EU negociates or completes several Free Trade Agreements
The EU launches negotiations with Morocco, after having established already a free trade area covering essentially trade in goods under the EU-Morocco Association Agreement and the trade agreement with Peru lifting trade barriers came into force on March 1, 2013. The EU enters also into negotiations for a FTA Free Trade Agreement with Thailand
The future Deep and Comprehensive Free Trade Agreement (DCFTA) will extend significantly beyond the scope of the existing Association Agreement and will include services, government procurement, competition, intellectual property rights, investment protection and the gradual integration of the Moroccan economy into the EU single market, for example in areas like industrial standards and technical regulations or sanitary and phytosanitary measures. The main objective of the DCFTA is to bring Moroccan legislation closer to EU legislation in trade related areas.
The trade barriers between the EU and Peru have been lifted on March 1, 2013, when the EU’s ambitious and comprehensive trade agreement concluded with Peru and Colombia in 2012 will be provisionally applied with Peru. The Agreement will open up markets for both EU and Peruvian exporters and eventually bring annual savings of more than EUR 500 million. The more improved, stable conditions for trade and investment are expected to bring the biggest gains. The EU is Peru’s third largest source of imports (mainly machinery and transport equipment) and the main destination for its exports (mainly fuels and mining products). The trade agreement represents an important opportunity for Peruvian agricultural and fisheries exports which already represent almost one third of the country’s exports to the EU. The EU-Peru trade has grown significantly in recent years and its volume reached EUR 9.2 billion in 2011, corresponding to 16 % of Peru’s trade volume. The EU remains the largest investor in Peru (more than 50 % of FDI Foreign Direct Investment), concentrating mainly in communications, extractive industries and banking as well as finance. The next in EU line will be Columbia.
On March 6, 2013, EU Commission President, José Manuel Barroso and Thai Prime Minister, Yingluck Shinawatra, launched the negotiations for an FTA between the EU and Thailand. EU Trade Commissioner De Gucht and the Thai Minister of Commerce Boonsong had met a day before to formally agree on the start of FTA negotiations. The aim is to conclude a comprehensive agreement covering tariffs, non-tariff barriers and other trade related issues, such as services, investment, procurement, regulatory issues, competition, and sustainable development. The launch marks an important step in EU-Thai relations, already strengthened by a partnership and Cooperation Agreement. The first negotiation round is expected to take place before the summer break. Thailand is the EU’s third largest trading partner inside ASEAN and the EU is Thailand’s third largest trading partner. Trade in 2012 was reaching nearly EUR 32 billion, thereof EU exports EUR 14.8 billion and EU imports EUR 16.9 billion. The EU is also one of the largest investors in Thailand with investment in stocks worth over EUR 14 billion in 2011. The FTA should deliver substantial economic gains and put the EU on par with partners who have already concluded FTA’s with Thailand (China, India, Japan, Korea, Australia and New Zealand). ASEAN has ten member countries: Brunei Darussalam, Myanmar, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Philippines, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam. In 2011 ASEAN was the EU’s fifth largest trading partner with EUR 212.8 billion of trade in goods and services. In turn, the EU is ASEAN’s third largest trading partner after China and Japan, accounting for around 10.5 % of the bloc’s trade. The EU is additionally by far the largest investor in ASEAN countries accounting for an average of 17.1 % during 2009-11.