Trade Deals Around the World: February 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. It is the start of the year. It is still relatively quiet. There is not much news on the European Union. This edition mainly focuses on the United Kingdom, China, and the United States. Still enough exciting reading material for those involved in global trade. Happy reading!

The Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement

On 1 January 2022, the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement (RCEP) went into force for ten countries. It is the worlds largest free trade agreement, covering about 30 percent of global gross domestic product. Over USD 25 trillion!

The Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership ("RCEP") Agreement has entered into force on 1 January 2022, following the ratification of the Agreement by 10 Parties – Australia, Brunei, Cambodia, China, Japan, Laos, New Zealand, Singapore, Thailand, and Vietnam.

The RCEP agreement aims to aid businesses through benefits such as tariff elimination, additional preferential market access, streamlined rules of origin and regional cumulation provisions. Via Lexology

The free trade agreement is between 15 countries, including Indonesia, Malaysia and the Philippines, which are expected to ratify it soon. Myanmar’s ratification is pending acceptance by other members.

For South Korea, the agreement will take effect on Feb 1 – 60 days after its instrument of ratification, a document by which a country formally agrees to be bound by a treaty, was deposited.

The RCEP is also the first time China and Japan, as well as Japan and South Korea, are in a free trade agreement.

Via Hellenic Shipping News

The United Kingdom and India

The United Kingdom and India have started negotiations about a free trade agreement. The first round has been concluded, and the second round is scheduled for March.

Britain and India formally launched free trade agreement talks in New Delhi on Thursday with the aim of wrapping up a deal by the end of the year that could boost annual bilateral trade by billions of pounds.

Britain has made a deal with India one of its post-Brexit priorities as, free from the European Union's common trade policy, ministers look to gear trade policy towards faster-growing economies around the Indo-Pacific region.

Via Reuters

The United Kingdom and GCC

The United Kingdom and the Gulf Cooperation Council, which includes Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, and Qatar, have started negotiations on a free trade agreement.

The UK kicked off the process in October, with the Gulf becoming its latest post-Brexit trade target as it seeks to deepen economic ties beyond the European Union.

British trade with the GCC was worth about GBP45bn ($61bn) in 2019, 7 per cent of the size of Britain’s commerce with the EU in the same year. The EU and the GCC don’t have a free trade agreement in place, despite having been in talks for over 15 years.

Via Gulf Business

The United States and the AGOA

In 2000 the African Growth and Opportunity Act was launched by President Bill Clinton. President Biden has now removed three countries from the AGOA.

The US has barred Ethiopia, Guinea, and Mali from accessing the African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA), a two-decade old agreement which provides African countries with duty-free access to the US market for more than 1,800 products.

The move comes two months after president Joe Biden told Congress that he plans to cut off the three countries from the program over coups and alleged human rights violations, which put them in violation of the program’s eligibility requirements.

Via Yahoo Finance

The United States and China

The relationship between the United States and China is still complicated. The First Phase Trade Agreement that was in place between the two countries has expired, and China hadn’t entirely held up its end of the deal. Imports from the United States into China were still too low.

President Joe Biden on Wednesday said it was too soon to make commitments on lifting U.S. tariffs on Chinese goods, but his chief trade negotiator Katherine Tai was working on the issue.

"I'd like to be able to be in a position where I could say they're meeting their commitments, or more of their commitments, and be able to lift some of them, but we're not there yet," Biden told a news conference at the White House.

Via Reuters

On China's side, even with disruptive factors such as a raging COVID-19 pandemic, which has blocked transportation and disrupted the global supply chain, China still managed to meet about 62 percent of that target as of October 2021, according to calculations by the Washington-based Peterson Institute for International Economics.

It's also worth noting that no official data, from either China or the US side, has been released to measure China's purchases so far.

Via Global Times

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