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International Agreements in Progress - EU–China Comprehensive Agreement on Investment: Levelling the playing field with China

11-09-2020

Lack of reciprocity in access to the Chinese market and the absence of a level playing field for EU investors in China have posed major challenges for EU-China investment relations in recent years, with the negotiation of a comprehensive agreement on investment (CAI) being considered by the EU a key instrument to remedy this state of play. The CAI negotiations are aimed at establishing a uniform legal framework for EU-China investment ties by replacing the 25 outdated bilateral investment treaties ...

Lack of reciprocity in access to the Chinese market and the absence of a level playing field for EU investors in China have posed major challenges for EU-China investment relations in recent years, with the negotiation of a comprehensive agreement on investment (CAI) being considered by the EU a key instrument to remedy this state of play. The CAI negotiations are aimed at establishing a uniform legal framework for EU-China investment ties by replacing the 25 outdated bilateral investment treaties (BITs) China and EU Member States concluded prior to the entry into force of the Lisbon Treaty in 2009 when the EU gained competence for most investment issues. The CAI is intended to go far beyond traditional investment protection to also cover market access, investment-related sustainable development, and level playing field issues, such as transparency of subsidies, and rules on state-owned enterprises (SOEs) and forced technology transfer. Although leaders at the 2019 EU-China Summit jointly committed to concluding the CAI talks in 2020, lack of engagement at the highest political level on the Chinese side has raised doubts as to whether a breakthrough can be reached in time, with China more focused on navigating the uncertainties of its relations with the United States from January 2021. First edition. The 'International Agreements in Progress' briefings are updated at key stages throughout the process, from initial discussions through to ratification.

Forests in south-east Asia: Can they be saved?

11-09-2020

Nowhere in the world are forests shrinking faster than in south-east Asia. Rapid population growth and economic development put intense pressure on the environment. Between 1990 and 2020, an area larger than Germany was deforested, over half of it in Indonesia. Land clearing for agriculture is the main cause of deforestation. Driven by booming global demand, oil palm plantations have spread into formerly forested land, especially in Indonesia and Malaysia, which are the world's largest producers. ...

Nowhere in the world are forests shrinking faster than in south-east Asia. Rapid population growth and economic development put intense pressure on the environment. Between 1990 and 2020, an area larger than Germany was deforested, over half of it in Indonesia. Land clearing for agriculture is the main cause of deforestation. Driven by booming global demand, oil palm plantations have spread into formerly forested land, especially in Indonesia and Malaysia, which are the world's largest producers. Logging, much of it illegal, is also a serious threat to the region's forests. Deforestation destroys the habitats of iconic large mammals such as the orang-utan and tiger, as well as thousands of lesser-known, but still vital, animal and plant species; it also contributes to climate change. Smoke from fires on forested and cleared land causes economic disruption and thousands of premature deaths. Worrying though all this is, there are tentative signs of change. With international encouragement, south-east Asian governments are becoming increasingly aware of the importance of balanced development. Significant efforts are being made to protect forests and to make timber and palm oil production more sustainable. Perhaps reflecting such efforts, the pace of deforestation in most countries has come down slightly since a mid-2010s peak. However, it is too early to say whether this improvement can be sustained. The EU has played a leading role in helping south-east Asian countries to curb deforestation, for example by helping them to tackle illegal logging. It has also revised its biofuels policy to ensure that European demand for palm oil does not exacerbate the problem.

EU-China geographical indications agreement

02-09-2020

On 6 November 2019, the EU and China concluded negotiations on a standalone agreement on cooperation on, and protection of, geographical indications (GIs), i.e. distinctive signs attached to (mainly) agricultural products that have a given quality, reputation or other characteristics that are attributable to their specific geographic origin. GIs are a type of intellectual property right (IPR) protected at multilateral level under the Agreement on Trade-related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights ...

On 6 November 2019, the EU and China concluded negotiations on a standalone agreement on cooperation on, and protection of, geographical indications (GIs), i.e. distinctive signs attached to (mainly) agricultural products that have a given quality, reputation or other characteristics that are attributable to their specific geographic origin. GIs are a type of intellectual property right (IPR) protected at multilateral level under the Agreement on Trade-related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS), and in the EU under a sui generis GI protection regime. The reciprocal EU-China agreement seeks to protect 100 EU GIs in China and 100 Chinese GIs in the EU against imitation and usurpation. On 20 July 2020, the Council endorsed its signature, and the European Parliament has now to give its consent for the agreement's conclusion. Once in force, the agreement could help boost EU exports of high-quality foodstuffs, wines and spirits to the EU's third-largest destination for agrifood exports, and foster rural development. It would also expand global recognition of the EU's sui generis GI protection regime, a key EU trade policy objective.

State of play of existing instruments for combating impunity for international crimes

14-08-2020

The European Union and its Member States have been at the forefront of the fight against impunity for core international crimes, collectively providing political, technical and financial assistance to international, regional and domestic accountability efforts. Focusing on the current EU framework on accountability and six country situations (Rwanda, Colombia, Venezuela, Myanmar, Syria and Iraq), this study offers recommendations to guide future EU policy and the engagement of the European Parliament ...

The European Union and its Member States have been at the forefront of the fight against impunity for core international crimes, collectively providing political, technical and financial assistance to international, regional and domestic accountability efforts. Focusing on the current EU framework on accountability and six country situations (Rwanda, Colombia, Venezuela, Myanmar, Syria and Iraq), this study offers recommendations to guide future EU policy and the engagement of the European Parliament in the fight against impunity. The recommendations include enhancing the capacity, efficiency and coordination of EU institutions working on accountability, as well as encouraging comprehensive, impartial and inclusive approaches to country situations. EU action in bilateral and multilateral fora is also covered, with a view to enhancing the universal reach of accountability mechanisms and the protection of their integrity, encouraging cooperation and assistance, and to upholding the principle of complementarity.

Externí autor

Olympia BEKOU

Korean peninsula: State of play - Further uncertainty follows period of hope

20-07-2020

North Korea and South Korea have been on different paths since World War II. The North has remained isolated and poor, its regime inspired by Soviet structures, with a centrally planned economy. The South, meanwhile, after alternating periods of autocratic and democratic rule, made a clear choice at the end of the 1980s in favour of democracy and a market economy, a choice that has led the country to success in several sectors. North and South Korea are still technically at war, as the military conflict ...

North Korea and South Korea have been on different paths since World War II. The North has remained isolated and poor, its regime inspired by Soviet structures, with a centrally planned economy. The South, meanwhile, after alternating periods of autocratic and democratic rule, made a clear choice at the end of the 1980s in favour of democracy and a market economy, a choice that has led the country to success in several sectors. North and South Korea are still technically at war, as the military conflict of 1950-1953 ended with an armistice that was never followed by a peace treaty. There are 28 500 US (United States) soldiers stationed in South Korea, which signed a Mutual Defence Treaty with Washington in 1953. There have been frequent tensions over the past 70 years, and North Korea has become a de facto nuclear power since the 2000s, prompting international sanctions. Early in 2018 a detente raised hopes of peace. North Korean leader Kim Jong-un met with US President Donald Trump and South Korean President Moon Jae-in, but the summits have led neither to the denuclearisation of the Korean peninsula, nor to the easing of sanctions against the North. Pyongyang's frustration provoked new tensions in the region in June 2020, when the North, in a symbolic move, destroyed the liaison office in the border area, the de facto embassy of the two Koreas. But Kim's options seem limited at present, and there is little chance of progress until after the US presidential elections. Meanwhile, Moon Jae-in has invested much political capital in the Korean peace process, and is willing to make further moves before the end of his mandate in 2022. The EU has traditionally maintained a policy of critical engagement towards North Korea, upholding the international non-proliferation regime and supporting a lasting reduction in tensions on the peninsula. The EU and South Korea are strategic partners. During the 30 June 2020 EU–South Korea summit, the EU reaffirmed its support for Seoul's efforts to engage with the North to achieve peace and prosperity on the peninsula.

Scenarios for geo-politics after coronavirus: A recent Atlantic Council analysis

16-07-2020

The Atlantic Council report, 'What World Post-Covid-19? Three Scenarios', has two main takeaways: first, Chinese-US rivalry could get worse and go global, destabilising an increasingly divided EU and endangering the United States' alliances system in Asia. Second, there is no way around the US, Europe and China cooperating to develop a positive, global 'new normal'.

The Atlantic Council report, 'What World Post-Covid-19? Three Scenarios', has two main takeaways: first, Chinese-US rivalry could get worse and go global, destabilising an increasingly divided EU and endangering the United States' alliances system in Asia. Second, there is no way around the US, Europe and China cooperating to develop a positive, global 'new normal'.

EU development cooperation and ethical certification schemes: impact, transparency and traceability

15-07-2020

‘Transparency’, ‘Traceability’, ‘Sustainable standards’, ‘good agricultural practices’ and ‘zero-deforestation’ are all fine terms which [alongside many others] have emerged in connection with the cocoa sector’s certification process. But does the reality of this process justify using such terms? Our initial conclusions in this study, based on an analysis of existing research over recent years, revealed that a considerable number of investigations had been commissioned by the certification schemes ...

‘Transparency’, ‘Traceability’, ‘Sustainable standards’, ‘good agricultural practices’ and ‘zero-deforestation’ are all fine terms which [alongside many others] have emerged in connection with the cocoa sector’s certification process. But does the reality of this process justify using such terms? Our initial conclusions in this study, based on an analysis of existing research over recent years, revealed that a considerable number of investigations had been commissioned by the certification schemes themselves. Key findings presented by the various studies all conveyed a positive tone. However, on closer inspection we felt that smallholders covered by the programmes were ‘following party lines’ rather than speaking freely. This suspicion was well-founded. Having built up trust in the villages during several years of field-work, we eventually gained access to exclusive data held by the cooperatives and certification programmes. We have used this evidence in order to draw a comparison between the virtual world portrayed by certification schemes’ narrative and the real world being faced by cocoa producers. Certification schemes claim that they give a sense of trust within the value chain, particularly in regard to produce traceability. They also claim to assist farmers, by way of training, various inputs (fertilisers etc.) and credit schemes. In reality, these ‘advantages’ are not visible at farm level. Budgets prepared by cooperatives to justify the use of premiums reflect structural flaws in certification and access to information. Serious questions arise surrounding deforestation, child labour and the payment of premiums. Social investment is minimal and consumers’ perception diverges from the reality. In conclusion, we make a number of key proposals and suggestions based on stakeholders’ complaints and recommendations.

Externí autor

Enrique URIBE LEITZ, François RUF

Climate Change and Migration

15-07-2020

This study, commissioned by the European Parliament’s Policy Department for Citizens’ Rights and Constitutional Affairs at the request of the LIBE Committee, examines legal and policy responses to environmental migration and displacement. Following a review of international, regional and national initiatives and legal instruments, it offers recommendations on ways to better address root causes and consequences of the climate change-migration nexus in Europe and beyond.

This study, commissioned by the European Parliament’s Policy Department for Citizens’ Rights and Constitutional Affairs at the request of the LIBE Committee, examines legal and policy responses to environmental migration and displacement. Following a review of international, regional and national initiatives and legal instruments, it offers recommendations on ways to better address root causes and consequences of the climate change-migration nexus in Europe and beyond.

Externí autor

Albert KRALER, Danube University Krems Caitlin KATSIAFICAS, International Centre for Migration Policy Development Martin WAGNER, International Centre for Migration Policy Development

Assessing the potential impact of an EU-India trade agreement

01-07-2020

The EU and India are major actors in the international arena and the discussions over a possible Free Trade Agreement has been ongoing for several years. This study analyses the potential effects of an FTA between EU and India in a "Cost of Non Europe" perspective. The results of a quantitative simulation of a potential FTA in goods and services indicate that welfare gains from increased trade for both sides may be between € 8 billion and € 8.5 billion (0.03 % increase with respect to the baseline ...

The EU and India are major actors in the international arena and the discussions over a possible Free Trade Agreement has been ongoing for several years. This study analyses the potential effects of an FTA between EU and India in a "Cost of Non Europe" perspective. The results of a quantitative simulation of a potential FTA in goods and services indicate that welfare gains from increased trade for both sides may be between € 8 billion and € 8.5 billion (0.03 % increase with respect to the baseline for the EU and about 0.3 % for India). Furthermore, a qualitative analysis suggests that potential gains may appear from a coordinated EU action in addressing possible side effects, distributive impacts and externalities (such as inequalities, labour market effects, poverty and development implications, environmental issues) and from increased coordination in the provision of global public goods. By considering these aspects, the Cost of Non-Europe in the field may be larger.

Outcome of EU-China video-summit of 22 June 2020

30-06-2020

On 22 June 2020, the EU and China held their 22nd summit by videoconference. It was the occasion for the EU and Chinese leadership to touch upon a wide range of dimensions of the both strategic and challenging bilateral relationship. Topics included trade, climate change, international peace and security, Hong Kong and human rights as well as the response to the coronavirus outbreak. Yet, no joint statement was adopted as further progress would require ‘reciprocity and trust’. China is for the EU ...

On 22 June 2020, the EU and China held their 22nd summit by videoconference. It was the occasion for the EU and Chinese leadership to touch upon a wide range of dimensions of the both strategic and challenging bilateral relationship. Topics included trade, climate change, international peace and security, Hong Kong and human rights as well as the response to the coronavirus outbreak. Yet, no joint statement was adopted as further progress would require ‘reciprocity and trust’. China is for the EU both a partner committed to multilateralism, on which it nevertheless pursues in its own path, and a competitor, using assertively different economic and trade tools such as state subsidies or foreign direct investments to gain market share.

Chystané akce

28-09-2020
Seventh meeting of the Joint Parliamentary Scrutiny Group (JPSG) on Europol
Další akce -
LIBE
29-09-2020
EPRS online Book Talk | Working for Obama and Clinton on Europe [...]
Další akce -
EPRS
30-09-2020
EPRS online policy roundtable: Plastics and the circular economy
Další akce -
EPRS

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