Export Impact For Good

Countries / Territories

  •     Free Trade Agreements

    China-EU PCA: Chinese Foreign Minister Li Zhaoxing and visiting EU counterpart Benita Ferrero-Waldner announced the launch of the Partnership Cooperation Agreement (PCA) at a joint press conference in Beijing in January. "The agreement will provide a comprehensive basis covering the whole range of the political, economic and trade relationship between China and the European Union," Waldner said. Trade, energy and environment are among the 22 sectors covered by the PCA, she said.

    Differences in Malaysia-US FTA: Malaysian International Trade and Industry Minister Rafidah Aziz told reporters mid-January that an FTA with the US is unlikely to be concluded before a 1 July deadline because of differences over opening up services and Malaysian government contracts. " If they want to finish by July, I do not see it happening because there are so many issues to cover," she said. "I am not optimistic. Malaysia has no deadline constraints. We can take another year if need be. Let's do it very carefully." The two sides have held four rounds of talks, with another programmed in February.

    Japan-Viet Nam trade talks: Japan and Viet Nam began free trade talks in Tokyo mid-January, following a 2006 agreement between Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and Vietnamese Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung to launch negotiations.

    ASEAN-Australia-NZ FTA: Negotiations for an ASEAN-Australia-New Zealand FTA will reportedly resume in Wellington in March following talks on the sidelines of a series of ASEAN meetings in the Philippines early January.

    SK plans EU FTA: According to South Korean President Roh Moo-hyun, in a prepared text for television speech on 23 January, South Korea "plans to initiate negotiations with the European Union on (a free trade agreement) around March." He also said that South Korea will launch a joint feasibility study with China toward possibly starting similar talks.

    Japan-Switzerland FTA: According to Asia Times, Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and Swiss President Micheline Calmy-Rey agreed, during a January telephone conversation, to launch FTA negotiations soon. The two countries aim to conclude the accord by end 2007. It would be Japan's first such agreement with a European country.

    Indonesia-EFTA prepare ground for FTA: Ministers from Indonesia and EFTA, meeting during the World Economic Forum in Davos on 27 January, agreed to prepare the ground for negotiations on a comprehensive trade agreement. They based their decision on the recommendations of the recently finalised report of the Joint EFTA-Indonesia Study Group, which concluded that both sides would benefit from such an agreement, built on the principles of comprehensiveness, liberalization, trade facilitation and cooperation, and consistency with the WTO Agreements.

    Investment protection between Indonesia and Denmark: Indonesian Foreign Minister Hassan Wirayuda and visiting Danish Foreign Minister Per Stig Moller signed 22 January in Jakarta an agreement on investment promotion and protection. Moller said he was sure the two "could have good cooperation on energy saving and renewable energy," adding that the Danish government is planning to fund a USD 30 million environmental project in Indonesia beginning in 2008. Hassan said that bilateral trade between the two countries stood at USD 200 million in 2005, while Danish companies invested USD 60 million in the country.

    Indonesian investment treaty with US: According to the officials at the office of the US Trade Representative, the US is studying the possibility of an investment treaty with Indonesia this year, in advance of a possible larger FTA. "A bilateral investment treaty, which is effectively the investment chapter of an FTA, is something we are exploring," said David Katz, the director of Southeast Asia and Pacific affairs in USTR. The two countries have held five formal Trade and Investment Framework Agreement meetings over the last two years.

    Thai go-ahead for JTEPA: January, the Thai Cabinet gave the go-ahead for the proposed Japan-Thailand Economic Partnership Agreement (JTEPA). Next step will be discussion in the Thai National Legislative Assembly.

    For India, FTA with EU "one of the easiest: Zee News (India) quotes Indian Minister of Commerce Kamal Nath as saying at a January business meeting in New Delhi: "One of the easiest trade agreements would be with the EU and it would open up new opportunities. We need to start negotiations on it as quickly as possible," Nath said while the completion of the Doha round of negotiations was important, it has to be ensured that the content is in conformity with the objects of the round. He said any agreement on Doha round of negotiations should not perpetuate the structural flaws in international trade.

    Pakistan to initiate FTA talks with EU: In a letter to José Manuel Barroso, President of the European Commission, executive arm of the EU, Pakistan's Prime Minister Shaukat Aziz said Pakistan has decided to initiate FTA talks with the EU.

    Egypt-EFTA FTA: 27 January, Ministers from the Member States of the European Free Trade Association (EFTA) and Egypt signed an FTA on the sidelines of the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland. It covers trade in industrial products, as well as fish and other marine products, and processed agricultural products.

    EFTA: Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway and Switzerland.

    ECOWAS asks to delay EU EPA: Leaders from the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) meeting at a January summit said that West Africa plans to ask the EU for a two-year delay to a planned economic partnership agreement (EPA). Niger's President Mamadou Tandja, who holds the rotating chair of ECOWAS, told his colleagues: "Our economic and industrial base still needs time to adjust beyond the 2008 deadline for concluding this partnership agreement." However, a spokesman for EU Aid Commissioner Louis Michel said a delay of two years was "out of the question", adding that the EPA deal should take effect when a WTO waiver allowing preferential treatment for African, Caribbean and Pacific (ACP) countries expires at the end of 2007.

    Kenya lobbyists oppose EU EPA: Lobbyists in Kenya opposed to an EPA with the EU, have expressed concern at a January statement from the Ministry of Trade and Industry that "Unless there is an Economic Partnership Agreement with the EU by the end of 2007, there will be an immediate loss of market opportunities in the EU." The lobbyists claim that thousands of farmers, artisans and hundreds of thousands of workers and their families will end up in deeper poverty if the Kenyan Government signs the FTA

    GCC-EU FTA expected soon: EU Trade Commissioner Peter Mandelson said mid-January he expects an FTA with the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) soon. The GCC is Europe's sixth largest export market, and the EU is the GCC's largest trading partner. Meanwhile, Gulf Times reports that Japan is expecting to finalise an FTA with the GCC by end 2007. "All the critical and substantial issues related to the agreement have been already resolved, and accordingly the substance of the agreement should be final by the end of 2007," Takuma Hatano, Japan's ambassador to the UAE, told reporters mid-January.

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

    Mercosur-GCC agreement "close": Representatives from Mercosur and the Gulf Cooperation Council met mid-January in Rio de Janeiro to discuss an FTA between both blocs. According to Brazil's Foreign Minister Celso Amorim, countries of Mercosur "want to come closer to the countries of the Gulf due to the volume of resources they have." This is the first FTA negotiated by Mercosur as a whole, and broad in its scope, covering three pillars, goods, services and investment.

    Mercosur: Argentina, Brazil, Paraguay, Uruguay and Venezuela.

    US Senate discusses Georgia FTA: Georgia's English-language daily The Messenger reported 24 January that the US Senate has been discussing a resolution to create a free trade policy and deepen the US government's relationship with Georgia. A proposal authored by US Senator Richard Lugar, quoted in the Messenger, says "The US should expand its relationship with the Republic of Georgia by commencing negotiations to enter into a free trade agreement."
    Labour rights wording to be renegotiated in US FTAs: The US administration said mid-January that it will renegotiate the language covering labour rights in FTAs it has reached with Peru, Colombia and Panama, to get the deals approved by the newly-installed Democrat majority in the US Congress. Deputy U.S. Trade Representative John Veroneau told reporters that the three countries had been notified. This, according to other US trade officials, does not mean that other sections of the FTAs will be renegotiated or that the deals will have to be signed again.

    Venezuela-Nicaragua cooperation. The Venezuelan National Assembly approved 25 January a framework agreement on cooperation between Venezuela and Nicaragua. The agreement reportedly covers trade as well as areas of health, education, culture, power supply, food, industry, rural development, petrochemicals, infrastructure, agriculture and cattle breeding, science and technology, environment and tourism.

    Panama FTAs: Following Panamanian parliament's ratification in 2006 of an FTA with Chile, commentators suggest that Chilean President Michelle Bachelet may use a March visit to Panama to attend the trade fair "Expocomer 2007" to make a formal announcement of the beginning of the Chilean-Panamanian FTA. Costa Rican Trade Minister, Marco Vinicio has also announced his country's interest in finishing FTA negotiations with Panama. He says the FTA is 90% ready to be signed.

    Dominican FTA with US "in limbo": Dominican Today reports that the FTA with the US and countries of Central America (DR-CAFTA) "has wandered into a state of limbo". It quotes US ambassador Hans Hertell as saying that the Dominican Republic has satisfied "almost" 100% of the requisites for initiating the DR-CAFTA". DR Foreign Trade director Vilma Arbaje, questioning the word "almost", reiterated that, as of December 2006, Dominican authorities had finalized their end of the process by modifying certain laws in the National Congress to satisfy suggestions made by the US.

    Uruguay signs TIFA with US: 25 January, Montevideo, representatives of the Government of Uruguay and of the Government of the US signed a Trade and Investment Framework Agreement (TIFA). In signing the agreement, both parties reaffirmed their commitment to expand economic opportunities between Uruguay and the US while simultaneously coordinating their efforts to promote greater trade liberalization through the WTO.