Export Impact For Good

Countries / Territories

  •     Free Trade Agreements

    South Korea seeks FTA with MERCOSUR: Speaking 7 December, South Korean Minister of Commerce Kim Young-joo raised the issue of an FTA with MERCOSUR. "We are seeking to sign a free trade agreement with Brazil and three other MERCOSUR members, including Argentina, Paraguay and Uruguay, in a gradual manner so it could pave the way [for South Korean firms] to stably increase investment and increase exports to the MERCOSUR member states". Kim was in Brazil for bilateral talks and to attend a forum of government officials and businessmen,

    First round of Mexico, South Korea FTA talks:The first round of FTA talks between Mexico and South Korea, held early December in Mexico City, saw the two parties at odds over safeguards for farm goods. According to an official, South Korea "emphasized the 'sensitivity' of farm goods and called for safeguard mechanisms, but the Mexican side was averse to the proposal because they claimed it would hinder the free movement of goods".

    Singapore, Oman sign IGA:Singapore and Oman have signed an Investment Guarantee Agreement (IGA), witnessed by Singapore Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong and visiting Omani Deputy Prime Minister Sayyid Fahad Mahmood Al-Said. Commentators say the deal will boost investor confidence and help towards a GCC-Singapore FTA. Oman's Minister for Commerce expressed the hope that FTA negotiations would finish in 2007, with the deal signed in 2008.

    India, Hong Kong plan FTA:India and Hong Kong have initiated FTA talks and plan to enter into a double taxation avoidance agreement (DTAA). "We have discussed with Indian leaders to have an investment promotion and protection agreement besides a double taxation avoidance agreement (DTAA)," said Hong Kong Financial Secretary John C Tsang on the sidelines of a business conference in New Delhi.

    India considering FTA with China:According to a report in the Times of India, India is considering the possibility of an FTA with China. It reports Minister of State for Commerce and Industry Jairam Ramesh telling an early December gathering of parliament that ""India-China FTA falls under the FTAs being considered".

    Israel and MERCOSUR sign FTA:MERCOSUR and Israel signed an FTA on 18 December, the first that the former has signed with country outside Latin America.. The announced on the sidelines of two-day Summit of Heads of States of MERCOSUR held in Montevideo.

    Israel mulls FTAs with India, Russia:Israeli business daily Globes reports, that Israel's Ministry of Industry, Trade and Labour has asked the Indian government to review a bilateral FTA, and that India has set up a team of experts to conduct the review. The FTA would encompass goods and services. Globes further reports that Israel is examining whether an FTA with Russia would be worthwhile.

    Still no GCC-EU FTA:The Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) and the EU have failed to reach agreement on a proposed FTA. Following a meeting between EU Trade Commissioner Peter Mandelson and GCC negotiators. Qatari Minister of Finance Yussef Hussein Kamal told reporters that "'certain points have still to be reformulated to meet the demands of the two sides". The FTA has been under negotiation since 1988. The meeting took place 2 December in advance of the annual meeting of GCC heads of state.

    GCC: Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates.

    Libya and EU to open cooperation talks:French President Nicolas Sarkozy announced at a 14 December press conference that the EU would be opening talks on a framework cooperation agreement with Libya. He was speaking after the summit of EU leaders in Brussels. Libya is the only country in North Africa that has yet to sign an association agreement with the EU. Algeria, Egypt, Morocco and Tunisia are all part of the Euro-Mediterranean Partnership (Barcelona Process), which envisages a Euro-Mediterranean free trade zone by 2010. Libya has had observer status since 1999.

    Tariffs fall on Tunisian industrial imports:As of 1 January 2008, most manufactured products from the EU will enter Tunisia duty-free. Other sectors, notably agriculture and services, have yet to be liberalized. The elimination of industrial tariffs takes place within the context of an FTA concluded between EU and Tunisia in 1995, which launched the gradual process of cutting duties. Tunisia is the first non-EU country of the Mediterranean to completely liberalize trade in industrial goods with the EU.

    Peru-US FTA in force in 2009:The Peru-US FTA is to enter into force on 1 January 2009, according to Peru's Minister of Foreign Trade, Mercedes Aráoz. In remarks to Peruvian broadcaster Canal N, she explained, "Obviously we want to move faster but there is a lot of work we have to do with the US government to make things compatible."

    Elsewhere, Luis Alberto Moreno, President of the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB), has announced that IDB will assist the government of Peru in launching the Peru-US FTA. "The Bank has supported and will continue to support the government of Peru in order to guarantee that the FTA's opportunities and benefits reach Peru's poorest residents," said Moreno.

    MERCOSUR leaders back Venezuela's entry:The 34th Summit of Heads of States of MERCOSUR in Montevideo saw leaders back Venezuela's entry into the trading bloc. Present at the 17-18 December summit were the Presidents of Argentina, Brazil, Paraguay and Uruguay, respectively Cristina Fernández de Kirchner, Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva, Nicanor Duarte and Tabaré Vázquez. Kirchner, also new MERCOSUR President under the rotating presidency, urged the rapid incorporation of Venezuela, saying "I hope that during this presidency we can incorporate definitively the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela". Venezuela's full integration has been endorsed by Argentina and Uruguay; approval is still pending in Paraguay, but the move has run into opposition in Brazil.

    Sources: African Manager, Afrique en ligne, Asia Pulse, Channel News Asia, Fibre to Fashion, Globes, Khaleej Times, LIP, Times of India, Venezuela Analysis and Yonhap.