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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.

Trade and competitiveness policies in the European Council

10-03-2020

In recent years, international trade has gained increasing visibility on the European Council agenda. A high level of economic interconnectedness and the ineluctable rise of emerging economies on the world stage, notably China, have highlighted differences across economic systems and divergences over the impact of certain policies and practices in the global economy. Moreover, the United States administration's pursuit of an 'America first' foreign policy has been accompanied by a trade policy aimed ...

In recent years, international trade has gained increasing visibility on the European Council agenda. A high level of economic interconnectedness and the ineluctable rise of emerging economies on the world stage, notably China, have highlighted differences across economic systems and divergences over the impact of certain policies and practices in the global economy. Moreover, the United States administration's pursuit of an 'America first' foreign policy has been accompanied by a trade policy aimed primarily at reducing trade deficits with partners. The existential threat which the World Trade Organization now faces, as the core of the multilateral trading system, has compounded growing trade tensions and translated into a highly unstable global environment. The European Council has reacted to these developments promptly, with the last three years seeing the adoption of measures to strengthen the European Union's capacity to address such challenges. It has placed high emphasis on the need for the EU to be able to defend itself against unfair trade practices, through strengthened defence instruments, greater surveillance of foreign direct investment, and broader access to public procurement markets abroad. The objectives set out in its Strategic Agenda for 2019-24 reflect a need for a more assertive and united European Union on the global stage, able to tackle the technological and environmental challenges of the coming decade.

What if we could fight coronavirus with artificial intelligence?

10-03-2020

Αs coronavirus spreads, raising fears of a worldwide pandemic, international organisations and scientists are using artificial intelligence to track the epidemic in real-time, effectively predict where the virus might appear next and develop effective responses. Its multifaceted applications in the frame of this public health emergency raise questions about the legal and ethical soundness of its implementation.

Αs coronavirus spreads, raising fears of a worldwide pandemic, international organisations and scientists are using artificial intelligence to track the epidemic in real-time, effectively predict where the virus might appear next and develop effective responses. Its multifaceted applications in the frame of this public health emergency raise questions about the legal and ethical soundness of its implementation.

Balancing Integration and Autonomy. How EFTA countries reconcile EU-approximation and independence

27-02-2020

In 2020, the European Free Trade Association (EFTA) celebrates its 60th anniversary. During this respectable lifetime, its composition has frequently changed, starting with seven founding members in 1960 and having four today. EFTA has turned out to be an ‘antechamber’ for the EU, as well as a distinct organisation with its own purpose. Since the foundation of the European Economic Area (EEA) in 1992, EFTA states Norway, Iceland and Liechtenstein have joined this area, whereas Switzerland has chosen ...

In 2020, the European Free Trade Association (EFTA) celebrates its 60th anniversary. During this respectable lifetime, its composition has frequently changed, starting with seven founding members in 1960 and having four today. EFTA has turned out to be an ‘antechamber’ for the EU, as well as a distinct organisation with its own purpose. Since the foundation of the European Economic Area (EEA) in 1992, EFTA states Norway, Iceland and Liechtenstein have joined this area, whereas Switzerland has chosen a relationship with the EU based on a number of bilateral agreements. These four EFTA states have in common that they perform a delicate and dynamic balancing act between integration into the EU and preservation of their own autonomy. Reasons for the strong desire for autonomy can partly be found in geographic or historic factors, but these cannot explain their position entirely, as existing EU Member States may also have such particularities. That all EFTA countries have a strong economy based on specific sets of natural resources and/or financial legislation, certainly is another element that explains the desire to keep matters in their own hands as far as possible. Strong consensus oriented democratic systems with components of direct democracy complete the picture. External events, such as the creation of the Internal Market, EU enlargement or the 2008 financial crisis have regularly challenged the balance EFTA countries have built with the EU. Even though they have led to initiatives to integrate closer with the EU or apply for membership, in the end such steps have not been completed. Whereas the UK is an important partner of all EFTA countries, mostly of Norway, its withdrawal from the EU has created another challenge to the balance. In a larger perspective, balancing autonomy and integration is not unique to EFTA countries, but happens also within the EU in the form of opt outs or arrangements for enhanced cooperation. And in view of a large number of countries aspiring for future EU membership, concepts such as flexible arrangements or associate memberships are not likely to disappear from the EU agenda.

Australia: Economic indicators and trade with EU

24-02-2020

Australia was the world's 13th largest economy in 2018, with growth in gross domestic product (GDP) at 2.9 %. It has a strong and dynamic relationship with the EU. Negotiations for a free trade agreement between Australia and the EU were formally launched in June 2018. In 2018, Australia was the EU's 19th largest trading partner, with a 1.2% share of the EU's total trade. Further information on EU-Australia trade relations, such as the composition of trade between the two partners, can be found in ...

Australia was the world's 13th largest economy in 2018, with growth in gross domestic product (GDP) at 2.9 %. It has a strong and dynamic relationship with the EU. Negotiations for a free trade agreement between Australia and the EU were formally launched in June 2018. In 2018, Australia was the EU's 19th largest trading partner, with a 1.2% share of the EU's total trade. Further information on EU-Australia trade relations, such as the composition of trade between the two partners, can be found in this infographic, which also provides an economic snapshot of Australia.

UK: Economic indicators and trade with EU

21-02-2020

The UK withdrew from the European Union on 31 January 2020. From 1 February, it is a third country and therefore considered as such in this publication. The trade figures shown concern a period in which the UK was an EU Member State, whereas the future picture could vary significantly depending on the outcome of trade negotiations between the EU and the UK.

The UK withdrew from the European Union on 31 January 2020. From 1 February, it is a third country and therefore considered as such in this publication. The trade figures shown concern a period in which the UK was an EU Member State, whereas the future picture could vary significantly depending on the outcome of trade negotiations between the EU and the UK.

Ekstern forfatter

Olga Griaznova, Globalstat, EUI

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.

Public economic support in the EU: State aid and special economic zones

06-02-2020

State aid can be defined as an advantage given by a government that may provide a company with an unfair competitive edge over its commercial rivals. State aid can take several forms, such as public subsidies, tax relief, or the purchasing of goods and services on preferential terms. While the European Union (EU) competition rules consider State aid to be incompatible with the internal market, they allow such aid when it promotes general economic development, for example, when tackling the challenges ...

State aid can be defined as an advantage given by a government that may provide a company with an unfair competitive edge over its commercial rivals. State aid can take several forms, such as public subsidies, tax relief, or the purchasing of goods and services on preferential terms. While the European Union (EU) competition rules consider State aid to be incompatible with the internal market, they allow such aid when it promotes general economic development, for example, when tackling the challenges of global competition, the ongoing financial crisis, the digital revolution, and demographic change. To this end, all EU Member States provide some public economic support, for instance, to the coal mining sector, banks, or the digital economy. To contribute to regional development and to increase competitiveness, some Member States have created special economic zones (SEZs), which offer an attractive combination of tax-and-tariff incentives, streamlined customs procedures, less laws, provision of infrastructure, and creation of business clusters. The European Commission is currently evaluating the State aid modernisation (SAM) package and some of its related laws, as these will expire by the end of 2020. The European Parliament takes a two fold stance towards public economic support in the EU. On the one hand, Parliament stresses that State aid should support ecological transformation and foster the development of services, knowledge, and infrastructure rather than providing support to specific companies. On the other hand, it calls on the Commission to ensure that State aid is reduced in the long term, given its distortive effects on the internal market. While the temporary State aid offered to the financial sector to stabilise the EU financial system might have been necessary, Parliament calls on the Commission to scrutinise and eventually remove this aid. Parliament, inter alia, also calls on the Member States to abandon unfair competition practices based on unjustified tax incentives and to adopt appropriate rules in the Council.

What if internet by satellite were to lead to congestion in orbit?

05-02-2020

American Starlink project aims to bring high speed internet access across the globe by 2021. It’s certainly a mission in the sky! But how will Elon Musk’s plans to deploy this mega constellation of satellites impact on European citizens?

American Starlink project aims to bring high speed internet access across the globe by 2021. It’s certainly a mission in the sky! But how will Elon Musk’s plans to deploy this mega constellation of satellites impact on European citizens?

Trade and investment agreements with Vietnam

05-02-2020

In 2019, Vietnam became the second south-east Asian country after Singapore to sign trade and investment agreements with the EU. The agreements are expected to bring major economic benefits to both sides, but opinions are divided on whether the Parliament should consent to them, due to human rights issues in Vietnam.

In 2019, Vietnam became the second south-east Asian country after Singapore to sign trade and investment agreements with the EU. The agreements are expected to bring major economic benefits to both sides, but opinions are divided on whether the Parliament should consent to them, due to human rights issues in Vietnam.

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