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International Agreements in Progress: EU-Vietnam trade and investment agreements

14-11-2019

The European Commission has described the free trade and investment protection agreements (FTA/IPA) signed with Vietnam as the most ambitious deals of their type ever concluded by the EU and a developing country. Not only will they eliminate over 99 % of customs duties on goods, they will also open up Vietnamese markets to European service providers and investors. According to European Commission figures, the agreements will boost trade in both directions, with EU exports set to rise by nearly 30 ...

The European Commission has described the free trade and investment protection agreements (FTA/IPA) signed with Vietnam as the most ambitious deals of their type ever concluded by the EU and a developing country. Not only will they eliminate over 99 % of customs duties on goods, they will also open up Vietnamese markets to European service providers and investors. According to European Commission figures, the agreements will boost trade in both directions, with EU exports set to rise by nearly 30 %. Vietnam is the second south-east Asian country after Singapore to sign trade and investment agreements with the EU, bringing the long-term goal of a region-to-region EU-ASEAN trade deal a step closer. In view of the human rights situation in Vietnam, opinions are divided on whether the agreements should be ratified. Critics argue that the EU should not approve the agreements until the situation improves. On the other hand, defenders point out that the FTA/IPA include commitments to stronger human rights (such as allowing independent trade unions); they also insist that the EU can best help to bring about improvements by engaging with Vietnam . Following the same approach as for Singapore, the single text originally agreed in 2015 with Vietnam has been split into two parts, an FTA covering exclusive EU competences and an IPA that includes competences that are shared with EU Member States. The European Parliament is set to vote in February 2020; if it gives its consent, the two agreements will then have to be ratified by Vietnam and (for the IPA) the EU Member States before entering into force.

EU-Cuba relations: a new chapter begins

18-07-2017

The Political Dialogue and Cooperation Agreement (PDCA) between the EU and Cuba, endorsed by the European Parliament (EP) on 5 July 2017, opens a new phase in EU-Cuba relations. Until now Cuba was the only country in Latin America without a cooperation or political dialogue agreement with the EU. The PDCA creates a framework for political dialogue and closer bilateral cooperation, including in trade. The parts of the agreement (mostly related to cooperation and trade issues) that fall within EU competence ...

The Political Dialogue and Cooperation Agreement (PDCA) between the EU and Cuba, endorsed by the European Parliament (EP) on 5 July 2017, opens a new phase in EU-Cuba relations. Until now Cuba was the only country in Latin America without a cooperation or political dialogue agreement with the EU. The PDCA creates a framework for political dialogue and closer bilateral cooperation, including in trade. The parts of the agreement (mostly related to cooperation and trade issues) that fall within EU competence can already be applied provisionally, but the agreement will only enter into force in full after it has been ratified in all the EU Member States. Since negotiations on the PDCA began in 2014, Cuba’s relations with the EU and individual Member States have intensified considerably. For the EU, the PDCA is a tool for supporting a process of change and modernisation in Cuba, while for Cuba it represents the ‘normalisation’ of the relationship with an important economic and trade partner and helps it to diversify its external relations. Parliament will focus, in monitoring the implementation of the PDCA, on two areas of particular concern to the EP: human rights and civil liberties on Cuba, and the role of Cuban civil society.

The 2016 Elections in the United States: Effects on the EU-US Relationship

17-01-2017

Despite (or because of) Donald Trump’s various campaign statements, it is hard to predict confidently what path his administration will take in a wide range of foreign-policy areas. It is however possible to identify key issues and challenges in EU-US relations during his presidency. This briefing provides an overview of issues where US policy may change sharply during the next four years and what this may mean for the EU. Less interventionism, less commitment to NATO and a retreat from trade liberalization ...

Despite (or because of) Donald Trump’s various campaign statements, it is hard to predict confidently what path his administration will take in a wide range of foreign-policy areas. It is however possible to identify key issues and challenges in EU-US relations during his presidency. This briefing provides an overview of issues where US policy may change sharply during the next four years and what this may mean for the EU. Less interventionism, less commitment to NATO and a retreat from trade liberalization could be central to Trump’s presidency. Transatlantic relations would be affected by US actions such as rapprochement with Russia and a softer line on the Ukraine conflict, alignment with Assad and Putin in Syria, extreme counterterrorism measures, abandoning the Iran nuclear deal, and unconditional support for Israel. Confrontation with China over trade and regional security, and reversal of environmental policies will also have repercussions for the EU. In order to mitigate all these risks, the EU must at least entrench existing cooperation with the US before trying to enhance it. It can The do so by reaffirming European unity and solving threats to its integration, by becoming a better security “producer” and by “thickening” interparliamentary exchanges.

Autor externo

Nicolas BOUCHET (The German Marshall Fund of the United States, USA)

An EU Strategy for Relations with Iran after the Nuclear Deal

23-06-2016

This report outlines the potential for a more structured and strategic relationship between the European Union and the Islamic Republic of Iran following the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA). To both address areas of disagreement and complaints, as well as pursue common interests and matters of mutual benefit, the EU needs to put in place an institutional framework that can withstand the various setbacks that have, to date, derailed all previous efforts of political dialogue. There are ...

This report outlines the potential for a more structured and strategic relationship between the European Union and the Islamic Republic of Iran following the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA). To both address areas of disagreement and complaints, as well as pursue common interests and matters of mutual benefit, the EU needs to put in place an institutional framework that can withstand the various setbacks that have, to date, derailed all previous efforts of political dialogue. There are a number of areas where both actors can benefit from cooperation; trade, environmental and sustainability issues, education, and combatting drug trade. Even when pursuing more contentious issues such as human rights, having a strategic and fully-fledged multilevel relationship will be helpful. There are also a number of political crisis in the region (ISIS, migration) where reaching a solution without Iranian involvement will either be unnecessarily costly or near impossible.

Autor externo

Rouzbeh PARSI (European Iran Research Group, Lund University, Sweden)

The World Bank: Serving ambitious goals, but in need of reform

21-04-2016

The International Bank for Reconstruction and Development, nowadays known as the World Bank, was conceived to help rebuild European countries devastated by the Second World War. Since then, through various reforms, its mission has evolved and its scope and staff increased significantly. Nowadays, the World Bank Group consists of five institutions (IBRD, IDA, IFC, MIGA and ICSID), each with a particular mode of organisation and a specific scope and mission. The institution and its role have evolved ...

The International Bank for Reconstruction and Development, nowadays known as the World Bank, was conceived to help rebuild European countries devastated by the Second World War. Since then, through various reforms, its mission has evolved and its scope and staff increased significantly. Nowadays, the World Bank Group consists of five institutions (IBRD, IDA, IFC, MIGA and ICSID), each with a particular mode of organisation and a specific scope and mission. The institution and its role have evolved significantly since its inception in 1944, most recently with its 2013 strategy, although the main reasons behind its existence remain. The five institutions that form the World Bank Group have slightly different memberships, along with boards of governors and boards of directors. Commentators have presented arguments in favour of the Bank, as well as many criticisms and concerns with regard to its work. In particular, criticisms concerns issues such as smaller countries being inadequately represented, and some of the Bank's models being too conservative and in need of updating to take into consideration the evolution of today's world economy. Furthermore, critics say the Bank should engage meaningfully with the international human rights framework and assist its member countries in complying with their own human-rights obligations; and despite positive results from some of the Bank's programmes, these have also had negative spill-overs in the countries concerned.

Proceedings of the Workshop on "Trade and Economic Relations with Asia"

07-03-2016

This publication consists of the proceedings and of three studies which were presented during the workshop on trade and economic relations with Asia: - Asia as a new global engine: foreign trade and regional cooperation ; - EU external trade strategy vis-à-vis Asia ; - Implementation of the EU-Republic of Korea FTA.

This publication consists of the proceedings and of three studies which were presented during the workshop on trade and economic relations with Asia: - Asia as a new global engine: foreign trade and regional cooperation ; - EU external trade strategy vis-à-vis Asia ; - Implementation of the EU-Republic of Korea FTA.

Autor externo

Alessia AMIGHINI, Elisa BORGHI, Rodolfo HELG and Lucia TAJOLI

China’s Foreign Policy and External Relations

07-07-2015

This study provides an overview of China’s current approach to foreign policy and external relations. It focuses more particularly on the role and actions of China in global governance, its territorial claims and relations with countries in Asia, and its emergence as an important actor in Central and Eastern Europe as well as in the EU’s Eastern Neighbourhood. It assesses the implications for the EU and makes recommendations on how the EU should deepen its strategic partnership with China. The study ...

This study provides an overview of China’s current approach to foreign policy and external relations. It focuses more particularly on the role and actions of China in global governance, its territorial claims and relations with countries in Asia, and its emergence as an important actor in Central and Eastern Europe as well as in the EU’s Eastern Neighbourhood. It assesses the implications for the EU and makes recommendations on how the EU should deepen its strategic partnership with China. The study argues that China has not made a unilateral and exclusive turn towards assertiveness in its foreign policy. China’s foreign policy assertiveness represents a policy choice that should be understood in the broader context of its external relations, which is one of uncertainty. Both the impact of China’s emergence in international affairs and the use China intends to make of its power and influence remain uncertain. This uncertainty is explained by the interdependence between a number of international and domestic factors as well as by the absence of a grand strategy. The uncertainty in China’s foreign policy opens avenues for the EU to influence China and further deepen the scope of the EU-China Strategic Partnership.

Trade and economic relations with China 2015

23-06-2015

The EU's trade and economic relations with China, the global leader in trade, are generally good, and the number of disputes reasonable. Yet the EU is dissatisfied with China's reluctance to fully implement its commitments to the World Trade Organisation (WTO) and, more generally, with its protectionist measures, which often hurt EU interests. For its part, Beijing is still dissatisfied with the EU's refusal to grant the country 'market economy' status and with other measures it believes limit China's ...

The EU's trade and economic relations with China, the global leader in trade, are generally good, and the number of disputes reasonable. Yet the EU is dissatisfied with China's reluctance to fully implement its commitments to the World Trade Organisation (WTO) and, more generally, with its protectionist measures, which often hurt EU interests. For its part, Beijing is still dissatisfied with the EU's refusal to grant the country 'market economy' status and with other measures it believes limit China's access to the Single Market. Negotiations for an EU-China partnership and cooperation agreement, initiated in 2007, have yet to be concluded. In January 2014, China and the EU held the first round of negotiations for a bilateral investment agreement. Negotiations are progressing steadily but their end is not in sight. More recently, Beijing has suggested opening talks for an EU-China FTA, but Europe’s reaction has been lukewarm.

Pakistan and China: 'Iron Brothers' Forever?

18-06-2015

The Islamic Republic of Pakistan and the People's Republic of China have enjoyed long-lasting and friendly ties – despite their ideological differences, evident in their very names. The two share far more than a 520 kilometre border, as underscored by the April 2015 visit of Chinese President Xi Jinping to Pakistan. On that trip – his first trip abroad in 2015 – Xi announced a EUR 41.30-billion commitment to building a multi-faceted network called the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC). The ...

The Islamic Republic of Pakistan and the People's Republic of China have enjoyed long-lasting and friendly ties – despite their ideological differences, evident in their very names. The two share far more than a 520 kilometre border, as underscored by the April 2015 visit of Chinese President Xi Jinping to Pakistan. On that trip – his first trip abroad in 2015 – Xi announced a EUR 41.30-billion commitment to building a multi-faceted network called the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC). The CPEC can be understood as part of China's 'pivot to Asia' and plays a role in Beijing's broader 'One Belt One Road' initiative. If completed, the CPEC has the potential to fundamentally alter South Asia's economy and geopolitics.

Evaluation of the EU-India Strategic Partnership and the Potential for its Revitalisation

18-06-2015

The EU-India strategic partnership has lost momentum. Bilateral ties are not receiving sufficient priority from both sides. Economics remains at the core of this relationship. Since negotiations on the Broad-based Trade and Investment Agreement (BTIA) may take time to be concluded, EU-India ties should not be held hostage to developments at BTIA level. On defence and security matters, India deals with EU Member States directly and has a good framework for cooperation with major European powers. The ...

The EU-India strategic partnership has lost momentum. Bilateral ties are not receiving sufficient priority from both sides. Economics remains at the core of this relationship. Since negotiations on the Broad-based Trade and Investment Agreement (BTIA) may take time to be concluded, EU-India ties should not be held hostage to developments at BTIA level. On defence and security matters, India deals with EU Member States directly and has a good framework for cooperation with major European powers. The recent Indian decision to buy Rafale jets from France will also have long-term implications for EU-India links. Unlike its partnerships with the US and Russia, India has yet to discover the relevance of EU-India relations within evolving Asian security and economic architecture. Growing Indo-American relations and the close transatlantic partnership could provide new opportunities to work together. Collaboration in research and innovation has expanded significantly and dialogues on global governance, energy, counter-terrorism, migration and mobility as well as human rights all show great potential. New dialogues could be initiated on Afghanistan, maritime security, development cooperation and the Middle-East. Indian engagement in resolving the Ukraine crisis could be explored.

Autor externo

Gulshan SACHDEVA (Centre for European Studies, School of International Studies, Jawaharlal Nehru University, India)

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