Preferential Trade updates January 2023

January 17, 2023

Canada extends copyright protection another 20 years to meet new trade obligation

Canada will not add any new books, songs or plays to the public domain until 2043 after the government pushed through a change in copyright laws just before the end of 2022. Until December 30, copyright protection for literary, dramatic, musical or artistic works lasted for the lifetime of their author plus an additional 50 years.

But from that date, an artistic work does not enter the public domain for the lifetime of the author plus an additional 70 years. The amendment brings Canada to honor a commitment it made under the new North American Free Trade Agreement to bring its copyright protections in line with those in the United States since 1998. This agreement gave Canada until December 31, 2022 to adjust and it exceeded the deadline by one day.

In a statement from the office of Innovation Minister Francois-Philippe Champagne, the government said the change also puts Canada in line with many other countries, including those in Europe, the United Kingdom and Australia.

Chile becomes 10th nation to ratify TPP

The Chilean government has informed New Zealand, the depository for the Trans-Pacific Partnership agreement, that it has completed ratification procedures for the free trade pact. The TPP was signed by 11 countries, including Chile, New Zealand, Japan, Australia and Canada, in March 2018. Brunei now remains the only signatory that has yet to complete ratification procedures. The Chilean parliament approved the TPP in October this year. The South American nation’s ratification was delayed due to Boric withholding signing off on the trade pact, which was the final procedure in the ratification process, in order to ask other TPP members to sign side letters accepting his request.

Bosnia and Herzegovina set for EU candidate status

The leaders of the European Union unanimously decided to grant EU candidate status to Bosnia and Herzegovina on 15 December. This decision answers the demand from the citizens of Bosnia and Herzegovina to live in dignity, peace and prosperity. It provides a drive for the country. Bosnia and Herzegovina applied for EU membership in 2016, but its bid has languished amid enlargement fatigue that has stalled EU aspirations across the Western Balkans.

European Union and Thailand sign Partnership and Cooperation Agreement

The European Union and Thailand signed the EU-Thailand Partnership and Cooperation Agreement (PCA) in Brussels. This agreement will enhance the political dialogue on issues of global concern and will give more scope for mutually-beneficial cooperation in a wide number of policy areas, including the environment, energy, climate change, transport, science and technology, trade, employment and social affairs, human rights, education, agriculture, non-proliferation, counter-terrorism, the fight against corruption and organised crime, migration and culture. It will frame EU - Thai relations in the years to come.
High Representative/Vice-President said: "Thailand is a longstanding partner for the EU in Asia. With the Agreement signed we will be strengthening our dialogue and cooperation. The signing of the PCA shows the importance and the potential of our bilateral relations. The EU and Thailand are committed to working together in support of the rules-based international order as well as to advancing regional prosperity and stability.” The signing ceremony marks the successful closure of long negotiations. The Agreement was initialled on 2 September 2022 by the chief negotiators of the European Union and Thailand. The PCA will enter into force once it has been ratified by the EU Member States and Thailand. The Agreement foresees the provisional application upon completion of the necessary procedures by both parties.

European Union: Commission reports on tenth negotiation round with five Eastern and Southern African countries to deepen existing Economic Partnership Agreement

The European Commission has published the report summarising progress made during the latest negotiation round to deepen the existing Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA) with five Eastern and Southern African partners. As part of its transparency commitment, the European Commission has published the report summarising progress made during the latest negotiation round to deepen the existing Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA) with five Eastern and Southern African partners (ESA5): Comoros, Madagascar, Mauritius, Seychelles and Zimbabwe.

The tenth negotiation round took place both in Brussels and via video conference from 12-16 December 2022. This round included discussions on eight out of the thirteen thematic parts covered by these negotiations.
As usual, the meeting was held in a positive and constructive atmosphere. Progress varied on each of the thematic chapters.
The next round is tentatively scheduled to take place in March 2023.

Indonesia, EU to expedite IEU-CEPA negotiations

Indonesia and the European Union (EU) agreed to accelerate the Indonesia-EU Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement (IEU-CEPA) negotiations, marked by the successful completion of the substance of financial services arrangements under the services trade framework.

Moreover, Indonesia and EU also made progress in discussing various issues, especially concerning the origin of goods and technical barriers to trade in the 12th round of the IEU-CEPA.

Malaysia, EU seal partnership and cooperation agreement

Malaysia is heading in the right direction by signing several free trade agreements (FTA) with recognised Asean member countries as well as bilateral partners as one of the best ways to open up foreign markets for Malaysian exporters. After a series of negotiations from October 2010 and an initial agreement in April 2016, the European Union (EU) and Malaysia signed the EU-Malaysia Partnership and Cooperation Agreement (EU-MY PCA) during the inaugural Asean-EU Commemorative Summit in Brussels on Dec 14, 2022, a significant milestone in the history of the EU-Malaysia relationship. The agreement lays the ground for mutually beneficial cooperation in multiple policy areas – environment, transport, trade and employment to name a few.

Valid for five years, this agreement is in recognition of the importance of the cooperation between EU and Asean member countries as well as it will serve to enhance cooperation and diversify relations in areas of mutual interest. The EU-MY PCA will pave a promising path towards recommencing discussions on the EU-Malaysia Free Trade Agreement (MEUFTA) which covers 16 areas spanned more than 13 working groups, which include market access for goods, services, investment, intellectual property rights and sustainability development.

Norway renewed the GSP List 

Norway has renewed the GSP list, which includes the following changes:

  • Kenya is moved from other low-income countries (LDC-treatment) to GSP+
  • Tajikistan is moved from other low-income countries (LDC-treatment) to GSP+
  • Paraguay is moved from GSP+ to ordinary GSP
  • Guyana is moved from GSP+ to ordinary GSP
  • Antigua and Barbuda is no longer eligible for GSP-preference

South Korea seeks to sign over 10 free trade deals this year

South Korea will push to clinch free trade agreements (FTAs) with more than 10 nations and a trade promotion framework with over 20 nations this year in an effort to boost growth momentum and diversify its trade portfolio. During a trade advisory committee meeting, Trade Minister announced the government’s plan to push for signing FTAs with at least 10 nations this year with a greater focus on strengthening cooperation in supply chains and other new trade issues, according to the Ministry of Trade, Industry and Energy. The government will also seek to sign a Trade and Investment Promotion Framework, or TIPF, with more than 20 nations in 2023, in case signing a bilateral FTA is not allowed and a fresh momentum for strategic cooperation is needed, it added.

Sri Lanka to restart trade deal talks with India, China and Thailand 

Sri Lanka will restart negotiations on trade pacts with India, China and Thailand after a four-hear hiatus, as the crisis-hit country races to seal deals to help it rebuild its economy. The island of 22 million is in the midst of its worst financial crisis in over seven decades, triggered by a severe shortage of foreign exchange that has left the country struggling to pay for fuel, food and medicine. Officials from Thailand are scheduled to arrive in Sri Lanka on Monday to start the third round of talks after negotiations were suspended in 2018, said K.J. Weerasinghe, Sri Lanka’s Chief Negotiator of Free Trade Agreements (FTAs).

Negotiations with India and China, Sri Lanka’s biggest trading partners accounting for about $5 billion each in bilateral trade in 2021, are expected to begin in February and March.

Switzerland hopes to conclude free-trade negotiations with India in 2023

The negotiations on the Free Trade Agreement (FTA) between India and Switzerland will resume in February this year when the Swiss trade secretary will be on a visit to New Delhi. The FTA will be a great opportunity for Swiss investments in India to grow triple-fold.

Hopeful of an FTA to be signed in 2023, Switzerland’s ambassador to India told that "Both sides don’t want to see negotiations dragging on as in the past but a lot of things have changed. India’s position has changed. Switzerland is open for business when it comes to trade negotiations. So in 2023, I expect both sides to look into their negotiating positions and then assess whether wrapping up the negotiation is possible."

UK Generalised Scheme of Preferences Updates

The Developing Countries Trading Scheme (DCTS) will replace the current Generalised Scheme of Preferences in early 2023. Trade preferences reduce or remove rates of duty (tariffs) on imports from eligible developing countries into the UK. Eligible developing countries can get trade preferences through the UK Generalised Scheme of Preferences (GSP).
The UK GSP has 3 frameworks:

  • Least Developed Countries Framework
  • General Framework
  • Enhanced Framework

US cuts off Burkina Faso from Africa duty-free trade program

The United States has dropped Burkina Faso from its AGOA trade preference program citing deep concerns over "unconstitutional change" in government in the West African country, the U.S. Trade Representative’s (USTR) office confirmed. Frustrations over the government’s inability to curb an Islamist insurgency spurred two military coups in Burkina Faso in 2022. Both the previous and current juntas have made efforts to beef up security, but Islamist attacks have continued. Burkina Faso had committed to return to constitutional rule in 24 months in a July agreement with West African regional bloc ECOWAS.

The U.S. African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA) provides sub-Saharan African nations with duty-free access to the United States if they meet certain eligibility requirements, such as eliminating barriers to U.S. trade and investment and making progress toward political pluralism.

US plans $55bn investment in Africa, keys into AfCFTA

The United States of America (USA) has revealed a blueprint that will enable a massive investment inflow into Africa, as Joe Biden’s administration begins winning the heart of African leaders. In the next three years, the US is considering a $55 billion investment in the continent. Under the new strategy, the US is set to sign a memorandum with the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) – one of the world’s biggest free-trade areas – which Biden said, would unlock new opportunities for trade and investment between the US and Africa.

US: Protocol amending the US-Japan Trade Agreement's Beef Safeguard Provisions taken effect on January 1, 2023

United States Trade Representative and Japan’s Ambassador to the United States, confirmed in an exchange of letters that amendments to the beef safeguard trigger level under the U.S.-Japan Trade Agreement (USJTA) will enter into force on January 1, 2023. The letters confirm that both countries have completed their respective domestic procedures with respect to the June 2, 2022, Protocol Amending the Trade Agreement Between Japan and the United States of America (Protocol) and also confirm the agreed upon entry into force date of January 1, 2023.


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