Tag: trade

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

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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European Citizens’ Initiative on trade in goods originating in occupied territories

Jed Odermatt

In July 2019, seven European citizens filed a European Citizens’ Initiative (ECI) entitled “Ensuring Common Commercial Policy conformity with EU Treaties and compliance with international law”. The European Citizens’ Initiative is a procedure, introduced in the Lisbon Treaty, to allow EU citizens to participate directly in the development of EU law and policy. Article 11(4) Treaty on European Union allows EU citizens to submit “any appropriate proposal on matters where citizens consider that a legal act of the Union is required for the purpose of implementing the Treaties.” The ECI proposal must fall within the powers of the European Commission. The Regulation on the European citizens’ initiative (ECI regulation) sets out the main parameters for the procedure. The Commission may register an initiative if “none of the parts of the initiative manifestly falls outside the framework of the Commission’s powers to submit a proposal for a legal act of the Union for the purpose of implementing the Treaties” (Article 6).

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UK Accession to the CPTPP: Setting a Precedent for New Members?

David Collins

The Comprehensive Progressive Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP) is a comprehensive free trade agreement which went into force in December 2018. Its membership consists of 11 Pacific Rim countries: Australia, Canada, Japan, Mexico, New Zealand, Singapore, Vietnam, Brunei, Chile, Malaysia and Peru, together comprising roughly 13 per cent of the world’s GDP. Despite having no geographical presence in the Pacific (unless you include the British Overseas Territory the Pitcairn Islands), the UK submitted formal notice to join the CPTPP in February 2021, a centrepiece of its ‘Global Britain’ trade strategy.

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Work in progress: The EU-UK Trade and Cooperation Agreement as a “platform” for shaping future trade relationships

Giulio Kowalski

After four years of turbulent discussions and 1,400 pages of complex provisions, the EU and the UK (the “Parties”) signed the Trade and Cooperation Agreement (TCA) on 24 December 2020. Now that the much-feared risk of a no-deal Brexit seems to have been avoided, it could be high time to start digging into the details of the TCA and critically assess whether it is an effective and all-encompassing regulation or just a “platform” created in view of future negotiations and developments in the EU/UK (trading) relationships.

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Post-Brexit UK-EU Parliamentary Cooperation: Whose representation?

Isabella Mancini

The deal between the UK and the EU has not put an end to their talks. As negotiations will continue on a number of fronts, UK-EU parliamentary cooperation will be essential to ensure that citizens’ interests are taken into account. The EU-UK Trade and Cooperation Agreement (TCA) sets out that the European Parliament and the UK Parliament may establish a Parliamentary Partnership Assembly (PPA) that would provide a forum for exchanges of views. It is still unclear whether and when a PPA will be created. As the TCA suggests, its establishment appears to be voluntary and at the discretion of the legislatures from both sides. So far, the parliamentary dimension within the overarching governance of the TCA has remained at an embryonic stage, leaving many questions unanswered. Yet the PPA would not be the only channel for parliamentary cooperation and other formats could develop.

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The EU-UK Trade and Cooperation Agreement (TCA) as a building block of an ever-evolving relationship

Eva Pander Maat

The Trade and Cooperation Agreement (TCA), concluded on Christmas Eve 2020 between the EU and the UK, is a unique trade agreement in that its objective is divergence, instead of convergence. It represents the culmination, but by no means the end of four years of Brexit turmoil. To what extent such turmoil will continue to dominate EU-UK relations will partly depend on the extent to which Parties use the TCA as a floor or a ceiling.

To help comprehend the 1,400 page Agreement, five experts provided their guidance to the TCA in the Webinar ‘The UK & the EU Relationship: What Next?’ on January 27, 2021. This event was the first in a promising cooperation between the Jean Monnet Chair in EU Law, City, University of London and the Senior European Experts Group (SEE). The event was moderated by Sir Alan Dashwood, barrister and Professor Emeritus of European Law at University of Cambridge and Professor Emeritus of Law at City, University of London. This blog post revisits key points raised during the Webinar and summarizes its conclusions. Drawing on the expertise and experience of the experts, the blog post discusses five different aspects of the TCA: respectively, the legal aspects, trade and internal market regulation, agriculture and fisheries, the EU perspective and the political dimension.

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The International Dimension of Brexit

Legal debates about Brexit have mostly focused on the legal issues that arise under EU law and UK law and the impact of Brexit on the EU and UK. A recent book edited by Juan Santos Vara and Ramses A. Wessel analyses the international dimension of Brexit. The book examines the implications of Brexit for the external relations of both the EU and UK.

Researchers at City Law School – Professor Elaine Fahey, Professor Panos Koutrakos and Jed Odermatt – contributed chapters that examine some of the challenges arising from the UK’s departure from the European Union, with a focus on the international dimension.

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