Business Breakfast Forum | In Pursuit of Services Trade and Investment Outcomes in the Australia/European Union FTA – 2 December 2016 in Sydney

On 2 December 2016, The EU Centre for Global Affairs collaborated with the Australian Services Roundtable (ASR) and the European Australian Business Council (EABC) to sponsor a high profile European business visitor, Pascal Kerneis, Managing Director of the European Services Forum and Member of the Steering Committee for the Australia EU Leadership Forum , to address a Business Breakfast Forum which took more than 50 participants on a business roller coaster ride across the highs, the lows and the bumps in the current services trade negotiating landscape, from doldrums in the GATS and heights of success with TPP, to crisis with TTIP, through BREXIT, across hiccups with CETA, to the end-game with TISA, a new initiative in APEC, the impact of the Trump Administration, EU intentions in Asia and the prospects, against that background, for a safe and successful landing with the Australia/EU FTA. See presentation here.


Asia FDI Forum II – Hong-Kong – China Investment Strategy

ESF Director contributed to the Chinese University of Hong Kong “Asia FDI Forum II” which was held in Hong Kong on 29-30 November 2016. This is a 2-day scientific meeting with a theme on the international investment law and policy regime in Asia was entitled this year: “China`s Three-Prong Investment Strategy: Bilateral, Regional, and Global Track”.  See his presentation here.

Potentials for Strengthening EU-Taiwan Trade and Investment Relations

The inclusion of Taiwan in the Commission’s new Trade Communication “Trade for all”, adopted in October 2015, is a major step in the right direction, stating that “the EU will explore launching negotiations on investment with Taiwan”. A Bilateral Investment Agreement (BIA) with Taiwan would go beyond investment protection, adopting a comprehensive approach with respect to market access as well as to rules that improve the overall regulatory framework. The report entitled “Taiwan and EU Trade and Economic Relations: The Case for a Deep and Comprehensive Bilateral Investment Agreement” drafted by ESF, and co-sponsored by the Bureau of Foreign Trade of Taiwan, was to be presented on 24th November in Brussels at the European Institute for Asian Studies – EIAS. The Report was presented during a seminar at the European Institute for Asian Studies in presence of Ms Mei-Hua WANG, Vice-Minister of Economic Affairs, Taiwan. It aims at making an in-depth survey on the potential benefits of an EU-Taiwan trade and investment agreement for both sides; focusing on assessing the potential gains for the European services sector that could result from a liberalization of the Taiwanese market. The report furthermore identifies the specific issues that a potential bilateral investment agreement should address and asks whether Taiwan could potentially become a hub in East Asia for European companies.  It then make suggestion on the content of a Deep and Comprehensive BIA.

Global Services Coalition presses for strong and clear TiSA provisions on Data Localization

In a Joint Statement issued on 20 September 2016, the Global Services Coalition is urging TiSA negotiators to redouble their efforts to reach agreement on strong and effective rules for all services sectors guaranteeing free flow of data and prohibiting forced data localisation. As businesses around the world compete in the global market, the free flow of data across borders has become the life blood of trade. All trade in goods and services – from the placing of an order to confirmation of delivery – now involves the electronic transfer of data. Data-transfer is today’s all-purpose means of business communication, spurring economic growth and innovation in all industries. This means that forced data localization policies and practices, where they exist or are proposed, have emerged as a major trade barrier, threatening to disrupt the continued growth and success of trade and commerce worldwide.

Canadian and European services industries call for prompt implementation of CETA

The Canadian Services Coalition (CSC) and the European Services Forum (ESF) call on the European Union and its member states and on the Canadian government to swiftly sign the Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (CETA). “CETA should be ratified and implemented as soon as possible”, they said in a joint statement.

Business groups express their continued support for TTIP negotiations

On 5 September 2016, after calls in the press to alt TTIP talks by some political leaders in some EU Member States, a group of European trade associations – including the European Services Forum – reiterate their strong support for the ongoing negotiations for a Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) in a joint statement.  Business groups on both sides of the Atlantic remain ready and willing to engage with all stakeholders to support these efforts.

Global Services Coalition call on the TiSA negotiators to intensify efforts toward a high ambition agreement

A 45 strong delegation of business representatives from the Global Services Coalition went to Geneva during the nineteenth round of TiSA talks (8-18/07/2016) to provide further insights into the views of the services industries, and to urge all TiSA participants to maintain a high level of momentum in improving market access offers and finalizing work on rules. GSC supports completion of the TiSA negotiations by the end of the year if such negotiations produce a high-standard agreement that includes strengthened services disciplines and yields new market access on a wide range of commercially meaningful sectors.

Please find attached the full statement adopted by the GSC on 11 July 2016.

Business Alliance for TTIP Joint Statement: High expectations for 14th round – “EU and US must deliver now on TTIP”

Brussels, 11 July 2016 – The 14th round of negotiations for a Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) agreement between the EU and the US will take place this week in Brussels. Ahead of this critical round, the Business Alliance for TTIP stresses to the EU and the US that the time must be now to make critical progress towards the conclusion of a comprehensive TTIP deal that could boost growth, competitiveness and jobs on both sides of the Atlantic. See Statement here.

ESF as member of the new Transatlantic Financial Regulatory Coherence (TFRC) Coalition

The Coalition, which represents a large part of the transatlantic financial services community, has been brought together by a strong and shared belief on both sides of the Atlantic that improving regulatory cooperation between the U.S. and EU must be a priority. It believes that a comprehensive Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) that includes both market-opening measures and a framework for regulatory coherence in financial services is the best way of achieving this. See Press Release and letter to relevant EU and US institutions.

GSC and Global industry associations letters on China regulation imposing “controllable” informatisation systems

Services Coalitions from Colombia, EU, Japan, UK and US sent to Mr. Xiang Junbo, Chairman of the China Insurance Regulatory Commission (CIRC) a letter to express concerns regarding China’s April 19, 2016 notification G/TBT/N/CHN/1172 to the Committee on Technical Barriers to Trade of the World Trade Organization on the Provisions on Insurance System Informatisation.  ESF also signed a global industry association letter on the same issue.

ESF Comments on European Commission Trade Policy Strategy

ESF Chairman Sir Thomas Harris sent a letter on 29 April 2016 to the European Commission forwarding the Comments of the European Services Forum on the new EU Trade Policy Strategy.  ESF welcomed the comprehensive and ambitious strategy.  Many of the issues of concerns to the European services sectors have been mentioned and ESF considers that the assessments and recommendations made are going in the right direction.  ESF Position paper is providing opinion and priorities on the various sections of the Commission Communication “Trade For All” that are of interest to European Services sectors.

GSC call on the TiSA negotiators to intensify efforts toward a high ambition agreement

The Global Services Coalition (GSC), gathering representatives of services industries from 12 organisations of 10 major TiSA Participating countries, sent today a message to the TiSA negotiators.  “GSC calls upon the negotiators to make utmost strides to conclude the talks by the end of this year, consistent with ensuring a high standard and ambitious agreement”.

To read the Joint Statement, please click here

ESF Call to Trade Commissioner Malmström for an ambitious TTIP

In a letter of 16 March 2016 to EU Trade Commissioner Malmström, ESF reiterated the European services sectors support for an ambitious Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership with the Unites States. There are surely too many unjustified barriers in the EU that need to be tackled. and on the other side of the pond, the United States continue to practice total ban in shipping. There are equity caps like 25% in aviation transport and 20% in telecoms, and significant behind the border barriers like in telecoms and satellites.  There is a very long list of citizenship requirements e.g. in banking, insurance and accounting. Residency requirements exist for legal, accounting, engineering, and insurance services. Local presence requirements exist for instance for legal, accounting, insurance as well as a legal form requirement in insurance, etc.  The EU systematically tries to remove those kind of obstacles with all our other trading partners with which we have negotiated or are currently negotiating. TTIP should not be any exception, in particular if TTIP is bound to become a new benchmark.

Business Alliance for TTIP Reiterates Importance of Ambitious TTIP Deal

Ahead of the critical negotiating round in Brussels this week, the Business Alliance for TTIP – which represents key industry associations, including the European Services Forum – ESF – issued a statement of its strong support for a comprehensive TTIP deal that could boost growth, competitiveness and jobs on both sides of the Atlantic. The statement notably requests that “the agreement should aim to remove all remaining market access barriers, especially in the services sector which forms the backbone of the transatlantic economy”.

ESF Joins EU and U.S. Business Organisations Urging TTIP to Include Full Coverage of Financial Services

“As the United States (U.S.) and the European Union (EU) enter the 12th round of negotiations of the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) the financial and related professional services industry continues to support an ‘ambitious, comprehensive, and high-standard trade and investment agreement’. In order for TTIP to realize its full potential, we believe any agreement should treat financial services like every other sector in the negotiations and be dealt with in a comprehensive manner, primarily by including a framework for financial services regulatory cooperation but also through solutions to outstanding market access issues.” says the statement that you can find here.

European Service Industry welcomes the EP Recommendations on TiSA

ESF Press Release on TISA- Brussels, 3rd February 2016 – 14:00. : “The European Services Forum (ESF), the voice of the European services sectors in international trade, welcomes the adoption today by the European Parliament, with a strong majority (76%), of the Recommendations to the European Commission on the negotiations for the Trade in Services Agreement (TiSA). The report of MEP Viviane Reding (EPP – LU) gives clear blue lines and red lines to the negotiators to carry these negotiations in Geneva.  The 16th Round of talks is currently going on this week and is focussing on fine-tuning rules on financial services, on telecom and e-commerce, and on domestic regulations.  ESF also encouraged EU Trade Commissioner Cecilia Malmström to push for an ambitious deal when she met with other TiSA Countries ministers in Davos on 23rdJanuary. “This EP Report on TiSA is a strong political support to the Commission negotiators, which will help the EU in getting a strong deal with its TiSA partners” said ESF Chairman Sir Thomas Harris“The industry will continue to closely monitor the negotiations and hopes for an ambitious conclusion by end 2016” he added.

Find the Press Release here

ESF Position on EU Proposal on Investment Protection in TTIP

ESF Chairman Sir Thomas Harris sent a letter to all EU Trade Minister on the Commission’s Proposal on investment protection and an investment court system in the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP). ESF expressed its concerns that the level of protection for outward European foreign direct investment (FDI) (of which the Services companies are major contributors) could be seriously diminished under the proposal, when compared with the current level of protection, contrary to the assurance given in the TTIP Mandate that the negotiations would be “on the basis of the highest levels of liberalisation and highest standards of protection that both Parties have negotiated to date”.

To read the letter, click here.

Fresh momentum for the WTO: MC10 Nairobi must deliver

Ahead of the 10th Ministerial Conference of the World Trade Organisation (WTO), which will take place from 15 to 18 December 2015 in Nairobi (Kenia), European Services Forum (ESF), Eurocommerce and the Foreign Trade Association (FTA) have gathered the support of 23 business associations worldwide to call upon the WTO to deliver on current and future challenges of international trade.

In a joint statement, this business alliance – representing a combined turnover close to 10 trillion euros – requested WTO members to ratify and implement the WTO Trade Facilitation Agreement (TFA) and to seal agreements on Information Technology (ITA) and Environmental Goods (EGA). The statement also emphasises the need to deliver on matters still being negotiated within the Doha Development Agenda (DDA) and to discuss a new set of issues and new negotiating dynamics with better prospects to reach agreement.

To read the full statement, click here.

ESF Contribution to INTA Hearing on Trade Relations with Australia & New-Zealand

ESF Director  was invited to contribute to the INTA Public Hearing on 1st December 2015 on the forthcoming trade talks with Australia and New Zealand. You can find the programme here. Mr. Kerneis called for a rapid launch of deep and comprehensive trade agreement with the two countries, that are like-minded trade partners, highlighting the importance of the EU services exports to Australia (41% of total EU export in Australia in 2014, and 33% with New-Zealand. The hearing was attended by New Zealand Minister of Trade Hon Tim Groser and Australia Acting Deputy Secretary for Trade Mr Justin Brown.

Industry Associations letter in support of swift ratification of CETA

ESF signed a joint industry associations letter in support of a swift ratification of the EU-Canada Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (CETA) sent on 2nd December 2015 to Presidents Schulz, Juncker and Tusk as well as Prime Minister Trudeau,  together with 17 other business organisations from Canada and the EU.

ESF joined EU business coalition calls for action on rising Turkish protectionism

EU business is worried about the course economic and trade policy is taking in Turkey. In a Joint Statement issued ahead of the G20 meeting in Antalya hosted by Turkey in which G20 leaders are expected to call for progress in global trade talks ahead of the December Nairobi WTO Ministerial meeting, ESF joined a coalition of leading business associations in the EU to complain about rising protectionism in Turkey. It also urged for a swift start to a planned upgrade of the 1995 EU Turkey customs union.

Joint Business responses to the Chinese Draft Supervision Rules on Insurance Institutions Adopting Digitalised Operations

European Services Forum (ESF) and DIGITALEUROPE sent a joint response to the Chinese Draft Supervision Rules on Insurance Institutions Adopting Digitalised Operations.  The two organisations recommended that in further developing the draft regulation and the implementing regulations, the legislators engage and partner with Insurance companies and IT providers to determine technical viability of the requests expressed by China Insurance Regulatory Commission (CIRC). You can find the joint response here.  ESF also signed on another letter on the same issue with a broader international business coalition (see here).

Global Services Coalition statement highlights the importance of moving forward on trade

The Global Services Coalition met in Washington on 22nd October – at the edge of the Global Services Summit and adopted a joint statement that you can find here.  In substance, the statement highlights the following: “The closing weeks of 2015 will see several significant opportunities for governments and their trade negotiators at the multilateral (WTO MC10), plurilateral (TiSA, ITA, EGA) and regional levels (TPP, TTIP, EU-Japan) to take major steps forward in delivering economic growth, job creation, and consumer choice. The GSC urges all the governments involved in these negotiations to conclude them with the high-level and ambitious commitments to market opening that are so badly needed to kick start new economic growth and to serve as the basis for new agreements which include broader economies.”