Tag Archives: free trade

Lord Frost: UK-EU differences remain

Brussels 2.10.2020 Lord David Frost, UK Chief Negotiator Lord David Frost issued the following statement, while concluding this week’s negotiating Round with the EU.

“We have just completed the ninth Round of our negotiations with the EU about our future relationship.
“These were constructive discussions conducted in a good spirit.
“In many areas of our talks, although differences remain, the outlines of an agreement are visible. This is true of most of the core areas of a trade and economic agreement – notably trade in goods and services, transport, energy, social security, and participation in EU programmes. This has however been true for some time.
“I am also encouraged that progress has been possible on a law enforcement agreement and that there has been convergence on the structure of the overall partnership.
“In other areas familiar differences remain. On the level playing field, including subsidy policy, we continue to seek an agreement that ensures our ability to set our own laws in the UK without constraints that go beyond those appropriate to a free trade agreement. There has been some limited progress here but the EU need to move further before an understanding can be reached. On fisheries the gap between us is unfortunately very large and, without further realism and flexibility from the EU, risks being impossible to bridge. These issues are fundamental to our future status as an independent country.
“I am concerned that there is very little time now to resolve these issues ahead of the European Council on 15 October.
“For our part, we continue to be fully committed to working hard to find solutions, if they are there to be found.”

EU-Vietnam free trade approved

The EU-Vietnam trade agreement, the “most modern and ambitious agreement ever concluded between the EU and a developing country”, got Parliament’s support on February 12. (Image: illustration)

These state-of-the-art agreements just adopted present a unique opportunity to further the EU’s goal to become a geopolitical player that defends multilateral trade, rejects protectionism, and raises labour, environmental and human rights standards worldwide. The deals will boost prosperity, create new and better paid jobs, cut costs for companies big and small, and give them better access to each other’s markets” rapporteur Geert Bourgeois (ECR, BE) said.

MEPs gave their consent to the free trade agreement by 401 votes, 192 votes against and 40 abstentions. The “most modern, comprehensive and ambitious agreement ever concluded between the EU and a developing country” will contribute to setting high standards in the region, and could lead to a future region-to-region trade and investment agreement, said the Parliament, in an accompanying resolution adopted by 416 votes for, 187 against and 44 abstentions. The agreement is “a strong signal in favour of free, fair and reciprocal trade, in times of growing protectionist tendencies and serious challenges to multilateral rules-based trade”, MEPs stressed.

The agreement will remove virtually all customs duties between the two parties over the next ten years, including on Europe’s main export products to Vietnam: machinery, cars, and chemicals. It extends to services such as banking, maritime transport and postal, where EU companies will have better access. Companies will also be able to bid on public tenders put out by the Vietnamese government and several cities, including Hanoi. The deal also safeguards 169 emblematic European products.

In addition, the agreement is an instrument to protect the environment and to sustain social progress in Vietnam, including labour rights. It commits Vietnam to apply the Paris Agreement. Vietnam committed to ratify two bills as requested by Parliament, one on the abolition of forced labour, the other on freedom of association, by 2020 and 2023, respectively.

The trade deal can be suspended in case of breaches of human rights.

Putin slams sanctions as form of protectionism

Russian President Vladimir Putin blasted economic protectionism and sanctions in an implicit gesture at President Trump a day before the two leaders are set to meet for the first time.

Published in the German financial newspaper Handelblatt ahead of the G20 meeting in Hamburg, Putin praised the strategy for free trade and action on climate change, while warning against the “protectionism is becoming the norm.”

“The old economic models have all but exhausted their possibilities,” Putin wrote. “Protectionism is becoming the norm, while unilateral, politically motivated restrictions on trade and investment, as well as technology transfer, are nothing but masked protectionism” – Putin said.

EU counts on free trade with Japan

European Union and Japan are aiming at an agreement on a free trade to be concluded within months, after senior officials removed final obstacles to a political deal.

“We ironed out the few remaining differences,” European Trade Commissioner Cecilia Malmstrom said after a meeting with Japanese Foreign Minister Fumio Kishida.

The EU-Japan summit will take place on 6 July in Brussels. At the summit, leaders are expected to announce a political agreement on the EU-Japan free trade agreement and the EU-Japan strategic partnership agreement.

Trudeau to address Europarl

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Canada’s Prime Minister Justin Trudeau will deliver a formal speech to MEPs on the EU-Canada relationship on Thursday 16 February at 11.00 in the Strasbourg chamber. Mr Trudeau will be the first Canadian Prime Minister to address the European Parliament, Strasbourg.

On Wednesday 15 February, Parliament approved the EU-Canada Comprehensive economic and trade agreedment (CETA).

EP President Antonio Tajani and Prime Minister Trudeau will hold a joint press conference on Thursday, 16 February at 12.00.

PM May: UK goes global

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In a comprehensive and inspirational speech Prime Minister Theresa May has sketched a framework for Brexit goals and future of the UK-EU relations. In a way she picked up a glove of those sceptics, including recently quit ambassador to EU Ivan Rogers, who were hinting the government had no plans, no clarity, and even suggested that it will take a decade to Brexit due to ‘mission impossible’.
However now there are concepts both for the post-Brexit UK surfing in the global world and relations with the EU as ‘strategic partner’, but no attempts to get anything close to membership. No Single Market, but an ambitious free trade agreement with the EU, and customs deal, ‘keeping open mind’. Indeed, no sense to start everything from a scratch.
Although May used as a refrain the suggestion of partnership  with the EU in many areas, she made it clear-cut, that no deal is better than a bad deal, which should go for endorsement by the UK Parliament in case of achievening a result.
For the EU institutions this means an additional bitter pill to swallow, because the UK departure without ‘a deal’ means not only leaving mandarins with a considerable hole in the pockets depriving of handsome British contribution to the EU budget, but a heavvy loss of workplaces related to trade and services, adding steam to Euro scepticism, already blaming EU austerity politics for sluggish economic growth.
The ‘hard’ #Brexit is on the cards, and ‘no deal’ is a real perspective in case British negotiators will be confronted with dogmatism which became a visit card of Juncher’s Commission, prescribing ‘more Europe’ as a universal remedy for all kind of problems to occur.
However it is an image of the UK ‘global’ which is the most catchy for many who aspire liberation from the EU ‘directives’ and ‘regulations’, ‘more Europe’ and ‘4freedoms’, which became inseparable like 10 commandments of Christ, without being so highly contribution to public mores, observing new realities of workers from different European member states receiving different salaries for the same job. Times of sweeping changes are coming. Who  is the next caught in the UK whirlwind of ‘global surging’?
Anna van Densky,  OPINION,  17/01/2017, Brussels
(Photo: illustration)

UK: migration control prior to free trade with EU

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The immigration control is prioritized by the UK citizens over the free trade with the European Union, showed the  results of poll published this week, reflecting the vision of future of the majority of Britons ahead of the entering into ‘divorce’ negotiations.

The launch of the negotiations has been postponed since the last year referendum, indicating the complexity of the task, related to the level of integration of the UK into the block, which will not allow an easy stepping out.

However many experts point at the shifting date of evoking Article 50 as a favorable factor for the UK, awaiting the results of elections in the leading EU member states this year, namely in the Netherlands in March, France in May, Germany in autumn, early elections are highly probable in Italy after MP Matteo Renzi stepping down.

The accession of Eurosceptics to power in the key EU member-states will create opportunities for the UK to diminish the losses and preserve at maximum the advantages of mutually beneficial trade relations with the block. The immigration policy, namely the ‘free movement of people’ remains the major stumble block between two parties.

The end of March is declared as the next self-imposed deadline of the UK government to open two years process of negotiations to obtain a new framework of co-operation with the EU27. The ORB International issued the poll results, indicating 46% of the participants consider immigration control prior to the access to free trade, supported by 39%.

ORB conducted its monthly Brexit tracker among an online among 2075 UK adults aged +18 during fieldwork on 6-8 January claiming 95% of confidence.

(Source: ORB International)