Trade Deals Around the World: May 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 at China and the United States. Join us in reading this month's update.

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The European Union and India

The European Union is relaunching talks with India to develop a new trade agreement. It wants to offer India an alternative to Russia, which is an important trading partner for India.

The EU and U.S. both are trying to establish closer ties with India, which is the world’s top buyer of Russian weapons, which it says it uses to deter aggression from neighbors Pakistan and China.

Read more on Bloomberg

India's textile products attract about 9-10 per cent customs duty in the EU and about 8-9 per cent in the UK.

If the trade agreement comes through, then the EU will replace the US as India's largest destination for garments.

Read more on Business Today India

EU Ambassador Ugo Astuto on Friday said India and the European Union are eyeing to firm up the comprehensive trade and investment agreements before the commencement of the electoral cycles on both sides in 2024.

Read more on Business Standard

The European Union and Ukraine

The European Commission proposed on Wednesday a one-year suspension of import duties on all Ukrainian goods not covered by an existing free trade deal to help the country's economy during the war with Russia.

The measures will apply in particular to fruit and vegetables, subject to minimum price requirements, agricultural products facing quotas, and certain industrial goods, tariffs on which were only due to be phased out by the end of 2022.

The European Union will also exempt Ukraine from safeguard measures that limit steel imports, and lift anti-dumping tariffs the EU currently imposes on Ukrainian steel tubes, hot-rolled flat steel products and ironing boards.

Read more on Reuters

The United Kingdom and the European Union

According to researchers, exports from the United Kingdom to the European Union have fallen 25%.

“Although it is surprising that imports were hit harder than exports during the first year of the TCA, it would be a mistake to conclude that exporters were unaffected.

“The number of export relationships with the EU fell sharply in 2021,” Rebecca Freeman, co-author of the report and associate of the CEP’s trade programme, said.

Read more on The Independent

Researchers said it was "surprising" that Brexit had a greater impact on imports than exports in 2021, particularly since the UK delayed the introduction of many customs checks on EU goods until 2022.

Read more on Euronews

The United Kingdom and The United States

The British Government was confronted with demands on workers’ rights during another round of talks. The United States will focus on protecting labour rights and the environment.

Eric Gottwald, a trade policy specialist at the AFL-CIO, said: “For too long, the voices of working people have been shut out of trade negotiations or discussions. We need the TUC and its unions at the table to shape a fair agreement that lifts wages and standards on both sides of the Atlantic.”

The groups said that under Joe Biden’s administration, the US had increasingly involved protections for workers’ rights in trade negotiations in recent years, including in the latest US-Mexico-Canada agreement.

Read more on The Guardian

The prospect of a UK-US free trade deal is not dead, officials from the two countries said as they concluded another round of talks aimed at bolstering transatlantic investment.

Read more on The Independent

It’s taking so long to reach a new trade deal that the United Kingdom has started parallel talks to negotiate trade agreements with separate states in the United States.

In the absence of progress towards an overarching UK-U.S. trade agreement, British negotiators are seeking state-level agreements, including a deal with Texas by October.

With a UK-U.S. deal – once seen as the great prize of Brexit – effectively taken off the agenda by U.S. President Joe Biden’s administration, Britain is looking at other ways to boost commercial ties with the world’s largest economy.

Read more on Reuters

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