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Four EU scenarios for governance in a post Covid-19 world

26-10-2020

Scarcity of medical equipment during the COVID-19 crisis, and the ensuing discussion on ‘reshoring’ certain industries back to Europe, have brought back an old dilemma. Namely, countries wish to be strategically independent while depending on products and resources from other countries to fulfil their economic needs. This reflects the debate about whether markets or governments are better at delivering solutions. We can also define this debate as a choice between ‘competitive capitalism’ and ‘strategic ...

Scarcity of medical equipment during the COVID-19 crisis, and the ensuing discussion on ‘reshoring’ certain industries back to Europe, have brought back an old dilemma. Namely, countries wish to be strategically independent while depending on products and resources from other countries to fulfil their economic needs. This reflects the debate about whether markets or governments are better at delivering solutions. We can also define this debate as a choice between ‘competitive capitalism’ and ‘strategic autonomy’. Calls for strategic autonomy have increased since the COVID-19 crisis, at national and EU level. However, strategic autonomy conflicts with the achievements of international cooperative governance. This introduces another dilemma: the choice between interests and values. Pursuing interests alone leads to a vicious cycle of increased competition between markets and between states, ultimately deteriorating into imperialism. Developing value-oriented actions at government and market level can break that vicious cycle. Value-oriented concepts already form part of many EU policies, which place substantial emphasis on environmental and social rights. When ethical values become an integral part of business and government decisions, this is called ‘due diligence’. We can define value-oriented international cooperation between governments as ‘cooperative governance’. Similarly, we can define ethical and value oriented action by private actors — whether NGOs or businesses — as ‘ethical capitalism’. Putting the two dichotomies on a grid creates a model of four possible scenarios for action which can aid our understanding of ongoing discussions on governance in a post COVID-19 world. EU policy makers could also use these scenarios as alternative ways of shaping EU and foreign policy. The management of natural resources, ranging from water, land, forests, energy resources and metals to rare earths, shows a counter-clockwise development through the scenarios. Moving away from unregulated markets, extraction and use were gradually regulated by national governments, who competed against each other in an imperialist setting. The transnational nature of economic and environmental problems has increasingly brought them into the scope of international cooperative governance. Ethical capitalism (changing market forces from within) is a relatively new development complementing government action. Progress through the scenarios is not always sequential: actors face pressures to switch between them. We can draw lessons for governance in a post COVID-19 world from the experiences of natural resources management. This study is the first on ´global trends in external policies´, aiming to develop forward-looking and strategic analyses.

How can international trade contribute to sustainable forestry and the preservation of the world’s forests through the Green Deal?

19-10-2020

High deforestation rates, particularly in tropical areas, remain a pressing concern for the international community, given their impacts on the global climate and the loss of biodiversity. The EU has committed to promoting sustainable forest management both domestically and internationally. However, efforts so far have concentrated on promoting the legality of trade in timber and timber products, via policy instruments such as FLEGT and the EU Timber Regulation. EU trade policy could be employed ...

High deforestation rates, particularly in tropical areas, remain a pressing concern for the international community, given their impacts on the global climate and the loss of biodiversity. The EU has committed to promoting sustainable forest management both domestically and internationally. However, efforts so far have concentrated on promoting the legality of trade in timber and timber products, via policy instruments such as FLEGT and the EU Timber Regulation. EU trade policy could be employed more systematically to promote sustainable forestry and deforestation-free value chains. The report proposes eleven measures to this end, both at the unilateral, bilateral and multilateral level, that inter alia combine market access incentives on the part of consumer markets such as the EU with obligations to promote principles of sustainable production on the part of producer countries.

Autor externo

Werner RAZA, Bernhard TRÖSTER, Bernhard WOLFSLEHNER, Markus KRAJEWSKI.

Commitments made at the hearing of Valdis Dombrovskis Commissioner for Trade

08-10-2020

The Commission Executive Vice-President/Commissioner-designate, Valdis Dombrovskis, appeared before the European Parliament on 02 October 2020 to answer questions put by MEPs from the Committee on International Trade, in association with the Committees on Foreign Affairs, on Economic and Monetary Affairs, on Development and on Budgets. During the hearing, he made a number of commitments which are highlighted in this document. These commitments refer to his portfolio as Trade Commissioner, as described ...

The Commission Executive Vice-President/Commissioner-designate, Valdis Dombrovskis, appeared before the European Parliament on 02 October 2020 to answer questions put by MEPs from the Committee on International Trade, in association with the Committees on Foreign Affairs, on Economic and Monetary Affairs, on Development and on Budgets. During the hearing, he made a number of commitments which are highlighted in this document. These commitments refer to his portfolio as Trade Commissioner, as described in the mission letter sent to him by Ursula von der Leyen, President-elect of the European Commission, including: - A level playing field for all; - Strengthening Europe’s global leadership; - Trade for sustainable development and climate action

WTO e-commerce negotiations

05-10-2020

While e-commerce represents an increasing portion of the economy, international regulation of e-commerce is lagging behind. In 2017, the WTO Ministerial Conference issued a Joint Statement Initiative signalling the intention to launch plurilateral e-commerce talks. In January 2019, in the margins of the World Economic Forum in Davos, 76 of 164 WTO members, among them the EU, Australia, China, Japan, and the USA launched e commerce negotiations. Members seek a high-standard outcome building on WTO ...

While e-commerce represents an increasing portion of the economy, international regulation of e-commerce is lagging behind. In 2017, the WTO Ministerial Conference issued a Joint Statement Initiative signalling the intention to launch plurilateral e-commerce talks. In January 2019, in the margins of the World Economic Forum in Davos, 76 of 164 WTO members, among them the EU, Australia, China, Japan, and the USA launched e commerce negotiations. Members seek a high-standard outcome building on WTO agreements, but the legal form of the deal is not yet clear. Participants wish to modernise trade rules to fit the digital age and show that the WTO's negotiating function can deliver. Key issues in the negotiations include e-contracts and e-signatures, data flows, data localisation requirements, disclosure of source code, and customs duties on electronic transmissions. While some divergences persist, in particular on data flows and privacy, the talks are progressing with a view to deliver a consolidated draft text by the end of 2020.

Acuerdos internacionales en curso: Modernización del pilar comercial del Acuerdo Global UE-México

02-10-2020

El 21 de abril de 2018 la Unión Europea (UE) y México llegaron a un Acuerdo de principio sobre un pilar comercial modernizado del Acuerdo de asociación económica, concertación política y cooperación entre la UE y México, también conocido como Acuerdo Global, vigente desde 2000. El 28 de abril de 2020 las negociaciones concluyeron formalmente después de que se llegara a un acuerdo sobre el único punto pendiente: el acceso de la UE a los contratos públicos subfederales en México. El pilar comercial ...

El 21 de abril de 2018 la Unión Europea (UE) y México llegaron a un Acuerdo de principio sobre un pilar comercial modernizado del Acuerdo de asociación económica, concertación política y cooperación entre la UE y México, también conocido como Acuerdo Global, vigente desde 2000. El 28 de abril de 2020 las negociaciones concluyeron formalmente después de que se llegara a un acuerdo sobre el único punto pendiente: el acceso de la UE a los contratos públicos subfederales en México. El pilar comercial del Acuerdo Global constituyó el primer acuerdo de liberalización comercial que celebraba la UE con un país latinoamericano. Ha contribuido a aumentar de manera considerable el comercio de servicios y productos para uso industrial entre la UE y México. Sin embargo, se ha quedado obsoleto, ya que ambas partes han celebrado diversos una gran diversidad de acuerdos comerciales preferenciales con disposiciones más recientes que reflejan los nuevos avances en las políticas comerciales y de inversión. La eliminación de las barreras no arancelarias al comercio y una mayor liberalización del comercio de productos agrícolas permitirían a la UE y a México mejorar su ventaja competitiva en los mercados de la otra parte. Tras el control jurídico y la traducción del pilar comercial, este pasará a formar parte de un Acuerdo Global de tres ejes que también contendrá pilares renovados en materia de diálogo político y cooperación y que firmarán el Consejo de la UE y su homólogo mexicano. Seguidamente, el nuevo Acuerdo Global se remitirá al Parlamento Europeo para su aprobación. Segunda edición de un briefing elaborado originalmente por Roderick Harte. Los briefings sobre «Acuerdos internacionales en curso» se actualizan en fases clave a lo largo de todo el proceso, desde los debates iniciales hasta la ratificación.

Commissioner Hearings: Valdis Dombrovskis - Vice-President: An Economy that Works for People / Trade

30-09-2020

This Briefing concerns a portfolio change in the European Commission in mid-mandate and takes the same format and approach as those Briefings published in September 2019 to give Members of the European Parliament an overview of major issues of interest in the context of the Hearings of the Commissioners-designate.

This Briefing concerns a portfolio change in the European Commission in mid-mandate and takes the same format and approach as those Briefings published in September 2019 to give Members of the European Parliament an overview of major issues of interest in the context of the Hearings of the Commissioners-designate.

Post-COVID-19 Global Currency Order: Risks and Opportunities for the Euro

22-09-2020

The issuance of EU debt in the context of the recovery plan for Europe creates scope for strengthening the international role of the euro. However, with a large share of safe euro assets likely to be absorbed by the pandemic emergency purchase programme of the ECB, a shortage of eligible bonds stands to impede such progress. The ECB could decisively increase the supply of safe assets by issuing tradable ECB certificates of deposit as a way of overcoming this obstacle. This document was provided ...

The issuance of EU debt in the context of the recovery plan for Europe creates scope for strengthening the international role of the euro. However, with a large share of safe euro assets likely to be absorbed by the pandemic emergency purchase programme of the ECB, a shortage of eligible bonds stands to impede such progress. The ECB could decisively increase the supply of safe assets by issuing tradable ECB certificates of deposit as a way of overcoming this obstacle. This document was provided by Policy Department for Economic, Scientific and Quality of Life Policies at the request of the Committee on Economic and Monetary Affairs (ECON).

Autor externo

Barry EICHENGREEN, Daniel GROS

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.

An EU legal framework to halt and reverse EU-driven global deforestation: European added value assessment

08-09-2020

Deforestation caused by agricultural activity is continuing at an alarming rate, threatening irreplaceable tropical forests that, among other things, are crucial for fighting climate change. The EU bears its share of responsibility for this environmental loss, as it is one of the major importers of several forest-risk commodities. To date, action has been taken at different levels to stop commodity-driven deforestation. Nevertheless, the impact on forest loss has been low as deforestation continues ...

Deforestation caused by agricultural activity is continuing at an alarming rate, threatening irreplaceable tropical forests that, among other things, are crucial for fighting climate change. The EU bears its share of responsibility for this environmental loss, as it is one of the major importers of several forest-risk commodities. To date, action has been taken at different levels to stop commodity-driven deforestation. Nevertheless, the impact on forest loss has been low as deforestation continues and new hot spots occur. There has been a recent commitment at EU level to propose new measures to minimise the risk of deforestation and forest degradation associated with products placed on the EU market. This European added value assessment (EAVA) accompanies the European Parliament's own-initiative legislative report calling on the European Commission to take legislative action on the matter. The EAVA looks at why EU action is needed and analyses four potential demand-side regulatory policy options at EU level. A quantitative analysis reveals that to varying extents, all options have the potential to reduce EU-driven deforestation and associated carbon emissions, while having a relatively small impact on the EU economy

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.

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