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Following the withdrawal of the United Kingdom (UK) from the European Union (EU) on 1 February 2020, the EU and the UK launched negotiations on a new partnership agreement, to come into effect at the end of the transition period, scheduled for 31 December 2020. The negotiations are intended to address nearly all the domains covered in the Political Declaration negotiated by both parties alongside the Withdrawal Agreement, including trade and economics, fisheries, thematic cooperation, and internal ...

Sustainable development is an important part of the EU trade policy since it gets on meeting the needs of the present whilst ensuring future generations can meet their own needs. All EU FTAs include a Trade and Sustainable Development (TSD) chapter, which seeks to ensure that partners follow international requirements in the three pillars that compose sustainable development: economic, environmental and social. The adoption of the UN Agenda 2030 in 2015, which sets 17 Sustainable Development Goals ...

Free and fair trade for all?

Analiză aprofundată 21-11-2017

With its strategy paper entitled ‘Trade for all’ in 2015, the Commission launched an EU trade policy that focussed on values such as human rights, workers’ rights, environmental protection and sustainable development. The idea was that free trade should be fair for both consumers in Europe and for citizens elsewhere. This approach was pursued in bilateral trade negotiations and in legislative proposals on, for example, conflict minerals, dual-use goods or the investment court system. But by the end ...

The European Union’s GSP+ scheme provides trade concessions to beneficiary countries and obliges them to ratify and effectively implement key international conventions on human rights and labour rights. The sectoral gains of GSP+ have thus far been concentrated on exports of apparel, textiles and processed fish. Such sectors are often located in Export Processing Zones (EPZs) where the governance of labour rights may differ from the rest of the country and fall below international legal standards ...

After the 2013 Rana Plaza garment factory tragedy in Bangladesh, the European Commission pledged to table an EU-wide flagship initiative to boost responsible management of the garment industry. To date, this initiative has yet to be launched. A motion for a Parliament resolution, due to be voted at the April II part-session, calls on the Commission to put forward a legislative proposal and focuses, among other things, on introducing mandatory due diligence for the supply chains in the industry.

This study reviews the progress of implementation of the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights (UNGPs) in non-EU countries, five years after their unanimous adoption by the United Nations Human Rights Council in 2011. Much progress has already been achieved, with i.a. relevant key international standards like OECD Guidelines for Multinational Enterprises becoming aligned with the UNGPs, new tools being developed to provide guidance to governments and stakeholders and a basis being set ...

TTIP and Labour Standards

Studiu 14-06-2016

The Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) will follow EU and US recent trade policy practice to include labour provisions. These could limit the risk that liberalisation results in social dumping and promote upward change. This Policy Department A study concludes that the EU could take a precautionary stance and employ various instruments that increase the chances that TTIP will have positive social consequences. TTIP may combine the strengths of the EU and US approaches to labour ...

Although negotiations on Economic Partnership Agreements (EPAs) were launched with seven regions in 2002 – with the expectation that they would be concluded within five years – only one full EPA was in force by March 2015: the agreement between the EU and the Caribbean Forum (CARIFORUM). A few interim EPAs are being implemented, including one for Eastern and Southern Africa. This briefing compares the principal provisions on social and environmental standards in the EPA with West Africa to the provisions ...

On 1 March and 1 August 2013 respectively, the EU’s trade agreements (TAs) with Peru and Colombia entered into force, one year after the US trade promotion agreement (TPA) with Colombia and four years after the US TPA with Peru. They are all second-generation free trade agreements, focused not only on removing tariffs on goods but also on liberalising services, public procurement and investment. While it is too early to verify the effects of these agreements, three years of statistics on bilateral ...

Contemporary slavery is the exercise of the powers attaching to the right of ownership-control over a person by another su ch as a person might control a thing. There are an estimated 30 million slaves in the world today, including 1.1 million sslaves in Eu rope. Recognizing that human trafficking is not in itself slavery, but rather a mechanism or conduit that brings a minority of the world’s ens laved peopl e into slaverry, the EU should shift its focus very clearly from trafficking to slavery. ...