As the world continues to grapple with the COVID-19 pandemic, international trade has played a crucial role in keeping economies afloat. The European Union (EU) has been at the forefront of negotiating trade agreements with other nations, including those that have been hit hard by the pandemic. In this article, we`ll take a closer look at the EU trade agreements for 2021.
The EU is the world`s largest trading bloc, and as such, it is constantly negotiating new trade agreements with other nations. In 2021, the EU has been busy embarking on a number of new trade deals, some of which have been in the works for years. Here are some of the key agreements that have been reached or are currently being negotiated:
1. EU-UK Trade and Cooperation Agreement: After years of tense negotiations, the EU and the UK finally reached a deal on their post-Brexit relationship. The Trade and Cooperation Agreement was agreed to on December 24, 2020, and came into force on January 1, 2021. The deal ensures tariff-free trade for goods between the EU and the UK, though there are still challenges to be worked out on issues like financial services and data sharing.
2. EU-Mercosur Free Trade Agreement: The EU has been negotiating with the South American trade bloc Mercosur (comprising Argentina, Brazil, Paraguay, and Uruguay) for over two decades to establish a free trade agreement. In June 2019, the two sides finally agreed on a deal, but it has yet to be ratified by all parties. Critics of the agreement say that it could lead to increased deforestation and other environmental issues, while supporters argue that it will boost trade and investment between the two regions.
3. EU-China Comprehensive Agreement on Investment: Negotiations on this agreement began in 2013 and were finally concluded in December 2020. The agreement is intended to increase investment between the EU and China and to level the playing field for EU companies operating in China. However, some critics have raised concerns about China`s human rights record and its treatment of minority groups like the Uighurs.
4. EU-Canada Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (CETA): This agreement has been in force since September 2017 and includes provisions for tariff reduction, increased market access, and protection for intellectual property. The deal has been praised by both sides for boosting trade and investment between the EU and Canada.
5. EU-Australia Free Trade Agreement: Negotiations for this agreement began in 2018, and both sides are optimistic that a deal can be reached soon. The agreement would reduce tariffs and increase market access for goods and services between the EU and Australia.
These are just some of the key EU trade agreements for 2021. As the world continues to change and adapt to the challenges of the pandemic, international trade will be more important than ever. The EU`s commitment to negotiating fair and comprehensive trade deals with other nations will help to ensure that economies around the world can continue to grow and thrive.