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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 ...

Government procurement forms an important part of national economies. The EU has opened up its public procurement markets to third countries to a large degree, while many other economies have had limited appetite to liberalise market access. In 2012, the European Commission tabled a proposal for an international procurement instrument (IPI). The IPI would give the EU leverage in negotiating the reciprocal opening of public procurement markets in third countries. The Commission revised the proposal ...

The coronavirus pandemic has rekindled the global debate on whether the multilateral trade regime for intellectual property rights (IPR) protection limits access to essential medical products. Despite embedded flexibilities in the World Trade Organization (WTO) Agreement on Trade-related Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS), India and South Africa, co-sponsored by a large number of developing countries, submitted an initial proposal for a temporary waiver in response to Covid-19 in October 2020, ...

International trade influences biodiversity through scale, composition and technique effects. Land and sea use change alter natural habitats, while emissions from production and transportation contribute to climate change. Among exports, animal-based agri-food products are particularly land-intensive. Trade policy can play a role in tackling these problems through stronger enforcement of biodiversity-related provisions in trade agreements. The EU Biodiversity Strategy 2030 commits to better assessing ...

When disputes arise in international trade, they can be settled with binding rulings under international trade or investment agreements. For World Trade Organization (WTO) agreements, members can launch such disputes through the two-step WTO dispute settlement mechanism. The European Union (EU) also includes similar dispute settlement provisions in its trade agreements. The United States' blockage of appointments to the WTO Appellate Body, the highest instance of the WTO dispute settlement, plunged ...

The European Green Deal aims to make the European Union climate-neutral by 2050, a target supported by all EU institutions. With this objective, the EU takes a leading role in addressing the global climate emergency. Achieving the climate-neutrality goal requires massive investment and an unprecedented transformation of all sectors of the economy. This study explains the physical basis of climate change and highlights its expected impacts on the EU. To give an overview of EU and international climate ...

Supply chains are increasingly international, but many of EU's trade partners fail to meet both the labour standards of the International Labour Organization (ILO) and international human rights norms. EU trade policy is designed to ensure that economic development complies with World Trade Organization (WTO) rules, while upholding human rights and high labour standards. WTO rules require members to comply with a set of basic free trading principles, in particular national treatment and most-favoured ...

This EPRS publication seeks to provide an analytical overview of the Trade and Cooperation Agreement (TCA) between the European Union (EU) and the United Kingdom (UK), which was agreed between the two parties on 24 December and signed by them on 30 December 2020, and has been provisionally applied since 1 January 2021. The European Parliament is currently considering the Agreement with a view to voting on giving its consent to conclusion by the Council on behalf of the Union. The paper analyses many ...

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 ...

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 ...