World Trade News - September 2023 edition


Trade Deals Around the World is our periodic update, giving you a quick and easy overview of what has happened in the many trade deal negotiations worldwide.
We focus on the European Union and the United Kingdom and watch China and the United States. In this update, we look back on August’s events.

The European Union

Switzerland and Singapore in discussions over a digital trade agreement

As the two largest financial wealth management centres, ranking first and second on the Deloitte’s International Wealth Management Centre Ranking in 2021, Switzerland and Singapore are heavily invested in the development of Fintech.

Furthermore, Switzerland’s investment in Singapore has increased by over 100% in recent years, making them Singapore’s largest investor from continental Europe.

Closely collaborating on Fintech and other key areas, the two countries have built a strong relationship since the signing of the 2003 EFTA-Singapore Free Trade Agreement. They are now in talks to build an addendum that supports their financial and digital trade.

Talks to continue with Australia on FTA

Differences over the trade of animal products and wine caused Australia to discontinue negotiations in July, but they will now continue. Both parties would like to diversify trade and continue to grow against changes in supply chains created by disputes with Russia and China.

Talks begin with India on new agreements

Executive Vice-President and Commissioner for Trade Valdis Dombrovskis visited India in late August to begin talks surrounding three high-level agreements: a Free Trade Agreement, an Investment Protection Agreement and a Geographical Indications Agreement.

The United Kingdom

UK-India Free Trade deal will likely conclude in 2024 as countries enter 13th round of negotiations

The UK and India continue to discuss the renewal of their free trade agreement, but sticking points on intellectual property remain – particularly surrounding pharmaceuticals.

With the delay to 2024, it is possible that the deal will not be completed by the current government of either country as elections are next year.

The rest of the world

Hong Kong, China and Ukraine accept Agreement on Fisheries Subsidies

Originally proposed in June 2022, the Agreement on Fisheries Subsidies is a global customs sustainability initiative from the World Trade Organization.

The aim of this agreement is to curb fish population decline with the use of Illegal, Unreported, and Unregulated (IUU) Catch Certificates, which will regulate legal fishing and block unlawful catches from entering the market.

For the agreement to be adopted, more than two thirds of the WTO must accept it. Currently, 16 of the WTO’s 164 members have accepted.

USA restricts investment in Chinese technology

The USA has increased their restrictions on Chinese technology, passing a bill that reduces the foreign investment in semiconductors and microelectronics, quantum computing and artificial intelligence. There are already restrictions on importing Chinese technology into the USA.

President Biden has confirmed the bill is to protect the USA’s national interests by not allowing China to use USA funds to get in a position to undermine export controls.

This follows last month’s restriction from China on exports of gallium and germanium, two key minerals for the semiconductor industry.

India has placed restrictions on imports of laptops and tablets to support “Made in India” plan

Coming into effect at the start of August, the sudden ban has been combined with a $2 billion project aimed at promoting domestic manufacturing as part of the Made in India initiative.

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