Trade Rules Them All: The EU Busy with FTAs

Written by | Wednesday, August 23rd, 2017

The European Union is readying for a busy trade-negotiating period, as it is about to finish talks with Japan and provisionally apply CETA with Canada. Trade policy has been at the center of the public discourse about the future direction of the EU. TTIP talks were often accompanied by public protests, although that deal has since then been put aside due to Donald Trump’s indecisiveness on the US trade policy. The EU-Canadian free trade deal, CETA, was also controversial and parts of it will only come into force later after full member state ratification. The EU-Japan talks were also discussed after both sides announced a “fundamental agreement” over the FTA.
According to the German economy ministry, the EU is also about to rapidly sign free trade agreements with a number of Asian economies, such as Vietnam and Singapore, as well as finalize comprehensive deals with Japan, Mexico and the Mercosur grouping and advance talks with the Philippines, India and China. “Under the Estonian Presidency [of the EU], a mandate for negotiations with Chile, Australia and New Zealand is also foreseen,” the ministry added. There are also two smaller deals in the pipeline – TiSA (Trade in Services Agreement) and the EU’s so-called Economic Partnership Agreements (EPAs) – which the EU negotiates with economically less advanced countries and trade blocs.
Given the importance of trade relationships, the UK is trying to make the EU ease its position, demanding that the two sides should first agree on Brexit terms before discussing trade ties. This week, London is going to present proposals for future relations including how to tackle disputes without “the direct jurisdiction of the Court of Justice of the European Union (ECJ)”, UK Brexit Minister David Davis said.

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