Archive for March, 2012

Canada and Japan Free Trade Negotiations

The governments of Canada and Japan agreed to formally start talks aimed at forging a free trade agreement between the two countries. If established, the free trade agreements (FTA) would be Japan’s first with a country from the Group of Eight major economies.  An FTA between these two highly-developed trading partners seek to boost economic, energy and security relations.
 
The negotiation are seeking to develop and achieve long-range goals as:
–       Increased Trade and Investment
–       Opening Markets to Goods and Services
–       Regulation on Non-Tariff Barriers
–       Promoting Innovation
–       Promoting Transparency
–       Entrepreneurship and Increasing Flows of People
 
Canada currently pursuing treaties with the European Union, South Korea and India, Ottawa would also begin free trade talks with Thailand. Japan’s current priorities for economic integration are focused on the Pacific Rim and ASEAN areas. In 2011, Japan signed concluded an FTA with Mexico (September 23) and signed Economic Partnership Agreements (EPA) with the Republic of India (June 30) and Peru (May 31). At this moment, Japan is involved in advanced negations of an EPA with Australia.
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New Statistical Model for Global Trade in Value-added

15 March 2012
 
Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) and World Trade Organisation (WTO) have launched a joint initiative to measure trade in the value that is added by a country – through labour compensation, taxes and profits – in the production of any good or service. The two organisations will develop a new statistical model since the international fragmentation of production is blurring the concept of country of origin.
 
Please refer to the next link for more information: Measuring Trade in Value-Added.

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Inauguration of the New EU Agency for Large-scale IT Systems

22 March 2012, Tallinn, Estonia
 
A new agency for managing large-scale EU information systems has been inaugurated, but it is due to become fully operational as of December 2012, for ensuring the continuous, uninterrupted exchange of data between EU’s national authorities.
 
The main task will be to en­sure that the Visa Information (VIS) and EURODAC systems operate 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Also, from March 2013, the agency will also manage the second generation Schengen Information System (SIS II).
 
The Agency it will be responsible for matters related to the security of the mention information systems, the communication infrastructure and activities like developing and managing other IT systems, monitoring and reporting, statistics and training for national authorities.
In the area of freedom, security and justice, the three large-scale information technology (IT) systems developed by the European Commission are:
  • EURODAC (an IT system for comparing the fingerprints of asylum seekers and irregular migrants)
  • The Visa Information System (VIS) (supports the implementation of the common visa policy and facilitates effective border control)
  • The second-generation Schengen Information System (SIS II) (facilitate the exchange of information on persons and objects between national border control authorities, police, customs, visa and judicial authorities throughout the Schengen Area)

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The EU’s Public Procurement Market May Be Blocked for Some Foreign Companies

21 March 2012, Brusssels
 
The European Commission proposes to block from bidding for public contracts in Europe some foreign companies (like Chinese, American or Japanese companies) if their countries are consider to be excluding bids from European firms.
This measure can increase tensions over protectionism in international trade, especial between the signature countries of the General Procurement Agreement deal from the World trade Organization.
Public procurement affects a substantial share of world trade flows and amounts to EUR1,000 billion per year.
 
Further information on:
http://ec.europa.eu/internal_market/publicprocurement/modernising_rules/international_access/index_en.htm
http://ec.europa.eu/trade/creating-opportunities/trade-topics/public-procurement/

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New FAO Statistical Yearbook 2012

20 March 2012, Rome
 
The FAO’s Statistical Yearbook is a wide-range collection and a main reference point for statistical data on food and agriculture. The new Statistical Yearbook 2012 present revised format that give a better picture around food and agriculture numbers related to economic, environmental and social trends and issues.
 
The Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) was founded in October 1945 and is the largest autonomous agency within the United Nations system. The main objectives of the organisation are to raise levels of nutrition and standards of living, to improve agricultural productivity, to encourage sustainable agriculture and rural development, to implant strategies for the conservation and management of natural resources.
 
The FAO statistical publication is divided in five parts:
Part I – The Setting (the state of the agricultural resource base, people and demography, labour, capital, infrastructure, macroeconomic dates)
Part II – Hunger Dimensions (with reviews regarding: risks, hazards and shocks, malnutrition, trade and food security, food prices and food price volatility, education, health and sanitation)
Part  III – Feeding the World (taking a tour of: trends in crop sector, in the livestock sector, in the fisheries sector and in agricultural trade)
Part IV – Sustainability Dimensions (examines the sustainability of agriculture, land, water, pollution, climate change, biodiversity and conservation, organic farming, genetically modified crops)
Part V – Metadata (concepts, methods and bibliography)
 
Every section of the yearbook is accompanied by background and narrative text, charts, maps and references to additional publication. The FAO document is available in both online and print forms.

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The Updated UN Model Double Taxation Convention

The United Nations announced on March 14th  that it has updated a set of guidelines to prevent double taxation between countries and as well to avoid tax evasion. The revised UN convention aims to encourage foreign investment, combat corporate tax evasion and avoid the double taxation.
 
The UN Model Double Taxation Convention between Developed and Developing Countries play a key role on bilateral tax treaties between countries. The UN Model Tax Convention, as well as the OECD Model Tax Convention have a profound influence on international treaty practice.

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WTO launches new database on Preferential Trade Arrangements

The WTO launched on March 14th a new publically available database on non-reciprocal preferential schemes.
 
The Transparency Mechanism for Preferential Trade Arrangements (PTAs) is a WTO agreement which aims to increase members’ and the public’s understanding about the legal nature, history and background of each preferential trade arrangement, the range of products covered and the types of preferential treatment offered.
 
The Preferential Trade Arrangements (PTAs) are understood to mean non-reciprocal preferential schemes and they are distinct from Regional Trade Agreements (RTAs), which are covered by the Transparency Mechanism for RTAs.
 
The information on RTAs notified to the WTO is available in the RTA Database and the information on PTAs notified to the WTO is available in the PTA Database.
For further details please consult the user guide  and/or check the WTO’s webpage.

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SWIFT Excludes the EU-sanctioned Iranian Banks

The Society for Worldwide Interbank Financial Telecommunication, or SWIFT, cuts the EU-sanctioned Iranian banks out of the system following an EU Council decision. The measure will come into force at 1600 GMT on Saturday, March 17th.
 
Lázaro Campos, CEO of SWIFT: “Disconnecting banks is an extraordinary and unprecedented step for SWIFT. It is a direct result of international and multilateral action to intensify financial sanctions against Iran.”
 
SWIFT is a member-owned association that provides the communications platform, products and services to connect more than 10,000 financial institutions and corporations in 210 countries.
 
For more information, please refer to SWIFT and Council of the European Union.

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Signature of EUROCHAMBRES/ ICC Cooperation Agreement

The EUROCHAMBRES and ICC signed on March 13th a cooperation agreement to enhance collaborative efforts and communication between the two organizations.
 
Sharing the same goal of promoting international trade as a driving force for economic growth and prosperity, both organization include in this agreement issues as regulation of the financial markets, alternative dispute resolution and representation of business at the G20.
 
The Association of European Chambers of Commerce and Industry (EUROCHAMBRES) and the International Chamber of Commerce (ICC) are the transnational organizations that serves the economical interests of its members and the global trade in general.

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Updated Rules on Conflicts of Interest from EFSA

The European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) has published on March 5th the rules related to Declarations of Interest (DOIs) in the framework of its recently adopted Policy on Independence and Scientific Decision-Making Processes. The rules will enter into force as of 1 July 2012, with a 4-month transition period.
 
The new rules provide an explicit and more transparent set of general principles applicable to all those engaging in EFSA’s activities – scientific experts, staff, members of the Management Board and third party organisations, including external contractors.
 
The main new features of the Implementing Rules are:
–          Greater scrutiny and more safeguards
–          Greater clarity and transparency
–          Access to the best scientific expertise while ensuring impartiality
 
More information and details on the EFSA’s website.

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