The “Renaissance” of the EU-US Trade Relationship: Tensions and Progress in a Fast-Moving Digital World

Giulio Kowalski

The EU-US trade partnership is the largest bilateral trade and investment relationship between the largest economies in the world (the EU economy accounts for 25.1% of global GDP and the US one represents 21.6%). Although bilateral, the EU-US trade partnership heavily impacts the global economy given that the EU or the US (or both) are the most important business partners for most countries worldwide. Furthermore, although the role of China as the EU’s import source for goods has greatly expanded in the last years, the US remains the EU’s largest trade and investment partner.

After the tensions characterizing the “Trump era” (e.g., US tariffs imposed on EU steel and aluminium recently suspended for a two-year period), the EU-US partnership on trade seems to be experiencing its “Renaissance”. The new Biden administration may provide a chance for a renovated transatlantic partnership, centred on cooperation over global challenges such as climate change and the concerns originating from the digitalisation of the economy. With regard to the latter issue, the EU-US Trade and Technology Council (EU-US TTC), established in June 2021 following an EU-US Summit, proves the improvement in the EU-US relation. In particular, one of the Council’s main goals is to strengthen the EU-US global cooperation on technology, digital issues and supply chains. The summit served to reiterate the EU-US commitment over the reform of the WTO’s negotiating function and dispute settlement system. Nonetheless, as will be extensively illustrated in the following, tensions do not seem to have been dispelled completely (e.g., the suspension of aluminium and steel tariffs is only temporary).
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The CPTPP as a New Regime for World Trade?

David Collins

Formal talks on the UK’s accession to the 11-nation Comprehensive Progressive Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP) began this week after several months of preliminary negotiations. The fast-growing Asia-Pacific region served by the CPTPP promises to eclipse the economic activity of the rest of Europe, if not the world, well into the 21st Century. More than that, the CPTPP may be poised to establish itself as a near-global regime for trade governance in conjunction, or perhaps in competition with the 164 nation World Trade Organization (WTO). Covering matters such as tariff and non-tariff barriers on goods, market access for services, intellectual property and subsidies like the WTO, the CPTPP also has rules on digital trade and investment which the 26-year-old WTO, with all of the problems associated with needing global consensus, does not. Whereas momentum in multilateral trade liberalisation has stalled in recent years with little to no progress on the key issues of agricultural subsidies, fisheries or dispute settlement, interest in the CPTPP is picking up speed. Continue reading

EU General Court: EU-Morocco trade agreements concluded without the consent of the people of Western Sahara

Jed Odermatt

On 29 September 2021 the European Union’s General Court annulled Council decisions approving trade and fisheries agreements concluded between the European Union and the Kingdom of Morocco.  The judgment is the latest in an ongoing saga in which the EU’s trade agreements with Morocco have been challenged before the EU courts on the grounds that they violate international law. These agriculture and fishing agreements apply to the territory and territorial waters of Western Sahara, a non-self-governing territory occupied by Morocco, without the consent of the people of Western Sahara.

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Book review: “Brexit and freedom of establishment: Tax, business, and immigration issues” (Atelier, Barcelona 2021)

Jonatan Echebarria Fernández

Surprised by the outcome of the 2016 EU referendum, several professors of the Faculty of Law of the Autonomous University of Barcelona (UAB) requested a research project to study the process and consequences of the withdrawal of the United Kingdom (UK) from the European Union (EU). Thanks to the funding granted by the Spanish Ministry of Economy, Industry, and Competitiveness (DER2017-88910-P), they followed the negotiations and dissected their results, reporting the main advances and obstacles in the blog of the research project. They wrote several papers in which they disclosed their investigation and held an international seminar at the end of the transitional period in which they presented the outcomes of their study. After having revised the presentations to incorporate the debate and the news of the Trade and Cooperation Agreement, most of the presentations are published in Brexit y libertad de establecimiento. Aspectos fiscales, mercantiles y de extranjería, Atelier, Barcelona, 2021, ISBN: 978-84-18244-53-7. Continue reading

International Law and the European Union: The Challenge of Integrating Multiple Perspectives

Jed Odermatt

The European Union has become an ever more visible and active player at the international level. Legal scholarship has addressed this phenomenon. The field of EU external relations law discusses the legal issues that arise from the EU’s activity on the international plane. Much of this literature is focused on the internal issues that the European Union and its Member States face. In International Law and the European Union, I sought to explore the issues that arise, not only for the EU legal order, but also for international law and for non-EU states.

International Law and the European Union

International Law and the European Union

To do so, the book integrates the perspectives of  European Union law and of international law. In researching the book, I quickly realized that there were diverging views about the very nature of the EU and its legal order. As I discuss in Chapter 1 on ‘The European Union in International Law’ both legal scholarship and practice present an ‘EU law’ view and an ‘international law view’ on the nature of the European Union. The EU law view tends to see the EU as a unique legal order, one that has escaped from its international law origins. It is highly influenced by the narrative, established by the Court of Justice of the EU in van Gend & Loos and later judgments, of the Union as a ‘new legal order’. This internal narrative remains contested in international law scholarship, which tends to view the Union as a type of international organization, albeit one that has developed a number of unique features. The aim of the book is not to argue which of these views is ‘correct’. Rather, it accepts that the EU is a unique type of legal entity, and explores how international law concepts and principles have adjusted and respond to these claims. Rather than provide a unitary theory of the European Union that could address the types of legal clashes and conflicts that arise under EU and international law, it explores the ways that public international law addresses legal subjects other than states.

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COVID-19 reminds us of SDG pledges

Sekander Zulker Nayeen

In 2015, the United Nations (UN) adopted the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, commonly known as Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). It provides a shared blueprint for peace and prosperity for people and the planet recognizing that ending poverty and other deprivations must go hand-in-hand with strategies that improve health and education, reduce inequality and spur economic growth, and thereby, all while tackling climate change and working to preserve our oceans and forests. At the heart of this Agenda, there are 17 Goals and 169 targets. The normative structures of SDGs basically derived from the juxtaposition of two interdisciplinary spirits: Environment and Development. Continue reading

Webinar series – General and Complete Disarmament: Contemporary Perspectives on World Peace Through World Law

A webinar series by the International Law and Affairs Group at City, University of London and the SCRAP research group at the Centre for International Studies and Diplomacy, SOAS

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The Transatlantic Space Between Shifting Administrations: The Place of the EU and US in the Global Legal Order

Elaine Fahey and Giulio Kowalski

An online workshop took place on 2 July 2021 at City Law School  ‘The Transatlantic Space Between Shifting Administrations: The Place of the EU and US in the Global Legal Order’ organised by the Jean Monnet Chair in Law & Transatlantic Relations and Institute for the Study of European Law (ISEL) at City Law School, funded by Erasmus+ programme.

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Introducing “Understanding the EU as a Good Global Governance Actor” – a forthcoming edited collection with Edward Elgar Publishing

Elaine Fahey and Isabella Mancini

“Understanding the EU as a Good Global Governance Actor: ambitions, direction and values” is the provisional title of a book project forthcoming with Edward Elgar in 2022 and edited by (Elaine Fahey City Law School) and Isabella Mancini (City Law School/ Brunel Law School).

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Shaping International Migration Law. A discussion of ‘The Interplay between the EU’s Return Acquis and International Law’ by Tamás Molnár

Andrea Maria Pelliconi

On 16 June, 2021, the City Law School hosted a virtual launch of Dr Tamás Molnár’s new book The Interplay between the EU’s Return Acquis and International Law. The webinar, chaired by Dr Andrew Wolman, was organised by City’s International Law and Affairs Group (ILAG) and the Institute for the Study of European Laws (ISEL), and saw Professor Paul James Cardwell (University of Strathclyde) and Professor Elspeth Guild (Queen Mary University of London) as expert discussants. This post summarises the discussion and provides some reflections on Molnar’s book.

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