Trade Deals Around the World: July Edition

World Trade News (Image: teal world viewed from space with connection lines spreading across the image)

Trade Deals Around the World is our periodic update, which gives you a quick and easy overview of what has been happening in the many trade deal negotiations worldwide. We focus on the European Union and the United Kingdom and watch China and the United States. We look back at June and focus on trade deals only in this update.

The European Union

The European Union is negotiating several trade agreements, but many of these negotiations are going very slow or have come to a complete stop. Many European countries are now calling for accelerating these trade deals.

The EU struck an accord struck with the Mercosur bloc of Argentina, Brazil, Paraguay and Uruguay in 2019, but put it on hold due to concerns about Amazon deforestation. A new agreement with Mexico, from 2018, has yet to be submitted for EU approval.

It also is in trade talks with Australia, New Zealand and Indonesia and now India.

The Czech Republic takes over the EU presidency on July 1, followed by Sweden and Spain, all signatories to the letter.

The others are Croatia, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, Germany, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Malta, the Netherlands, Portugal and Slovenia.


The European Union and Africa

A report stated the importance of a trade agreement between the European Union and African countries.

“The EU Parliament is deeply concerned about the high dependence of African states on food imports, especially from the European Union, particularly when these imports are made up of subsidised products whose low price represents harmful competition for small-scale agriculture in Africa,” says the report.

To address the vulnerability of industrial value chains in Africa, the Parliament calls for the relocation of economic activities to the continent and for Europe to share its technological know-how with Africa.

In the same vein, the report also supports pan-African projects such as the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) and advocates more cooperation on the establishment of circular economic models that retain as much value as possible from products such as raw materials, while reducing both the consumption of resources and greenhouse gas emissions.

The European Union and Ukraine

Ukraine is still under siege from Russia, so the European Union is taking various measures to help the Ukrainian government.

Following a request of Ukraine, the European Commission has decided to put forward a proposal introducing the following trade-liberalising measures for products originating in Ukraine:

  • the temporary suspension of all outstanding tariffs under Title IV of the Association Agreement between the EU and Ukraine, which concerns three categories of products: (i) industrial products subject to duty phase out by the end of 2022, (ii) fruits and vegetables subject to entry-price system, and (iii) agricultural products and processed agricultural products subject to tariff-rate quotas;
  • the temporary non-allocation of anti-dumping duties on imports originating in Ukraine;
  • the temporary suspension of the application of the common rules for imports safeguards (as per Regulation 2015/478) on products originating in Ukraine.

These measures should apply for a period of one year as from the entry into force of the Regulation.

The European Union and India

After eight years, the European Union opened up the trade agreement negotiations with India again.

"We are pursuing an ambitious timeline, and we aim to conclude the talks by the end of 2023. These far-reaching negotiations on trade, investment protection and geographical indications open a new and exciting chapter in EU-India relations," the EU trade commissioner said.

"Together, we aim not only to boost economic growth and job creation, but also promote our shared values, work to protect the climate, and secure our supply chains," he added.

The Hindu

The European Union and the United Kingdom

The United Kingdom is picking a fight again with the European Union, and its subject is the situation in Northern Ireland. It might even turn into a trade war…

Lawmakers began debating legislation that rewrites trade rules for Northern Ireland on Monday, the first step on what could be a rocky journey through Parliament.

If approved by lawmakers, the legislation would remove checks on goods entering Northern Ireland from the rest of the U.K., thereby scrapping parts of a trade treaty that Johnson signed before Britain left the EU in 2020.

The EU has threatened to retaliate against the U.K. if it goes ahead with its plan to rewrite the rules of the post-Brexit deal, raising the specter of a trade war between the two major economic partners.

AP News

Please find an interesting explainer of the Northern Ireland Protocol by The Washington Post here.

The United Kingdom and the United States

The new stance on Northern Ireland of the United Kingdom influences the negotiations for a trade agreement between the UK and the US.

The US government has warned that Boris Johnson’s move to unilaterally axe some of the Northern Ireland Brexit arrangements protocol was a matter of continuing concern and “not conducive” to a trade deal.

Senior officials have hit back at suggestions that the lack of public commentary by the Biden administration meant it was not troubled by the move to bring in new laws to ditch part of the Brexit deal signed in 2020.

The Guardian

Negotiations weren’t going so well even before the new Ireland situation. Prime Minister Johnson had already started negotiating trade deals with the individual US States to compensate for the lack of a trade deal with the United States.

Johnson’s government has launched what it calls a “state level strategy,” the idea being to side-step Washington and pitch free trade directly to the governors. So far, the UK claims it’s in talks with 20 states. In addition to Indiana, the list includes California, Georgia, North Carolina, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Tennessee and Texas.

The Hill

The United Kingdom and Mexico

…on December 15, 2020 both countries signed a Trade Continuity Agreement to, despite BREXIT, maintain preferential access for mutual trade; the Agreement entered into effect on June 1, 2021. We have also provided a first look into the Agreement´s relevant provisions, and an update. 

Through the formal initiation of negotiations, both representatives agreed that the first round of negotiations will begin July 11, 2022 in Mexico City, followed by a second round in the Fall of 2022.  The objective is to conclude the negotiations within two years.

The United Kingdom and the Gulf States

Trade minister Anne-Marie Trevelyan will visit Riyadh to begin discussions with the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC), which is made up of Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar and the United Arab Emirates as well as Saudi Arabia.

In 2021 total trade between the UK and the GCC was worth 33.1 billion pounds ($40.35 billion), of which 11 billion pounds in trade was with Saudi Arabia.


The World Trade Organization

After tough negotiations, the 164 members of the World Trade Organization reached new trade agreements.

The World Trade Organization's 164 members approved a series of trade agreements early on Friday that included commitments on fish and pledges on health and food security after more than five grueling days of negotiations.

The deals were ground out over five days of bargaining at a conference of more than 100 trade ministers that was seen as a test of the ability of nations to strike multilateral trade deals amid geopolitical tensions heightened by the Ukraine war.


Other News on Trade Deals

The United States

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