The end of the Asian ‘summit season’ brings a big sigh of relief to most participating members. The region appears to have gotten through November without any apparent disasters, leaders managed to agree on statements, and some new initiatives were announced for trade.
Asia Pacific trade
Expansion has been baked into the DNA of the Comprehensive and Progressive Trans-Pacific Partnership. But the ongoing United Kingdom accession has revealed how challenging the process is in practice for the members as other countries have joined the queue.
Countries in the Asia-Pacific are trailblazing innovative and flexible digital trade rules at a time when negotiations in the World Trade Organization advance at snail’s pace – at the risk of creating a confusing new set of overlapping rules.
Former prime minister Boris Johnson’s ebullient promise to conclude at least an interim trade agreement between the United Kingdom and India “by Diwali” has been officially abandoned by the new team in London – just a few days before the Hindu festival begins. Here is where the talks are at.
Speaking to Rob Francis in Brussels during a whistle-stop tour of Europe, Christoph Heider, president of the European Chamber of Commerce in Korea, said that updating the EU-Korea free trade agreement is “not a priority” for the current Korean government.
There is to be no ‘fast-tracking’ of the United Kingdom’s application to join the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement on Trans-Pacific Partnership.
The European Services Forum’s managing director Pascal Kerneis discussed EU-Singapore trade relations with Iana Dreyer’s Borderlex. So what is at stake with the coming revision of their 2019 free trade agreement and with the planned Digital Partnership Agreement?
Hopes that the United Kingdom will complete its accession to the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement on Trans-Pacific Partnership by the end of this year are fading, amid indications that the accession talks are progressing less smoothly than had initially been hoped.
Perhaps in the triumph of hope over experience, the EU and Indonesia have recently announced their intention to accelerate progress on their stalled free trade agreement. But political factors and deep-rooted disagreements over the EU’s sustainability and deforestation policies mean that finalising a deal will remain a tall order.
Participants in the Indo-Pacific Economic Framework are holding their first ministerial meeting this week in the United States. Deborah Elms explains what IPEF is all about – and what it isn’t.