Trade Deals Around the World: April Edition

World Trade News (Image: teal world viewed from space with connection lines spreading across the image)

Trade Deals Around the World is our periodic update, which gives you a quick and easy overview of what has been happening in the various trade deal negotiations worldwide.

We focus on the European Union and the United Kingdom and watch China and the United States. We look back at March and focus on trade deals only in this update. For impacts on trade caused by the war in Ukraine, read our update hereHappy reading! 

Sanctions Against Russia and Belarus

The European Union has extended the sanctions against Russia and Belarus.

The European Commission welcomes today's agreement of Member States to adopt further targeted sanctions in view of the situation in Ukraine and in response to Belarus's involvement in the aggression. In particular, the new measures impose restrictive measures on 160 individuals and amend Regulation (EC) 765/2006 concerning restrictive measures in view of the situation in Belarus and Regulation (EU) 833/2014 concerning Russia's actions destabilising the situation in Ukraine. These amendments create a closer alignment of EU sanctions regarding Russia and Belarus and will help to ensure even more effectively that Russian sanctions cannot be circumvented, including through Belarus.

Read more: European Commission

The United States and the European Union have implemented trade sanctions on Russia and Belarus. Both are now also calling for revoking the Most-Favoured Nation status for both countries.

The European Union said it was looking into suspending 'most-favoured nation' (MFN) treatment for Russia at the World Trade Organization over Moscow's invasion of Ukraine, meaning the bloc would be able to hike tariffs or set quotas on Russian imports.

Read more: Reuters

President Biden announced Friday that the United States and other Group of Seven (G-7) nations would move to revoke the “most favored nation” trade status for Russia as part of a new tranche of penalties in response to Russian President Vladimir Putin’s invasion of Ukraine.

Read more: The Hill

The United Kingdom and New Zealand

The United Kingdom has signed another trade agreement with New Zealand this time.

The U.K. and New Zealand finalized their post-Brexit trade accord, removing tariffs and liberalizing access for services companies.

The deal, which a government analysis says will have a negligible effect on the economy, is part of Britain’s effort to find new trade alliances after leaving the European Union. The U.K. signed a similar accord with Australia in December and is currently negotiating to join the trans-Pacific CPTPP trading bloc.

Read more: Bloomberg

The United Kingdom and The United States

Based on the news last month, it looked like a deal between the United States and the United Kingdom would take quite some time, but now it seems negotiations are slowly moving in the right direction again. The current talks are not about the final trade agreement.

The talks will focus on areas such as enhancing labor rights to make workplaces safer; support for domestic investment and more competitive workforces; environmental practices; promoting racial and gender equality through trade; and spreading the benefits of digital trade, the officials said. The nations also will look at working together to address non-market economies and promote supply chain resilience and corporate responsibility.

The two governments don’t plan any official discussions on a free-trade agreement, the officials said. While the nations began talks in 2020 under President Donald Trump and held five virtual negotiating rounds, the last one took place in October of that year and the Biden administration hasn’t restarted the process.

Read more: Bloomberg

In future negotiations, the situation in Northern Ireland will remain an important subject.

A bilateral trade deal between the US and the UK is “desirable” but will not progress while the Northern Ireland peace deal is being used for domestic political purposes, one of the most powerful American congressmen has warned.

Richard Neal, the chairman of the ways and means committee, has told the Guardian: “We will not entertain a trade agreement if there is any jeopardy to the Good Friday agreement.

Read more: The Guardian 

The United Kingdom and Canada

The United Kingdom will start and has started negotiations with Canada. The British Government announced:

Building on the benefits of the UK-Canada Trade Continuity Agreement, the new Free Trade Agreement will go further than ever before in areas like innovation, digital, data, the environment and women’s economic empowerment.

Read more:

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