Preferential Trade updates 01/22

January 18, 2022

Armenian government greenlights ratification of free trade agreement between EAEU and Singapore

The Armenian government has greenlighted the ratification of the framework agreement between the Eurasian Economic Union and Singapore. The Agreement on Comprehensive Economic Cooperation stipulates a commitment to the multilateral development of the interaction of the parties, the purpose of which is to promote the trade of goods, services, the expansion of cooperation, as well as the provision of modern standards for capital investment, establishment of companies and ensuring modern standards for protection of activity. At the same time, the above-mentioned agreement stipulates the intention of the parties to conclude agreements on free trade in goods, investments and services, in accordance with the rules and authorities defined by the latter. The purpose of the agreement is to create a favorable environment, conditions for the development of mutual trade relations, to promote economic cooperation between the parties in areas of mutual interest, as well as to eliminate trade and investment barriers between the parties, reduce business costs and increase economic efficiency. The government also approved the ratification of the Agreement on Free Trade between EAEU member states and Singapore. 

Bangladesh, Singapore agree on accelerating signing of FTA

Bangladesh and Singapore have agreed to accelerate the signing of free trade agreement (FTA) to boost trade and investment. The development came as Foreign Minister spoke over the phone with Singapore’s Foreign Minister. 

Britain and India aim to finalize FTA agreement by year-end

Britain and India formally launched free trade agreement talks with the aim of wrapping up a deal by the end of the year that could boost annual bilateral trade by billions of pounds. Britain has made a deal with India one of its post-Brexit priorities as, free from the European Union’s common trade policy, ministers look to gear trade policy towards faster-growing economies around the Indo-Pacific region. Britain said the deal could almost double British exports to India, and by 2035 boost total trade by 28 billion pounds ($38.3 billion) per year. Total trade in 2019 was worth 23 billion pounds, according to British statistics. 

China, Cambodia speed up FTA implementation

China and Cambodia will step up the implementation of their free trade agreement (FTA), which took effect from January 1, to benefit businesses and people of both countries, according to a statement by the Ministry of Commerce of China. Under the deal, over 90 percent of tariff lines in trade in goods for both sides will be zero, and the service market commitment also represents the highest level among the two sides’ agreements with their free trade partners respectively. At the same time, both sides also agreed to strengthen investment cooperation, and carry out in-depth cooperation on Belt and Road Initiative, e-commerce, economic technologies. 

Ecuador applies to join CPTPP trade pact

Ecuador has become the latest country to apply for membership in the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership, or CPTPP. The Ecuadorian foreign ministry told that the country submitted an application to New Zealand, the depository for the free trade agreement. Ecuador is in South America with the Pacific Ocean to the west. It is an exporter of oil, bananas, cacao and shrimp. 

India, Taiwan start talks on free trade agreement

India and Taiwan have begun talks on a free trade pact and creating a semiconductor manufacturing hub in the country as part of efforts to meet the burgeoning demand for the chips needed for products ranging from cellphones to cars. The two sides set up four groups earlier this year that are focusing on creating a semiconductor manufacturing hub, education and training of highly specialised manpower needed for the industry, a bilateral investment agreement and a free trade agreement. Both sides are eyeing the possibility of one of Taiwan’s semiconductor giants, a list that includes Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company (TSMC) and United Microelectronics Corporation (UMC), setting up a facility in India. The Indian side has proposed several sites for the facility though the two sides are yet to come to a final decision. 

Pakistan and GCC finalise strategic dialogue to boost trade ties

Pakistan and the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) finalised an action plan for strategic dialogue to deepen cooperation in various fields. The Joint Action Plan for Strategic Dialogue (2022-2026) provides an institutional approach to deepen cooperation in various fields, including security, political, trade and investment, agricultural and food security, transportation, energy, environment, health, culture and education. The progress was made during the visit of GCC Secretary-General to Pakistan on an invitation extended by the Pakistani foreign minister during his last visit to Islamabad to attend the 17th Extraordinary Session of the Organisation of Islamic Corporation (OIC) in December 2021. 

Philippines and the United Arab Emirates (UAE) agreed to start trade talks

The Philippines and the United Arab Emirates (UAE) agreed to start scoping discussions on a possible comprehensive economic partnership agreement (CEPA). Both governments recognize the large potential to expand bilateral trade and investment relations and are working towards the finalization of key agreements that will pave the way for the start of the broader CEPA negotiations. According to the trade chief, the CEPA will build on the shared objectives of the Philippines and UAE being pursued under the proposed Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) on Economic and Technical Cooperation and the Investment Promotion and Protection Agreement (IPPA) which are both underway. 

Georgia, Turkey talk expanding free trade agreement

Georgia’s Minister of Economy and Sustainable Development and Turkish Minister of Trade agreed on discussing further liberalization of tariffs and trade in services at the Free Trade Committee meeting on December 23 in Tbilisi. The issue was discussed within the framework of the Georgia-Azerbaijan-Turkey Business Forum, which was held in Baku on December 14. The parties noted the successful cooperation between Georgia and Turkey in trade, energy, transport, communications, tourism and other economic sectors. 

Morocco, Egypt finally agree to sign trade agreement

Morocco’s Minister of Industry and Trade revealed that the negotiations between Morocco and Egypt around their free trade deal have resulted in an agreement. The minister announced the news during a parliamentary session while answering a written question from representatives of the Party of Progress and Socialism. Under the Agadir agreement, which establishes free trade between Morocco and several of its neighbors, Renault cars manufactured in Tangier will now be able to enter the Egyptian market without paying any custom fees. The Moroccan Institute for Normalization (IMANOR) will be responsible for certifying and ensuring that Moroccan factories and Moroccan-produced goods adhere to various international standards. Egypt has agreed to use IMANOR’s standards and let its approved products into its markets. 

South Korea to adopt RCEP tariff rates starting from February 1

Ministry of Finance on Thursday announced that South Korea will adopt the favorable tariff rates of the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) trade pact starting from February 1, as the country has finished ratification of the deal. The RCEP came into force on January 1 after 10 countries finished ratifying the pact, extending Asia-Pacific industrial chains and forming the world’s largest free trade zone.
After the RCEP comes into force in South Korea, the pact will play a role in enhancing regional trade and economic cooperation and help RCEP members to enjoy win-win results and mutual benefits, said a statement from the ministry. Under the RCEP, tariffs on some semiconductor modules will be lowered to zero, a move estimated to help mitigate global chip shortages. 

South Korea, India to resume talks on upgrading trade pact next month

South Korea and India have agreed to resume negotiations to upgrade their bilateral trade pact next month after more than two years of hiatus. The two nations implemented the Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement (CEPA) in January 2010 and began talks to upgrade the pact in 2015. But negotiations have been suspended since June 2019 due to the COVID-19 pandemic and other issues.
South Korea’s Trade Minister and India’s Commerce and Industry Minister met in New Delhi and agreed to hold official talks for the upgrade of the pact within next month, according to the Ministry of Trade, Industry and Energy. The envisioned talks are expected to focus on ways to further open up the goods and services market and ease country of origin rules, officials said. 

US removes Ethiopia, Mali and Guinea from AGOA trade programme

The United States has cut Ethiopia, Mali and Guinea out of a duty-free trade programme over alleged human rights violations and recent coups. In a statement, the US Trade Representative (USTR) said it terminated the three countries from the African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA) “due to actions taken by each of their governments in violation of the AGOA Statute”. The AGOA trade legislation provides sub-Saharan African nations with duty-free access to the US if they meet certain eligibility requirements, such as eliminating barriers to US trade and investment and making progress towards political pluralism. In 2020, 38 countries were eligible for AGOA.


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