantly, the EU's RoO admit the 'cumulation' of preferential origin across other existing FTAs signed by both parties. As RoO thus create incentives for manufacturers to allocate production and sourcing across countries, they are an important trade instrument. The European Commission and European Parliament favour RoO provisions in the EU-UK FTA that are consistent with the EU template and protect the EU's interest; the UK government has declared that it is seeking 'appropriate and modern' RoO, providing for cumulation across common FTA partners. The EU and UK positions therefore converge in favour of unrestrictive RoO. Nevertheless, the geographical distance between the EU and UK is short and the resulting shipping costs low. In this context, should the UK unilaterally lower its production costs after the transition period – through, for instance, lower labour and environmental standards, and State aid – less restrictive RoO will provide manufacturers with incentives to increase the UK share in the production chain, penalising the EU. This explains the call in the Political Declaration for frictionless trade 'and' the alignment of standards. Indeed, protecting EU interests implies that RoO are likely to be restrictive, unless the UK commits to aligning standards.

Future EU-UK trade relationship

20-02-2020

The withdrawal of the United Kingdom (UK) from the European Union (EU) came into effect on 1 February 2020, following the large majority gained by the Conservative Party, led by Boris Johnson, in the UK general election in December 2019. The transition period began on the same day and is due to run until the end of 2020. During this period, although no longer part of the EU institutions, the UK remains in the customs union and single market, and within the jurisdiction of the Court of Justice of ...

The withdrawal of the United Kingdom (UK) from the European Union (EU) came into effect on 1 February 2020, following the large majority gained by the Conservative Party, led by Boris Johnson, in the UK general election in December 2019. The transition period began on the same day and is due to run until the end of 2020. During this period, although no longer part of the EU institutions, the UK remains in the customs union and single market, and within the jurisdiction of the Court of Justice of the EU (with some exceptions). Negotiations during the transition period are aimed at reaching agreements that will shape the future EU-UK relationship in a range of domains, and especially that of trade. In the Political Declaration accompanying the Withdrawal Agreement, the EU and the UK 'agree to develop an ambitious, wide-ranging and balanced economic partnership'. However, some major obstacles have surfaced. The UK insists that it is unwilling to submit to EU Court of Justice jurisdiction, and demands autonomy in its regulatory and trade policies. The UK indicates that it seeks a free trade agreement similar to that agreed between the EU and Canada: comprehensive, but very different to the previous relationship. The EU has taken note of the UK objectives, but emphasises that the deeper the trade agreement, the more UK regulations and standards must align with those of the EU. To the EU, alignment is essential to preserve a level playing field, on the grounds that the EU and UK are close neighbouring economies and strongly interconnected. The European Commission's 3 February 2020 recommendation for a Council decision authorising the opening of negotiations on the future relationship confirms this approach. In this context, time is critical. The Withdrawal Agreement allows for an extension to the transition period, but the UK Withdrawal Act explicitly prohibits extension. In addition, to allow for ratification, the trade agreement should be ready well ahead of the end of the transition period. The Commission recommendation insists on including fisheries (a highly sensitive area of negotiation), in the new economic partnership and that related provisions should be established by 1 July 2020. Time-constrained negotiation may give rise to a limited economic and trade agreement that covers only priority areas, rather than the ambitious single comprehensive agreement sought under the Political Declaration and Commission recommendation.