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  • Author: Cheon-Kee Lee
  • Publication Date: 04-2020
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Korea Institute for International Economic Policy (KIEP)
  • Abstract: On 14 January 2020 the United States, the European Union, and Japan (hereinafter referred to as “US-EU-Japan”) issued a trilateral joint statement, proposing a set of new rules to strengthen WTO regulation on industrial subsidies. While a total of seven joint announcements have been made so far, this is the first time that three WTO Members have presented specific ideas on how to amend existing subsidy rules. Many of the proposed amendments seem to primarily target China’s trade policy and practices. Among the six amendment items proposed in the Joint Statement, it seems that the United States is paying particular attention to the sixth item, i.e. in making explicit the possibility of using the out-of-country benchmark and on introducing necessary requirements to do so in measuring the benefit conferred and, ultimately, in calculating the amount of the countervailing duties (CVDs). Against this backdrop, in this Brief the author analyzes the relevant WTO provisions and GATT/WTO jurisprudence, and discusses various scenarios on future negotiations on WTO Reform on industrial subsidies.
  • Topic: World Trade Organization, Economy, Negotiation, Trade Policy, Industry
  • Political Geography: Japan, China, United States of America, European Union
  • Author: Yuka Fukunaga
  • Publication Date: 02-2020
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Institut français des relations internationales (IFRI)
  • Abstract: The multilateral trading system under the World Trade Organization (WTO) has been of the utmost importance for Japan's trade policy. In particular, Japan strongly supports the WTO’s rule-based dispute settlement mechanism, and frequently uses it. At the same time, in recent years, the adoption and implementation of regional and mega-regional trade agreements have become critical in Japan’s trade policy, with the stalling of the Doha Round negotiations in the WTO. Although the core of its trade policy remains the same today, Japan has been forced to rethink and modify it in response to the aggressive and unilateral trade policy of the Trump administration.
  • Topic: World Trade Organization, Governance, Internet, Free Trade, Trade Policy
  • Political Geography: Japan, China, Asia, South Korea, North America, United States of America, European Union
  • Author: Gary Clyde Hufbauer , Zhiyaou (Lucy) Lu
  • Publication Date: 10-2019
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Peterson Institute for International Economics
  • Abstract: In early 2019, several important members of the World Trade Organization (WTO) submitted noteworthy proposals in a realm of international commerce that has evolved faster than rules to govern it: e-commerce or digital trade. While countries agree on less controversial subjects like banning unsolicited commercial electronic messages, the three leading WTO members—China, the European Union, and the United States—have big differences in their approaches to more challenging issues: data flows, data localization, privacy invasions by data collectors, transfer of source code, imposition of customs duties and internet taxes, and internet censorship. Their differing viewpoints lead Hufbauer and Lu to conclude that the prospect of reaching a high-level WTO e-commerce agreement is not promising. To reach an agreement, either most of the contentious issues must be dropped or the number of participating countries must be sharply reduced. A WTO accord, even of low ambition, would have value if only to establish basic digital norms on matters such as banning unsolicited commercial messages and protecting online consumers from fraudulent practices. A more ambitious accord covering the controversial issues should be negotiated in bilateral and/or plurilateral/regional pacts rather than in the WTO.
  • Topic: Economics, World Trade Organization, Finance, Privacy, Data
  • Political Geography: China, Europe, Asia, North America, United States of America, European Union
  • Author: Alice Debarre
  • Publication Date: 12-2019
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: International Peace Institute
  • Abstract: In recent decades, sanctions have increasingly been used as a foreign policy tool. The UN Security Council has imposed a total of fourteen sanctions regimes alongside those imposed autonomously by the EU, the US, and other countries. Despite efforts to institute more targeted sanctions regimes, these regimes continue to impede or prevent the provision of humanitarian assistance and protection. This policy paper focuses on the impact of sanctions regimes in four countries: the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, Syria, Afghanistan, and Somalia. It aims to assist the Security Council, relevant UN organs, UN member states, humanitarian actors, and other stakeholders in ensuring that humanitarian activities are safeguarded in contexts in which sanctions regimes apply. While there are no straightforward solutions, the paper offers several ways forward: Including language that safeguards humanitarian activities in sanctions regimes; Raising awareness and promoting multi-stakeholder dialogue; Conducting better, more systematic monitoring of and reporting on the impact of sanctions on humanitarian activities; Developing more and improved guidance on the scope of sanctions regimes; and Improving risk management and risk sharing. This paper is accompanied by an issue brief that provides further detail on the types of impact sanctions can have on humanitarian action.
  • Topic: Humanitarian Aid, Sanctions, UN Security Council
  • Political Geography: Afghanistan, North Korea, Syria, Somalia, United States of America, European Union
  • Author: Valerie Niquet
  • Publication Date: 04-2019
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Japan Institute Of International Affairs (JIIA)
  • Abstract: For both Japan and the European Union, deepening their partnership in an increasingly unstable world has become an essential element, if not yet a priority. Since he came to power in 2012, Prime Minister Abe and his cabinet understand the importance of expanding cooperation opportunities for Japan beyond the scope of traditional alliances in order to implement the concept of proactive contribution to peace. This is also a priority for the European Union, that, like its most prominent member States, understands that the EU’s Asia policy cannot be summed up to its relations with China.
  • Topic: Bilateral Relations, European Union, Partnerships, Strategic Stability
  • Political Geography: Japan, Europe, European Union
  • Author: Simone Tagliapietra
  • Publication Date: 06-2019
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Bruegel
  • Abstract: The new members of the European Parliament and European Commission who start their mandates in 2019 should put in place major policy elements to unleash the energy transition. It is becoming economically and technically feasible, with most of the necessary technologies now available and technology costs declining. The cost of the transition would be similar to that of maintaining the existing system, if appropriate policies and regulations are put in place
  • Topic: Energy Policy, International Trade and Finance
  • Political Geography: European Union
  • Author: Frank Meixner, Pia Figge
  • Publication Date: 10-2019
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Institut français des relations internationales (IFRI)
  • Abstract: The German Legislation on Improving Law Enforcement in Social Networks (Netzwerkdurchsetzungsgesetz – NetzDG), which came into force on October 1, 2017, is the legislative response to how social networks handle complaints about illegal content. It does not advocate the implementation of new duties but concerns the enforcement of existing law. Its aim is the prompt removal of illegal content from the internet. This paper examines the intentions of the German legislator, the structure and implementation of the NetzDG, as well as first results. Regierungsdirektor Frank Meixner is Head of the German Federal Office for the Protection and Protection of Abroad (Bundesamt für Justiz) in Bonn. Regierungsrätin Pia Figge is a consultant to the Network Enforcement Act (Consumer Protection) of the Bundesamt für Justiz in Bonn.
  • Topic: Crime, Science and Technology, Internet, Social Media, Networks
  • Political Geography: Germany, European Union
  • Author: Garima Mohan
  • Publication Date: 09-2019
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Institut français des relations internationales (IFRI)
  • Abstract: The new European Union (EU) strategy on India marks a major moment of departure in EU-India relations. It reflects three critical shifts: firstly, the EU no longer views India from a “trade lens” only, recognizing its important geopolitical role in maintaining a multipolar Asia. Second, the strategy frames EU-India relations in the context of broader geopolitical developments, primarily the rise of China. Recognition of the China challenge and its impact not only in Europe, but also on the balance of power in Asia, has pushed the EU to change the nature of its partnerships in the region, particularly with India. Finally, the strategy links European security and prosperity to developments in Asia, broadening the scope of EU foreign policy substantially. This paper analyses the new EU strategy on India and highlights areas, which represent a departure from previous strategies. The paper looks specifically at proposals for greater foreign and security cooperation, for securing a rules-based order, increasing regional connectivity, improving trade and investment, and building better coordination on and with India. These proposals are commendable and respond to a long laundry list suggested by experts from both sides over a long time. They also fit well with India’s priorities, namely responding to increasing Chinese political, economic and military presence in South Asia, security in the Indian Ocean, as well as more proactive engagement in regional and global institutions. Finally, the paper suggests ways of taking this forward and ensuring the strategy does not remain a paper tiger in the long arsenal of EU-India declarations. While more dialogues on global and strategic issues is a great idea and will help change perceptions in New Delhi that the EU is not a strategic actor, the EU will have to ensure this is not hindered by the Indian Ministry of External Affairs’ already overstretched capacities and the 30 existing EU-India dialogues. Focusing on ongoing debates in India and Europe in these dialogues, particularly connectivity projects, maritime security in the Indian Ocean, 5G networks and infrastructure might also open up new avenues of cooperation. Overall the EU-India relationship has witnessed remarkable momentum over the last four years – aided by political will from both sides, the China challenge, friction in transatlantic ties, and common challenges within Europe and India. The new strategy is a good first step to build on this momentum. However, it needs to be translated into action fast.
  • Topic: Security, Foreign Policy, Bilateral Relations, Geopolitics
  • Political Geography: China, Europe, South Asia, India, European Union
  • Author: Wallace Cheng, Clara Brandi
  • Publication Date: 01-2019
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: German Development Institute (DIE)
  • Abstract: Digitalisation is transforming the economy and redefining trade. Recently, members of the World Trade Organization (WTO) have started to discuss how trade policies and rules should be adapted to address this transformation. For example, in January 2019, 76 WTO members announced the launch of “negotiations on trade-related aspects of electronic commerce”. The scope of these e-commerce negotiations is yet to be defined, but to ban tariffs on electronic trans­missions will certainly be on the priority list of WTO members such as the United States (US) and the European Union (EU). The idea of banning tariffs on electronic transmission originated at the WTO’s Ministerial Conference (MC) in 1998, when Members declared that they would “continue their current practice of not imposing customs duties on electronic transmissions”. This temporary moratorium on e-commerce tariffs needs to be regularly extended, requiring a decision made “by consensus”. Members have repeatedly extended the moratorium on tariffs on “electronic trans­missions”, most recently at the latest WTO MC in 2017. But the WTO e-commerce moratorium is increasingly disputed: First, while net exporters of digital products and services, typically industrialised countries, understand the tariff ban to apply to digital content, net importers interpret it as referring only to electronic carriers (e.g. CDs, electronic bits), which means that they regard themselves as permitted to impose customs duties on the content of online trade. Second, while net exporters like the US and the EU propose a permanent ban on e-commerce tariffs in order to provide greater certainty to consumers and business, arguing that the resulting revenue losses are small, net importers like India and South Africa underline that they suffer much greater revenue losses than industrialised countries and have to bear the brunt of the moratorium. Third, while industrialised countries argue that the ban on tariffs on electronic transmissions would reduce market distortions, developing countries are concerned that a permanent moratorium would limit their options to protect domestic products and services traded online. Fourth, the moratorium has stirred a debate about how to create a level playing field between domestic and foreign suppliers of digital products and services.
  • Topic: Development, Science and Technology, World Trade Organization, Digital Economy
  • Political Geography: India, South Africa, United States of America, European Union
  • Author: Roy van der Weide, Ambar Narayan, Mario Negre
  • Publication Date: 01-2019
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: German Development Institute (DIE)
  • Abstract: A country where an individual’s chances of success depend little on the socio-economic success of his or her parents is said to be a country with high relative intergenerational mobility. A government’s motivation for seeking to improve mobility is arguably two-fold. There is a fairness argument and an economic efficiency argument. When mobility is low, it means that individuals are not operating on a level playing field. The odds of someone born to parents from the bottom of their generation will be stacked against him or her. This is not only unfair but also leads to a waste of human capital, as talented individuals may not be given the opportunity to reach their full potential. Reducing this inefficiency will raise the stock of human capital and thereby stimulate economic growth. Since the waste of human capital tends to be concentrated toward the bottom of the distribution, the growth brought about by mobility-promoting policy interventions tends to be of an inclusive nature, in line with the spirit of Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 10 on reducing inequality. For large parts of the world’s population, individual education is still too closely tied to the education of one’s parents, and there is a clear divide between the high-income and developing world. The patterns observed globally are also observed within Europe. Intergenerational mobility (or equality of opportunity) is visibly lower in the new member states (i.e. Eastern Europe), where national incomes are lower. Raising investment in the human capital of poor children towards levels that are more comparable to the investment received by children from richer families will curb the importance of parental background in determining an individual’s human capital. Countries at any stage of development can raise intergenerational mobility by investing more to equalise opportunities. The evidence strongly suggests that public interventions are more likely to increase mobility when: a) public investments are sufficiently large, b) are targeted to benefit disadvantaged families/ neighbourhoods, c) focus on early childhood, and d) when there is a low degree of political power captured by the rich.
  • Topic: Education, Children, Inequality, Family, Economic Mobility
  • Political Geography: Europe, Global Focus, European Union