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GATT 1

General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade

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“GATT” redirects here. For other uses, see GATT (disambiguation).

The General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (GATT) is a multilateral agreement regulating international trade. According to its preamble, its purpose is the “substantial reduction of tariffs and other trade barriers and the elimination of preferences, on a reciprocal and mutually advantageous basis.”

It was negotiated during the UN Conference on Trade and Employment and was the outcome of the failure of negotiating governments to create the International Trade Organization (ITO). GATT was signed in 1948 and lasted until 1993, when it was replaced by the World Trade Organization in 1995. The original GATT text (GATT 1958) is still in effect under the WTO framework, subject to the modifications of GATT 1994.[1]

Contents

Rounds

GATT held a total of 8 rounds,

[hide]v · d · eGATT and WTO trade rounds[2]

Name

Start

Duration

Countries

Subjects covered Achievements

Geneva

April 1946

7 months

23

Tariffs Signing of GATT, 45,000 tariff concessions affecting $10 billion of trade

Annecy

April 1949

5 months

13

Tariffs Countries exchanged some 5,000 tariff concessions

Torquay

September 1950

8 months

38

Tariffs Countries exchanged some 8,700 tariff concessions, cutting the 1948 tariff levels by 25%

Geneva II

January 1956

5 months

26

Tariffs, admission of Japan $2.5 billion in tariff reductions

Dillon

September 1960

11 months

26

Tariffs Tariff concessions worth $4.9 billion of world trade

Kennedy

May 1964

37 months

62

Tariffs, Anti-dumping Tariff concessions worth $40 billion of world trade

Tokyo

September 1973

74 months

102

Tariffs, non-tariff measures, “framework” agreements Tariff reductions worth more than $300 billion dollars achieved

Uruguay

September 1986

87 months

123

Tariffs, non-tariff measures, rules, services, intellectual property, dispute settlement, textiles, agriculture, creation of WTO, etc The round led to the creation of WTO, and extended the range of trade negotiations, leading to major reductions in tariffs (about 40%) and agricultural subsidies, an agreement to allow full access for textiles and clothing from developing countries, and an extension of intellectual property rights.

Doha

November 2001

?

141

Tariffs, non-tariff measures, agriculture, labor standards, environment, competition, investment, transparency, patents etc The round is not yet concluded.

Annecy Round – 1949

The second round took place in 1949 in Annecy, France. 13 countries took part in the round. The main focus of the talks was more tariff reductions, around 5000 in total.

Torquay Round – 1951

The third round occurred in Torquay, England in 1950. Thirty-eight countries took part in the round. 8,700 tariff concessions were made totaling the remaining amount of tariffs to ¾ of the tariffs which were in effect in 1948. The contemporaneous rejection by the U.S. of the Havana Charter signified the establishment of the GATT as a governing world body.[3]

Geneva Round – 1955-1956

The fourth round returned to Geneva in 1955 and lasted until May 1956. Twenty-six countries took part in the round. $2.5 billion in tariffs were eliminated or reduced.

Dillon Round – 1960-1962

The fifth round occurred once more in Geneva and lasted from 1960-1962. The talks were named after U.S. Treasury Secretary and former Under Secretary of State, Douglas Dillon, who first proposed the talks. Twenty-six countries took part in the round. Along with reducing over $4.9 billion in tariffs, it also yielded discussion relating to the creation of the European Economic Community (EEC).

Kennedy Round – 1962-1967

Kennedy Round took place from 1962-1967. $40 billion in tariffs were eliminated or reduced.

Tokyo Round – 1973-1979

Reduced tariffs and established new regulations aimed at controlling the proliferation of non-tariff barriers and voluntary export restrictions. 102 countries took part in the round. Concessions were made on $190 billion worth.

Uruguay Round – 1986-1994

The Uruguay Round began in 1986. It was the most ambitious round to date, hoping to expand the competence of the GATT to important new areas such as services, capital, intellectual property, textiles, and agriculture. 123 countries took part in the round. The Uruguay Round was also the first set of multilateral trade negotiations in which developing countries had played an active role.[4]

Agriculture was essentially exempted from previous agreements as it was given special status in the areas of import quotas and export subsidies, with only mild caveats. However, by the time of the Uruguay round, many countries considered the exception of agriculture to be sufficiently glaring that they refused to sign a new deal without some movement on agricultural products. These fourteen countries came to be known as the “Cairns Group“, and included mostly small and medium sized agricultural exporters such as Australia, Brazil, Canada, Indonesia, and New Zealand.

The Agreement on Agriculture of the Uruguay Round continues to be the most substantial trade liberalization agreement in agricultural products in the history of trade negotiations. The goals of the agreement were to improve market access for agricultural products, reduce domestic support of agriculture in the form of price-distorting subsidies and quotas, eliminate over time export subsidies on agricultural products and to harmonize to the extent possible sanitary and phytosanitary measures between member countries.

GATT and the World Trade Organization

Main article: Uruguay Round

In 1993, the GATT was updated (GATT 1994) to include new obligations upon its signatories. One of the most significant changes was the creation of the World Trade Organization (WTO). The 75 existing GATT members and the European Communities became the founding members of the WTO on 1 January 1995. The other 52 GATT members rejoined the WTO in the following two years (the last being Congo in 1997). Since the founding of the WTO, 21 new non-GATT members have joined and 29 are currently negotiating membership. There are a total of 157 member countries in the WTO, with Russia and Vanuatu being new members as of 2012.

Of the original GATT members, Syria[5][6] and the SFR Yugoslavia has not rejoined the WTO. Since FR Yugoslavia, (renamed to Serbia and Montenegro and with membership negotiations later split in two), is not recognised as a direct SFRY successor state; therefore, its application is considered a new (non-GATT) one. The General Council of WTO, on 4 May 2010, agreed to establish a working party to examine the request of Syria for WTO membership.[7][8] The contracting parties who founded the WTO ended official agreement of the “GATT 1947″ terms on 31 December 1995. Serbia and Montenegro are in the decision stage of the negotiations and are expected to become the newest members of the WTO in 2012 or in near future.

Whilst GATT was a set of rules agreed upon by nations, the WTO is an institutional body. The WTO expanded its scope from traded goods to include trade within the service sector and intellectual property rights. Although it was designed to serve multilateral agreements, during several rounds of GATT negotiations (particularly the Tokyo Round) plurilateral agreements created selective trading and caused fragmentation among members. WTO arrangements are generally a multilateral agreement settlement mechanism of GATT.[9]

See also

References

  1. ^ World Trade Organization: WTO legal texts; General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade 1994
  2. ^ a)The GATT years: from Havana to Marrakesh, World Trade Organization
    b)Timeline: World Trade Organization – A chronology of key events, BBC News
    c)Brakman-Garretsen-Marrewijk-Witteloostuijn, Nations and Firms in the Global Economy, Chapter 10: Trade and Capital Restriction
  3. ^ Michael Hudson, Super Imperialism: The Origin and Fundamentals of U.S. World Dominance, 2nd ed. (London and Sterling, VA: Pluto Press, 2003), 258.
  4. ^ “The GATT Uruguay Round”. ODI briefing paper. Overseas Development Institute. Retrieved 28 June 2011.
  5. ^ http://www.wto.org/english/thewto_e/minist_e/min96_e/chrono.htm
  6. ^ http://www.wto.org/english/thewto_e/whatis_e/tif_e/org6_e.htm
  7. ^ http://www.wto.org/english/thewto_e/acc_e/a1_syrian_arab_republic_e.htm
  8. ^ http://www.wto.org/english/news_e/news10_e/gc_04may10_e.htm
  9. ^ What is the WTO? (Official WTO site)

Further reading

  • Aaronson Susan A. Trade and the American Dream: A Social History of Postwar Trade Policy & co (1996)
  • Irwin, Douglas A. “The GATT in Historical Perspective,” American Economic Review Vol. 85, No. 2, (May, 1995), pp. 323-328 in JSTOR
  • McKenzie, Francine. “GATT and the Cold War,” Journal of Cold War Studies, Summer 2008, 10#3 pp 78-109
  • Zeiler, Thomas W. Free Trade, Free World: The Advent of GATT (1999) excerpt and text search

External links

GATT 2


General Agreements on Tariffs and Trade


1. GATT

Toward the end of World War II, representatives of the US and its Allied Forces endeavored to work out the arrangements for a new world order in the post war era.As a result of these negotiations, after World War II the US and its Allies planned to establish three important international institutions to liberalize trade and payment.
 Three institutions + UN (i) International Monetary Fund (IMF) was established to facilitate international payments.(ii) International Bank for Reconstruction and Development.

After the War, European countries and Japan had to rebuild their production plants; this meant that these countries required a large amount of foreign capital. To encourage free flow of private capital, International Bank for Reconstruction and Development (IBRD, now the World Bank) was also established.

(iii) To facilitate free trade, International Trade Organization (ITO) was to be born.

(iv) As a political complement to these institutions, United Nations was also established in 1945 to replaced the League of Nations.

 

 What is GATT GATT was the result of an international conference held at Geneva in 1947 to consider a draft charter for the International Trade Organization (ITO). The US initiated negotiations with 22 other countries that led to commitments to regulate 45,000 tariff rates.Technically, GATT was viewed as an agreement under the provisions of US Reciprocal Trade Act of 1934, and hence did not require approval of Congress. It was considered a provisional agreement that would be replaced once the ITO became operational to take over its functions.

So GATT began its provisional existence on January 1, 1948, when 23 contracting parties signed the agreement. However, US Congress refused in 1950 to ratify the treaty establishing the ITO.

world government? (opinion)
 organization  Functions
WTO regulates trade
 IMF regulates currency practices
 funding investment IBRD (World Bank)
 diplomatic rights national governments
defense/war United Nations

 

 

2. Major Provisions of GATT

 1. Tariff (i) GATT obligates each country to accord nondiscriminative, most favored nation(MFN) treatment to all other contracting parties with respect to tariffs.(ii) MFN treatment does not mean free trade or national treatment. Imports from contracting parties are subject to tariffs or quotas. MFN treatment means that no other countries with some exceptions receive better treatment or lower tariffs.
 Exceptions to MFN (i) Existing tariff preferences such as those between British Commonwealth.(ii) GATT/WTO allows the formation of customs union, which causes a significant erosion to the MFN principle.

(iii) An escape clause allows any contracting party to withdraw or modify tariff concessions, if it threatens a serious injury to domestic producers.

 2. Quantitative Restrictions GATT in general prohibits the use of quantitative restrictions on imports and exports.
 Exceptions (i) agriculture – when government needs to remove surplus of agricultural and fisheries products. Important to US(ii) balance of payments – to safeguard balance of payments. If a country’s foreign exchange reserve is low.

(iii) Developing countries – LDCs may use import quotas to encourage infant industries.

(iv) National Security- Strategic controls on certain exports. Patents, Copyrights, Public Morals

 3. Developing Countries Special Provisions to promote the Trade of Developing Countries. In 1965, the contracting parties added Part IV (Trade and Development) to GATT.
(i) Developed economies will give high priority to reduction/elimination of tariffs on products of LDCs.(ii) refrain from introducing tariffs and NTBs to such imports.

(iii) refrain from imposing internal taxes to discourage consumption of primary products from LDCs

(iv) not expect reciprocal commitments from LDCs.

By 2016, China may become the largest economy in the world. Its status may be changed to that of a developed economy.

Other provisions Provisions to eliminate concealed protection such as customs valuation. For example, American Selling Price valuation. By ASP, an ad valorem tariff is imposed on the domestic price. procedural matters: each member is entitled to one vote, decisions are made by majority vote. 2/3 majority is required to waive obligations. settlements of disputes.

3. Achievements and Problems of GATT/WTO [Opinion]

 Achievements GATT has enjoyed a membership of over 100 countries and generated about 85-90% of world trade.(i) trade liberalization in industrial products (Kennedy Round)

(ii) Adopted codes on NTBs (Tokyo Round)

(iii) No world wars since 1948 (Choi: Increased trade promotes world peace)

(iv) replaced by WTO on January 1, 1995.

Difference between GATT and WTO 

 

(i) GATT was a provisional agreement by contracting parties with no legal enforcement power.WTO is a binding permanent agreement by members.

(ii) GATT only included trade in goods.

WTO additionally includes trade in services, international investments and intellectual property rights.

(iii) GATT has no provisions to settle trade disputes. WTO set up a dispute settlement body and disputes are quickly resolved.

 Problems (i) WTO failed to liberalize trade in agricultural products to any significant degree. This was one of the major goals of the Uruguay Round. Intellectual Property Rights is another problem.(ii) steady erosion of MFN principle by the EU, and to a less extent by the NAFTA.

Article XXIV permits member countries to form a CU or FTA. The EU adopted VILs to keep out agricultural products, lowered duties to many African and Mediterranean countries, which are not extended to other GATT contracting parties.

GATT was an executive agreement under the Protocol of Provisional Application. It was only a gentlemen’s agreement with no teeth, no enforcement power to discipline parties that violate the rules. Moreover, contracting parties are not obligated to observe rules that are inconsistent with their domestic laws at the time of entry into GATT. Many countries sidestep or bypass the rules by narrowly defining commodities for tariff purposes.

(iii) WTO has not done anything to eliminate pirate activities in Africa. It has no military force to discipline rogue nations that disrupt trade.

(iv) WTO has not been able to regulate currency manipulation as a protective instrument to restrict imports.

 territorial disputes  There will be more disputes concerning the use of maritime resources outside territorial waters (12 nautical miles from coastal states).

 

4. Trade and Diminishing National Sovereignty (Opinion)

 Sovereignty in autarky A country is presumed to have full sovereignty over its citizens within its territory. Any foreign governments or entities that say any negative things on domestic regulations or problems have been criticized for meddling with internal or domestic politics. This was so at least until GATT was formed in 1948, and GATT was transformed into WTO in January 1995.
International Organizations encroach on national sovereignty Members of WTO are agreeing to abide by the rules of WTO, and hence allowing WTO to monitor domestic laws that may be in conflict with trade rules set by the WTO. Similarly, members of International Monetary Fund also allow the Fund’s surveillance of their exchange rate practices. Thus, increased trade is gained only through reduced national sovereignty. Gains from trade often forces member countries to sacrifice some national sovereignty.
 Example For example, India’s patent laws allowed counterfeit copies of drugs without requiring license fees, which made Indian drugs available at low cost to the mass. Now India overturned its Patent Laws for all medicines invented since 1995. This shows India’s attempt to make their internal laws consistent with the rules of WTO.
Services and Foreign Direct Investment WTO not only governs trade in goods, but also services and foreign direct investment. Similarly, IMF monitors exchange practices that harm other member countries. Increased trade will continually exert its pressure to harmonize disparate domestic laws on the movement of goods, services and people. This inexorable process will continue until all nations have formed one world government that not only regulates trade, investment, and the movement of people but also harmonizes all aspects of human rights in the world economy.Trading countries are mutually interlocked and their economies are so intertwined that it becomes increasingly difficult for one member country to wage war against others. Global peace can be guaranteed only after one world government is established much as the presence of the Federal government eliminates civil war in the United States.

WTO, IMF and the United Nations may prove to be just stepping stones that lead to one world goverment that may be formed by the end of this century. Most likely, citizens of trading nations will speak one common international language and their own national languages.

 Greece’ problem EU monitors Greece’s economic policies, and encourages the Greek government to reduce its budget deficit.

China and the GATT/WTO

  • China was one of the 23 founding members of GATT. became a contracting party on May 21, 1948.
  • The Kuomintang Government moved to Taiwan and withdrew from the GATT, May 5, 1950.
  • In 1982, China was granted observer status in GATT.
  • In June 1986, China requested “resumption” of its contracting party status, on the basis that the withdrawal (by the Kuomintang) was null and void.
  • In May 1987, the GATT established the Working Party on China’s Status
  • China became a member of WTO in December 2001.

 

E U

European Union

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Jump to: navigation, search

“EU” redirects here. For other uses, see EU (disambiguation).

European Union

[show]

Motto: United in diversity[1][2][3]

Anthem: Ode to Joy

Political centres Brussels
Luxembourg
Strasbourg

Official languages

23[show]

Demonym

European[4]
Member States 27[show]

Leaders

 - President of the Council Herman Van Rompuy (EPP)
 - President of the Commission José Manuel Barroso (EPP)
 - Speaker of the Parliament Martin Schulz (S&D)
 - Presidency of the Council of the Union Demetris Christofias (Cyprus)
 - High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy Catherine Ashton (S&D)

Legislature

Legislature of the EU
 - Upper house Council of the EU
 - Lower house European Parliament

Establishment

 - Treaty of Paris 23 July 1952
 - Treaty of Rome 1 January 1958
 - Maastricht Treaty 1 November 1993
 - Treaty of Lisbon 1 December 2009

Area

 - Total 4,324,782 km2 (7th¹)
1,669,807 sq mi
 - Water (%) 3.08

Population

 - 2012 estimate 503,492,041 [5] (3rd¹)
 - Density 116.2/km2
300.9/sq mi
GDP (PPP) 2011 estimate
 - Total $15.821 trillion[6] (1st¹)
 - Per capita $31,607[6] (15th¹)
GDP (nominal) 2011 estimate
 - Total $17.577 trillion[6] (1st¹)
 - Per capita $35,116[7] (14th¹)
Gini (2010) 30.4[8] (medium)
HDI (2011) 0.856[9] (very high) (14th¹)

Currency

Euro () (EUR)[show]

Time zone

(UTC+0 to +2)
 - Summer (DST)  (UTC+1 to +3[a])

Internet TLD

.eu[b]

Website
europa.eu

Calling code

See list

1

If considered as a single entity.

This box:

The European Union (EU) is a unique economic and political union of 27 member states which are located primarily in Europe.[10][11] The EU operates through a system of supranational independent institutions and intergovernmental negotiated decisions by the member states.[12][13][14] Important institutions of the EU include the European Commission, the Council of the European Union, the European Council, the Court of Justice of the European Union, and the European Central Bank. The European Parliament is elected every five years by EU citizens.

The EU traces its origins from the European Coal and Steel Community (ECSC) and the European Economic Community (EEC), formed by the Inner Six countries in 1951 and 1958 respectively. In the intervening years the community and its successors have grown in size by the accession of new member states and in power by the addition of policy areas to its remit. The Maastricht Treaty established the European Union under its current name in 1993.[15] The latest amendment to the constitutional basis of the EU, the Treaty of Lisbon, came into force in 2009.

The EU has developed a single market through a standardised system of laws which apply in all member states. Within the Schengen Area (which includes 22 EU and 4 non-EU states) passport controls have been abolished.[16] EU policies aim to ensure the free movement of people, goods, services, and capital,[17] enact legislation in justice and home affairs, and maintain common policies on trade,[18] agriculture,[19] fisheries and regional development.[20] A monetary union, the eurozone, was established in 1999 and is composed of 17 member states. Through the Common Foreign and Security Policy the EU has developed a role in external relations and defence. Permanent diplomatic missions have been established around the world. The EU is represented at the United Nations, the WTO, the G8 and the G-20.

With a combined population of over 500 million inhabitants,[21] or 7.3% of the world population,[22] the EU, in 2011, generated the largest nominal world gross domestic product (GDP) of 17.6 trillion US dollars, representing approximately 20% of the global GDP when measured in terms of purchasing power parity.[23] The EU was the recipient of the 2012 Nobel Peace Prize.[24]

Contents

History

Main article: History of the European Union

 

 

Robert Schuman proposing the Coal and Steel Community on 9 May 1950.

In the Congress of Aix-la-Chapelle of 1818, Tsar Alexander, as the most advanced internationalist of the day, suggested a kind of permanent European union and even proposed the maintenance of international military forces to provide recognized states with support against changes by violence.[25]

 

 

The College of Europe in Belgium was founded after the 1948 Hague Congress, a pivotal moment in European federal history that also led to the creation of the European Movement

A Paneuropean movement gained some momentum from the 1920s with the creation of the Paneuropean Union, based on Richard Nikolaus von Coudenhove-Kalergi‘s manifesto Paneuropa (1923), which presented the idea of a unified European State. The movement, led by Coudenhove-Kalergi and subsequently by Otto von Habsburg, is the oldest European unification movement.[26][27]

After World War II, moves towards European integration were seen by many as an escape from the extreme forms of nationalism that had devastated the continent.[28] The 1948 Hague Congress was a pivotal moment in European federal history, as it led to the creation of the European Movement and also of the College of Europe, a place where Europe’s future leaders would live and study together.[29] 1951 saw the creation of the European Coal and Steel Community, which was declared to be “a first step in the federation of Europe”, starting with the aim of eliminating the possibility of further wars between its member states by means of pooling the national heavy industries.[30] The founding members of the Community were Belgium, France, Italy, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, and West Germany. The originators and supporters of the Community include Jean Monnet, Robert Schuman, Paul-Henri Spaak, and Alcide De Gasperi.[31]

In 1957, the six countries signed the Treaty of Rome, which extended the earlier cooperation within the European Coal and Steel Community (ECSC) and created the European Economic Community, (EEC) establishing a customs union. They also signed another treaty on the same day creating the European Atomic Energy Community (Euratom) for cooperation in developing nuclear energy. Both treaties came into force in 1958.[31]

The EEC and Euratom were created separately from ECSC, although they shared the same courts and the Common Assembly. The executives of the new communities were called Commissions, as opposed to the “High Authority”. The EEC was headed by Walter Hallstein (Hallstein Commission) and Euratom was headed by Louis Armand (Armand Commission) and then Étienne Hirsch. Euratom would integrate sectors in nuclear energy while the EEC would develop a customs union between members.[32][33]

Throughout the 1960s tensions began to show with France seeking to limit supranational power. However, in 1965 an agreement was reached and hence in 1967 the Merger Treaty was signed in Brussels. It came into force on 1 July 1967 and created a single set of institutions for the three communities, which were collectively referred to as the European Communities (EC), although commonly just as the European Community.[34][35] Jean Rey presided over the first merged Commission (Rey Commission).[36]

 

 

The Iron Curtain‘s fall in 1989 enabled eastward enlargement. (Berlin Wall)

In 1973 the Communities enlarged to include Denmark (including Greenland, which later left the Community in 1985), Ireland, and the United Kingdom.[37] Norway had negotiated to join at the same time but Norwegian voters rejected membership in a referendum and so Norway remained outside. In 1979, the first direct, democratic elections to the European Parliament were held.[38]

Greece joined in 1981, Portugal and Spain in 1986.[39] In 1985, the Schengen Agreement led the way toward the creation of open borders without passport controls between most member states and some non-member states.[40] In 1986, the European flag began to be used by the Community[41] and the Single European Act was signed.

In 1990, after the fall of the Iron Curtain, the former East Germany became part of the Community as part of a newly united Germany.[42] With enlargement towards European formerly communist countries as well as Cyprus and Malta on the agenda, the Copenhagen criteria for candidate members to join the European Union were agreed.

 

 

The introduction of the euro in 2002 replaced several national currencies.

The European Union was formally established when the Maastricht Treaty—whose main architects were Helmut Kohl and François Mitterrand—came into force on 1 November 1993,[15] and in 1995 Austria, Finland and Sweden joined the newly established EU. In 2002, euro notes and coins replaced national currencies in 12 of the member states. Since then, the eurozone has increased to encompass 17 countries. In 2004, the EU saw its biggest enlargement to date when Cyprus, the Czech Republic, Estonia, Hungary, Latvia, Lithuania, Malta, Poland, Slovakia and Slovenia joined the Union.[43]

On 1 January 2007, Romania and Bulgaria became the EU’s members. In the same year Slovenia adopted the euro,[43] followed in 2008 by Cyprus and Malta, by Slovakia in 2009 and by Estonia in 2011. In June 2009, the 2009 Parliament elections were held leading to a renewal of Barroso’s Commission Presidency, and in July 2009 Iceland formally applied for EU membership.

On 1 December 2009, the Lisbon Treaty entered into force and reformed many aspects of the EU. In particular it changed the legal structure of the European Union, merging the EU three pillars system into a single legal entity provisioned with legal personality, and it created a permanent President of the European Council, the first of which is Herman Van Rompuy, and a strengthened High Representative, Catherine Ashton.[44]

On 9 December 2011, Croatia signed the EU accession treaty.[45] The EU accession referendum was held in Croatia on 22 January 2012, with the majority voting for Croatia’s accession to the European Union making it the 28th member state as of July 2013.

The European Union received the 2012 Nobel Peace Prize for having “contributed to the advancement of peace and reconciliation, democracy and human rights in Europe.”[46][47] The Nobel Committee stated that “that dreadful suffering in World War II demonstrated the need for a new Europe [...] today war between Germany and France is unthinkable. This shows how, through well-aimed efforts and by building up mutual confidence, historical enemies can become close partners.”[48]

 

Treaties

Main article: Treaties of the European Union

Signed
In force
Document

1948
1948
Brussels Treaty
1951
1952
Paris Treaty
1954
1955
Modified Brussels Treaty
1957
1958
Rome treaties
1965
1967
Merger Treaty
1975
N/A
European Council conclusion
1985
1985
Schengen Treaty
1986
1987
Single European Act
1992
1993
Maastricht Treaty
1997
1999
Amsterdam Treaty
2001
2003
Nice Treaty
2007
2009
Lisbon Treaty

Three pillars of the European Union:

European Communities:

European Atomic Energy Community (EURATOM)

European Coal and Steel Community (ECSC)

Treaty expired in 2002

European Union (EU)

European Economic Community (EEC)

Schengen Rules

European Community (EC)

TREVI

Justice and Home Affairs (JHA)

Police and Judicial Co-operation in Criminal Matters (PJCC)

European Political Cooperation (EPC)

Common Foreign and Security Policy (CFSP)

Unconsolidated bodies

Western European Union (WEU)

Treaty terminated in 2011

Geography

Main article: Geography of the European Union

 

The EU’s climate is influenced by its 65,993 km (41,006 mi) coastline (Cyprus).

 

Mont Blanc in the Alps is the highest peak in the EU.

The EU’s member states cover an area of 4,423,147 square kilometres (1,707,787 sq mi).[c] The EU’s highest peak is Mont Blanc in the Graian Alps, 4,810.45 metres (15,782 ft) above sea level.[49] The lowest point in the EU is Zuidplaspolder in the Netherlands, at 7 m (23 ft) below sea level. The landscape, climate, and economy of the EU are influenced by its coastline, which is 65,993 kilometres (41,006 mi) long. The combined member states share land borders with 19 non-member states for a total of 12,441 kilometres (7,730 mi).[13][50][51]

Including the overseas territories of France which are located outside of the continent of Europe, but which are members of the union, the EU experiences most types of climate from Arctic (North-East Europe) to tropical (French Guyana), rendering meteorological averages for the EU as a whole meaningless. The majority of the people live in areas with a temperate maritime climate (North-Western Europe and Central Europe), a Mediterranean climate (Southern Europe), or a warm summer continental or hemiboreal climate (Northern Balkans and Central Europe).[52]

The EU’s population is highly urbanised, with some 75% of inhabitants (and growing, projected to be 90% in 7 states by 2020) living in urban areas. Cities are largely spread out across the EU, although with a large grouping in and around the Benelux. An increasing percentage of this is due to low density urban sprawl which is extending into natural areas. In some cases this urban growth has been due to the influx of EU funds into a region.[53]

Member states

Main article: Member state of the European Union

See also: Special member state territories and the European Union, Enlargement of the European Union, Future enlargement of the European Union, and Withdrawal from the European Union

 

 

The member states of the European Union (European Communities pre-1993), animated in order of accession. Only territories in and around Europe are shown. v.d.e.

Albania

Austria

Belarus

Belgium

Bos.
& Herz.

Bulgaria

Croatia

Cyprus

Czech
Rep.

Denmark

Estonia

Finland

France

Germany

Greece

Hungary

Iceland

Ireland

Italy

Latvia

Lithuania

Luxembourg

Mac.

Malta→

Moldova

Mont.

Netherlands

Norway

Poland

Portugal

Romania

Russia

Serbia

Slovakia

Slovenia

Spain

Sweden

 Switz-
erland

Turkey

Ukraine

United
Kingdom

The European Union is composed of 27 sovereign member states: Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Cyprus, the Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Ireland, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, the Netherlands, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, and the United Kingdom.[54] The Union’s membership has grown from the original six founding states—Belgium, France, (then-West) Germany, Italy, Luxembourg and the Netherlands—to the present-day 27 by successive enlargements as countries acceded to the treaties and by doing so, pooled their sovereignty in exchange for representation in the institutions.[55]

To join the EU a country must meet the Copenhagen criteria, defined at the 1993 Copenhagen European Council. These require a stable democracy that respects human rights and the rule of law; a functioning market economy capable of competition within the EU; and the acceptance of the obligations of membership, including EU law. Evaluation of a country’s fulfilment of the criteria is the responsibility of the European Council.[56]

No member state has ever left the Union, although Greenland (an autonomous province of Denmark) withdrew in 1985.[57] The Lisbon Treaty now provides a clause dealing with how a member leaves the EU.[58]

Croatia is expected to become the 28th member state of the EU on 1 July 2013 after a referendum on EU membership was approved by Croatian voters on 22 January 2012. The Croatian accession treaty still has to be ratified by all current EU member states.[59]

There are five candidate countries: Iceland, Macedonia,[d] Montenegro, Serbia and Turkey.[60] Albania and Bosnia and Herzegovina are officially recognised as potential candidates.[60] Kosovo is also listed as a potential candidate but the European Commission does not list it as an independent country because not all member states recognise it as an independent country separate from Serbia.[61]

Four countries forming the EFTA (that are not EU members) have partly committed to the EU’s economy and regulations: Iceland (a candidate country for EU membership), Liechtenstein and Norway, which are a part of the single market through the European Economic Area, and Switzerland, which has similar ties through bilateral treaties.[62][63] The relationships of the European microstates, Andorra, Monaco, San Marino and the Vatican include the use of the euro and other areas of cooperation.[64]

Politics

Main article: Politics of the European Union

The EU operates solely within those competencies conferred on it upon the treaties and according to the principle of subsidiarity (which dictates that action by the EU should only be taken where an objective cannot be sufficiently achieved by the member states alone). Laws made by the EU institutions are passed in a variety of forms. Generally speaking they can be classified into two groups: those which come into force without the necessity for national implementation measures, and those which specifically require national implementation measures.[65]

Governance

Main articles: EU institutions and Legislature of the European Union

European Union

This article is part of the series:
Politics and government of
the European Union

European Parliament[show]
European Council[show]
Council of the EU[show]
European Commission[show]
Court of Justice[show]
Central Bank[show]
Court of Auditors[show]
Agencies[show]
Other bodies[show]
Policies and issues[show]
Foreign relations[show]
Elections[show]
Law[show]

The European Union has seven institutions: the European Parliament, the Council of the European Union, the European Commission, the European Council, the European Central Bank, the Court of Justice of the European Union and the European Court of Auditors. Competencies in scrutinising and amending legislation are divided between the European Parliament and the Council of the European Union while executive tasks are carried out by the European Commission and in a limited capacity by the European Council (not to be confused with the aforementioned Council of the European Union). The monetary policy of the eurozone is governed by the European Central Bank. The interpretation and the application of EU law and the treaties are ensured by the Court of Justice of the European Union. The EU budget is scrutinised by the European Court of Auditors. There are also a number of ancillary bodies which advise the EU or operate in a specific area.

European Council

 

 

President of the European Council, Herman Van Rompuy

The European Council gives direction to the EU, and convenes at least four times a year. It comprises the President of the European Council, the President of the European Commission and one representative per member state; either its head of state or head of government. The European Council has been described by some as the Union’s “supreme political authority”.[66] It is actively involved in the negotiation of the treaty changes and defines the EU’s policy agenda and strategies.

The European Council uses its leadership role to sort out disputes between member states and the institutions, and to resolve political crises and disagreements over controversial issues and policies. It acts externally as a “collective head of state” and ratifies important documents (for example, international agreements and treaties).[67]

On 19 November 2009, Herman Van Rompuy was chosen as the first permanent President of the European Council. On 1 December 2009, the Treaty of Lisbon entered into force and he assumed office. Ensuring the external representation of the EU,[68] driving consensus and settling divergences among members are tasks for the President both during the convocations of the European Council and in the time periods between them. The European Council should not be mistaken for the Council of Europe, an international organisation independent from the EU.

Commission

 

 

Commission President José Manuel Barroso

The European Commission acts as the EU’s executive arm and is responsible for initiating legislation and the day-to-day running of the EU. The Commission is also seen as the motor of European integration. It operates as a cabinet government, with 27 Commissioners for different areas of policy, one from each member state, though Commissioners are bound to represent the interests of the EU as a whole rather than their home state.

One of the 27 is the Commission President (currently José Manuel Durão Barroso) appointed by the European Council. After the President, the most prominent Commissioner is the High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy who is ex-officio Vice President of the Commission and is chosen by the European Council too.[69] The other 25 Commissioners are subsequently appointed by the Council of the European Union in agreement with the nominated President. The 27 Commissioners as a single body are subject to a vote of approval by the European Parliament.

Parliament

 

 

The European Parliament building in Strasbourg, France

The European Parliament (EP) forms one half of the EU’s legislature (the other half is the Council of the European Union, see below). The 736 (soon to be 751) Members of the European Parliament (MEPs) are directly elected by EU citizens every five years on the basis of proportional representation. Although MEPs are elected on a national basis, they sit according to political groups rather than their nationality. Each country has a set number of seats and is divided into sub-national constituencies where this does not affect the proportional nature of the voting system.[70]

 

 

The ordinary legislative procedure of the European Union.

The Parliament and the Council of the European Union pass legislation jointly in nearly all areas under the ordinary legislative procedure. This also applies to the EU budget. Finally, the Commission is accountable to Parliament, requiring its approval to take office, having to report back to it and subject to motions of censure from it. The President of the European Parliament carries out the role of speaker in parliament and represents it externally. The EP President and Vice Presidents are elected by MEPs every two and a half years.[71]

Council

The Council of the European Union (also called the “Council”[72] and sometimes referred to as the “Council of Ministers”)[73] forms the other half of the EU’s legislature. It consists of a government minister from each member state and meets in different compositions depending on the policy area being addressed. Notwithstanding its different configurations, it is considered to be one single body.[74] In addition to its legislative functions, the Council also exercises executive functions in relations to the Common Foreign and Security Policy.

Budget

Main article: Budget of the European Union

 

 

 

The 2011 EU budget (€141.9 bn. in total; commitment appropriations):[75]

Cohesion and competitiveness for growth and employment (45%)

Citizenship, freedom, security and justice (1%)

The EU as a global player (6%)

Rural development (11%)

Direct aids and market related expenditures (31%)

Administration (6%)

The 27 member state EU had an agreed budget of €120.7 billion for the year 2007 and €864.3 billion for the period 2007–2013,[76] representing 1.10% and 1.05% of the EU-27’s GNI forecast for the respective periods. By comparison, the United Kingdom’s expenditure for 2004 was estimated to be €759 billion, and France was estimated to have spent €801 billion. In 1960, the budget of the then European Economic Community was 0.03% of GDP.[77]

In the 2010 budget of €141.5 billion, the largest single expenditure item is “cohesion & competitiveness” with around 45% of the total budget.[78] Next comes “agriculture” with approximately 31% of the total.[78]Rural development, environment and fisheries” takes up around 11%.[78]Administration” accounts for around 6%.[78] The “EU as a global partner” and “citizenship, freedom, security and justice” bring up the rear with approximately 6% and 1% respectively.[78]

The Court of Auditors aims to ensure that the budget of the European Union has been properly accounted for. The court provides an audit report for each financial year to the Council and the European Parliament. The Parliament uses this to decide whether to approve the Commission’s handling of the budget. The Court also gives opinions and proposals on financial legislation and anti-fraud actions.[79]

The Court of Auditors is legally obliged to provide the Parliament and the Council with “a statement of assurance as to the reliability of the accounts and the legality and regularity of the underlying transactions”.[80] The Court has not given an unqualified approval of the Union’s accounts since 1993.[81] In their report on 2009 the auditors found that five areas of Union expenditure, agriculture and the cohesion fund, were materially affected by error.[82] The European Commission estimated that the financial impact of irregularities was €1,863 million.[83]

Competences

EU member states retain all powers not explicitly handed to the European Union. In some areas the EU enjoys exclusive competence. These are areas in which member states have renounced any capacity to enact legislation. In other areas the EU and its member states share the competence to legislate. While both can legislate, member states can only legislate to the extent to which the EU has not. In other policy areas the EU can only co-ordinate, support and supplement member state action but cannot enact legislation with the aim of harmonising national laws.[84]

That a particular policy area falls into a certain category of competence is not necessarily indicative of what legislative procedure is used for enacting legislation within that policy area. Different legislative procedures are used within the same category of competence, and even with the same policy area.

The distribution of competences in various policy areas between Member States and the Union is divided in the following three categories:

As outlined in Part I, Title I of the consolidated Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union:

Exclusive competence:

 

“The Union has exclusive competence to make directives and conclude international agreements when provided for in a Union legislative act.”

Shared competence:

 

“Member States cannot exercise competence in areas where the Union has done so.”

“Union exercise of competence shall not result in Member States being prevented from exercising theirs in:”

  • research, technological development and space
  • development cooperation, humanitarian aid

“The Union coordinates Member States policies or implements supplemental to theirs common policies, not covered elsewhere”

Supporting competence:

 

“The Union can carry out actions to support, coordinate or supplement Member States’ actions in:”

  • the protection and improvement of human health
  • industry
  • culture
  • tourism
  • education, youth, sport and vocational training
  • civil protection (disaster prevention)
  • administrative cooperation

Legal system

Further information: European Union lawTreaties of the European Union, and Charter of Fundamental Rights of the European Union

The EU is based on a series of treaties. These first established the European Community and the EU, and then made amendments to those founding treaties.[85] These are power-giving treaties which set broad policy goals and establish institutions with the necessary legal powers to implement those goals. These legal powers include the ability to enact legislation[e] which can directly affect all member states and their inhabitants.[f] The EU has legal personality, with the right to sign agreements and international treaties.[86]

Under the principle of supremacy, national courts are required to enforce the treaties that their member states have ratified, and thus the laws enacted under them, even if doing so requires them to ignore conflicting national law, and (within limits) even constitutional provisions.[g]

Courts of Justice

The judicial branch of the EU—formally called the Court of Justice of the European Union—consists of three courts: the Court of Justice, the General Court, and the European Union Civil Service Tribunal. Together they interpret and apply the treaties and the law of the EU.[87]

The Court of Justice primarily deals with cases taken by member states, the institutions, and cases referred to it by the courts of member states.[88] The General Court mainly deals with cases taken by individuals and companies directly before the EU’s courts,[89] and the European Union Civil Service Tribunal adjudicates in disputes between the European Union and its civil service.[90] Decisions from the General Court can be appealed to the Court of Justice but only on a point of law.[91]

Fundamental rights

 

 

The last amendment to the constitutional basis of the EU came into force in 2009 and was the Lisbon Treaty.

The treaties declare that the EU itself is “founded on the values of respect for human dignity, freedom, democracy, equality, the rule of law and respect for human rights, including the rights of persons belonging to minorities… in a society in which pluralism, non-discrimination, tolerance, justice, solidarity and equality between women and men prevail.”[92]

In 2009 the Lisbon Treaty gave legal effect to the Charter of Fundamental Rights of the European Union. The charter is a codified catalogue of fundamental rights against which the EU’s legal acts can be judged. It consolidates many rights which were previously recognised by the Court of Justice and derived from the “constitutional traditions common to the member states.”[93] The Court of Justice has long recognised fundamental rights and has, on occasion, invalidated EU legislation based on its failure to adhere to those fundamental rights.[94] The Charter of Fundamental Rights was drawn up in 2000. Although originally not legally binding the Charter was frequently cited by the EU’s courts as encapsulating rights which the courts had long recognised as the fundamental principles of EU law. Although signing the European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR) is a condition for EU membership,[h] previously, the EU itself could not accede to the Convention as it is neither a state[i] nor had the competence to accede.[j] The Lisbon Treaty and Protocol 14 to the ECHR have changed this: the former binds the EU to accede to the Convention while the latter formally permits it.

Althorugh, the EU is independent from Council of Europe, they share purpose and ideas especially on rule of law, human rights and democracy. Further European Convention on Human Rights and European Social Charter, the source of law of Charter of Fudamantal Rights are created by Council of Europe. The EU also promoted human rights issues in the wider world. The EU opposes the death penalty and has proposed its worldwide abolition.[95] Abolition of the death penalty is a condition for EU membership.[96]

Acts

The main legal acts of the EU come in three forms: regulations, directives, and decisions. Regulations become law in all member states the moment they come into force, without the requirement for any implementing measures,[k] and automatically override conflicting domestic provisions.[e] Directives require member states to achieve a certain result while leaving them discretion as to how to achieve the result. The details of how they are to be implemented are left to member states.[l] When the time limit for implementing directives passes, they may, under certain conditions, have direct effect in national law against member states.

Decisions offer an alternative to the two above modes of legislation. They are legal acts which only apply to specified individuals, companies or a particular member state. They are most often used in competition law, or on rulings on State Aid, but are also frequently used for procedural or administrative matters within the institutions. Regulations, directives, and decisions are of equal legal value and apply without any formal hierarchy.[97]

Justice and home affairs

Further information: Area of freedom, security and justice

 

 

The Schengen Area comprises most member states ensuring open borders.

Since the creation of the EU in 1993, it has developed its competencies in the area of justice and home affairs, initially at an intergovernmental level and later by supranationalism. To this end, agencies have been established that co-ordinate associated actions: Europol for co-operation of police forces,[98] Eurojust for co-operation between prosecutors,[99] and Frontex for co-operation between border control authorities.[100] The EU also operates the Schengen Information System[16] which provides a common database for police and immigration authorities. This cooperation had to particularly be developed with the advent of open borders through the Schengen Agreement and the associated cross border crime.

Furthermore, the Union has legislated in areas such as extradition,[101] family law,[102] asylum law,[103] and criminal justice.[104] Prohibitions against sexual and nationality discrimination have a long standing in the treaties.[m] In more recent years, these have been supplemented by powers to legislate against discrimination based on race, religion, disability, age, and sexual orientation.[n] By virtue of these powers, the EU has enacted legislation on sexual discrimination in the work-place, age discrimination, and racial discrimination.[o]

Foreign relations

Main articles: Foreign relations of the European Union, Common Foreign and Security Policy, and European External Action Service

 

 

High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, Catherine Ashton.

Foreign policy cooperation between member states dates from the establishment of the Community in 1957, when member states negotiated as a bloc in international trade negotiations under the Common Commercial Policy.[105] Steps for a more wide ranging coordination in foreign relations began in 1970 with the establishment of European Political Cooperation which created an informal consultation process between member states with the aim of forming common foreign policies. It was not, however, until 1987 when European Political Cooperation was introduced on a formal basis by the Single European Act. EPC was renamed as the Common Foreign and Security Policy (CFSP) by the Maastricht Treaty.[106]

The aims of the CFSP are to promote both the EU’s own interests and those of the international community as a whole, including the furtherance of international co-operation, respect for human rights, democracy, and the rule of law.[107] The CFSP requires unanimity among the member states on the appropriate policy to follow on any particular issue. The unanimity and difficult issues treated under the CFSP makes disagreements, such as those which occurred over the war in Iraq,[108] not uncommon.

 

 

The EU participates in all G8 and G20 summits. (G20 summit in Seoul)

The co-ordinator and representative of the CFSP within the EU is the High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy (currently Catherine Ashton) who speaks on behalf of the EU in foreign policy and defence matters, and has the task of articulating the positions expressed by the member states on these fields of policy into a common alignment. The High Representative heads up the European External Action Service (EEAS), a unique EU department[109] that has been officially implemented and operational since 1 December 2010 on the occasion of the first anniversary of the entry into force of the Treaty of Lisbon.[110] The EEAS will serve as a foreign ministry and diplomatic corps for the European Union.[111]

Besides the emerging international policy of the European Union, the international influence of the EU is also felt through enlargement. The perceived benefits of becoming a member of the EU act as an incentive for both political and economic reform in states wishing to fulfil the EU’s accession criteria, and are considered an important factor contributing to the reform of European formerly Communist countries.[112] This influence on the internal affairs of other countries is generally referred to as “soft power“, as opposed to military “hard power”.[113]

Military

Main article: Military of the European Union

The Eurofighter Typhoon and Eurocopter Tiger are built by consortiums of companies based in EU member states.

The European Union does not have one unified military. The predecessors of the European Union were not devised as a strong military alliance because NATO was largely seen as appropriate and sufficient for defence purposes.[114] 21 EU members are members of NATO[115] while the remaining member states follow policies of neutrality.[116] The Western European Union, a military alliance with a mutual defence clause, was disbanded in 2010 as its role had been transferred to the EU.[117]

According to the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI), France spent more than €44 billion ($61bn) on defence in 2010, placing it third in the world after the US and China, while the United Kingdom spent almost £39 billion ($57bn), the fourth largest.[118] Together, France and the United Kingdom account for 45 per cent of Europe’s defence budget, 50 per cent of its military capacity and 70 per cent of all spending in military research and development.[119] In 2000, the United Kingdom, France, Spain, and Germany accounted for 97% of the total military research budget of the then 15 EU member states.[120]

Following the Kosovo War in 1999, the European Council agreed that “the Union must have the capacity for autonomous action, backed by credible military forces, the means to decide to use them, and the readiness to do so, in order to respond to international crises without prejudice to actions by NATO”. To that end, a number of efforts were made to increase the EU’s military capability, notably the Helsinki Headline Goal process. After much discussion, the most concrete result was the EU Battlegroups initiative, each of which is planned to be able to deploy quickly about 1500 personnel.[121]

EU forces have been deployed on peacekeeping missions from Africa to the former Yugoslavia and the Middle East.[122] EU military operations are supported by a number of bodies, including the European Defence Agency, European Union Satellite Centre and the European Union Military Staff.[123] In an EU consisting of 27 members, substantial security and defence cooperation is increasingly relying on great power cooperation.[124]

Humanitarian aid

Further information: ECHO (European Commission)

 

 

The EU is a large contributor of foreign aid

The European Commission Humanitarian Aid Office, or “ECHO”, provides humanitarian aid from the EU to developing countries. In 2006 its budget amounted to €671 million, 48% of which went to the African, Caribbean and Pacific countries.[125]

Humanitarian aid is financed directly by the budget (70%) as part of the financial instruments for external action and also by the European Development Fund (30%).[126] The EU’s external action financing is divided into ‘geographic’ instruments and ‘thematic’ instruments.[126] The ‘geographic’ instruments provide aid through the Development Cooperation Instrument (DCI, €16.9 billion, 2007–2013), which must spend 95% of its budget on overseas development assistance (ODA), and from the European Neighbourhood and Partnership Instrument (ENPI), which contains some relevant programmes.[126] The European Development Fund (EDF, €22.7 bn, 2008–2013) is made up of voluntary contributions by member states, but there is pressure to merge the EDF into the budget-financed instruments to encourage increased contributions to match the 0.7% target and allow the European Parliament greater oversight.[126]

The EU’s aid has previously been criticised by the think-tank Open Europe for being inefficient, mis-targeted and linked to economic objectives.[127] Furthermore, some charities such as ActionAid have claimed European governments have inflated the amount they have spent on aid by incorrectly including money spent on debt relief, foreign students, and refugees. Under the de-inflated figures, the EU as a whole did not reach its internal aid target in 2006[128] and is expected not to reach the international target of 0.7% of gross national income until 2015.[129]

However, four countries have reached the 0.7% target: Sweden, Luxembourg, the Netherlands and Denmark.[130] In 2005 EU aid was 0.34% of the GNP which was higher than that of either the United States or Japan.[131] The previous Commissioner for Aid, Louis Michel, has called for aid to be delivered more rapidly, to greater effect, and on humanitarian principles.[132]

Economy

Main articles: Economy of the European Union and Regional policy of the European Union

The EU has established a single market across the territory of all its members. A monetary union, the eurozone, using a single currency comprises 17 member states.[133] In 2011 the EU had a combined GDP of 17.57 trillion international dollars, a 20% share of the global gross domestic product (in terms of purchasing power parity).[23]

Of the top 500 largest corporations measured by revenue (Fortune Global 500 in 2010), 161 have their headquarters in the EU.[134] In 2007, unemployment in the EU stood at 7%[135] while investment was at 21.4% of GDP, inflation at 2.2%, and current account balance at −0.9% of GDP (i.e., slightly more import than export). Now, in 2012, unemployment in the EU stand, per August 2012, at 11.4%[135]

There is a significant variance for GDP (PPP) per capita within individual EU states, these range from €11,300 to €69,800 (about US$15,700 to US$97,000).[136] The difference between the richest and poorest regions (271 NUTS-2 regions of the Nomenclature of Territorial Units for Statistics) ranged, in 2009, from 27% of the EU27 average in the region of Severozapaden in Bulgaria, to 332% of the average in Inner London in the United Kingdom. On the high end, Inner London has €78,000 PPP per capita, Luxembourg €62,500, and Bruxelles-Cap €52,500, while the poorest regions, are Severozapaden with €6,400 PPP per capita, Nord-Est with €6,900 PPP per capita, Severen tsentralen with €6,900 and Yuzhen tsentralen with €7,200.[136]

Structural Funds and Cohesion Funds are supporting the development of underdeveloped regions of the EU. Such regions are primarily located in the states of central and southern Europe.[137][138] Several funds provide emergency aid, support for candidate members to transform their country to conform to the EU’s standard (Phare, ISPA, and SAPARD), and support to the former USSR Commonwealth of Independent States (TACIS). TACIS has now become part of the worldwide EuropeAid programme. EU research and technological framework programmes sponsor research conducted by consortia from all EU members to work towards a single European Research Area.[139]

Internal market

Main article: Internal Market

 

 

EU member states have a standardised passport design with the name of the member state, a symbol, and the words “European Union” given in their official language(s). (Ireland model)

Two of the original core objectives of the European Economic Community were the development of a common market, subsequently renamed the single market, and a customs union between its member states. The single market involves the free circulation of goods, capital, people and services within the EU,[133] and the customs union involves the application of a common external tariff on all goods entering the market. Once goods have been admitted into the market they cannot be subjected to customs duties, discriminatory taxes or import quotas, as they travel internally. The non-EU member states of Iceland, Norway, Liechtenstein and Switzerland participate in the single market but not in the customs union.[62] Half the trade in the EU is covered by legislation harmonised by the EU.[140]

Free movement of capital is intended to permit movement of investments such as property purchases and buying of shares between countries.[141] Until the drive towards economic and monetary union the development of the capital provisions had been slow. Post-Maastricht there has been a rapidly developing corpus of ECJ judgements regarding this initially neglected freedom. The free movement of capital is unique insofar as it is granted equally to non-member states.

The free movement of persons means that EU citizens can move freely between member states to live, work, study or retire in another country. This required the lowering of administrative formalities and recognition of professional qualifications of other states.[142]

The free movement of services and of establishment allows self-employed persons to move between member states to provide services on a temporary or permanent basis. While services account for 60–70% of GDP, legislation in the area is not as developed as in other areas. This lacuna has been addressed by the recently passed Directive on services in the internal market which aims to liberalise the cross border provision of services.[143] According to the Treaty the provision of services is a residual freedom that only applies if no other freedom is being exercised.

Competition

Further information: European Union competition law and European Commissioner for Competition

The EU operates a competition policy intended to ensure undistorted competition within the single market.[p] The Commission as the competition regulator for the single market is responsible for antitrust issues, approving mergers, breaking up cartels, working for economic liberalisation and preventing state aid.[144]

The Competition Commissioner, currently Joaquín Almunia, is one of the most powerful positions in the Commission, notable for the ability to affect the commercial interests of trans-national corporations.[145] For example, in 2001 the Commission for the first time prevented a merger between two companies based in the United States (GE and Honeywell) which had already been approved by their national authority.[146] Another high profile case against Microsoft, resulted in the Commission fining Microsoft over €777 million following nine years of legal action.[147]

Monetary union

Main articles: Eurozone and Economic and Monetary Union of the European Union

 

The eurozone (in darker blue) is constituted by 17 member states adopting the euro as legal tender.

 

The European Central Bank in Frankfurt governs the monetary policy.

The creation of a European single currency became an official objective of the European Economic Community in 1969. However, it was only with the advent of the Maastricht Treaty in 1993 that member states were legally bound to start the monetary union no later than 1 January 1999. On this date the euro was duly launched by eleven of the then 15 member states of the EU. It remained an accounting currency until 1 January 2002, when euro notes and coins were issued and national currencies began to phase out in the eurozone, which by then consisted of 12 member states. The eurozone (constituted by the EU member states which have adopted the euro) has since grown to 17 countries, the most recent being Estonia which joined on 1 January 2011.

All other EU member states, except Denmark and the United Kingdom, are legally bound to join the euro[148] when the convergence criteria are met, however only a few countries have set target dates for accession. Sweden has circumvented the requirement to join the euro by not meeting the membership criteria.[q]

The euro is designed to help build a single market by, for example: easing travel of citizens and goods, eliminating exchange rate problems, providing price transparency, creating a single financial market, price stability and low interest rates, and providing a currency used internationally and protected against shocks by the large amount of internal trade within the eurozone. It is also intended as a political symbol of integration and stimulus for more.[149] Since its launch the euro has become the second reserve currency in the world with a quarter of foreign exchanges reserves being in euro.[150] The euro, and the monetary policies of those who have adopted it in agreement with the EU, are under the control of the European Central Bank (ECB).[151]

The ECB is the central bank for the eurozone, and thus controls monetary policy in that area with an agenda to maintain price stability. It is at the centre of the European System of Central Banks, which comprehends all EU national central banks and is controlled by its General Council, consisting of the President of the ECB, who is appointed by the European Council, the Vice-President of the ECB, and the governors of the national central banks of all 27 EU member states.[152]

The monetary union has been shaken by the European sovereign-debt crisis since 2009.

Financial supervision

The European System of Financial Supervisors is an institutional architecture of the EU’s framework of financial supervision composed by three authorities: the European Banking Authority, the European Insurance and Occupational Pensions Authority and the European Securities and Markets Authority. To complement this framework, there is also a European Systemic Risk Board under the responsibility of the ECB. The aim of this financial control system is to ensure the economic stability of the EU.[153]

Energy

Main article: Energy policy of the European Union

EU energy production

46% of total EU primary energy use

Nuclear energy[r] 29.3%
Coal & lignite 21.9%
Gas 19.4%
Renewable energy 14.6%
Oil 13.4%
Other 1.4%

Net imports of energy

54% of total primary EU energy use

Oil & petroleum products 60.2%
Gas 26.4%
Other 13.4%

In 2006, the 27 member states of the EU had a gross inland energy consumption of 1,825 million tonnes of oil equivalent (toe).[154] Around 46% of the energy consumed was produced within the member states while 54% was imported.[154] In these statistics, nuclear energy is treated as primary energy produced in the EU, regardless of the source of the uranium, of which less than 3% is produced in the EU.[155]

The EU has had legislative power in the area of energy policy for most of its existence; this has its roots in the original European Coal and Steel Community. The introduction of a mandatory and comprehensive European energy policy was approved at the meeting of the European Council in October 2005, and the first draft policy was published in January 2007.[156]

The EU has five key points in its energy policy: increase competition in the internal market, encourage investment and boost interconnections between electricity grids; diversify energy resources with better systems to respond to a crisis; establish a new treaty framework for energy co-operation with Russia while improving relations with energy-rich states in Central Asia[157] and North Africa; use existing energy supplies more efficiently while increasing use of renewable energy; and finally increase funding for new energy technologies.[156]

The EU currently imports 82% of its oil, 57% of its natural gas[158] and 97.48% of its uranium[155] demands. There are concerns that Europe’s dependence on Russian energy is endangering the Union and its member countries. The EU is attempting to diversify its energy supply.[159]

Infrastructure

Further information: European Commissioner for TransportEuropean Commissioner for Industry and Entrepreneurship, and European Investment Bank

 

 

The Öresund Bridge between Denmark and Sweden is part of the Trans-European Networks.

The EU is working to improve cross-border infrastructure within the EU, for example through the Trans-European Networks (TEN). Projects under TEN include the Channel Tunnel, LGV Est, the Fréjus Rail Tunnel, the Öresund Bridge, the Brenner Base Tunnel and the Strait of Messina Bridge. In 2001 it was estimated that by 2010 the network would cover: 75,200 kilometres (46,700 mi) of roads; 78,000 kilometres (48,000 mi) of railways; 330 airports; 270 maritime harbours; and 210 internal harbours.[160][161]

The developing European transport policies will increase the pressure on the environment in many regions by the increased transport network. In the pre-2004 EU members, the major problem in transport deals with congestion and pollution. After the recent enlargement, the new states that joined since 2004 added the problem of solving accessibility to the transport agenda.[162] The Polish road network in particular was in poor condition: at Poland’s accession to the EU, a number of roads needed to be upgraded, particularly the A4 autostrada, requiring approximately €13 billion.[163][164]

The Galileo positioning system is another EU infrastructure project. Galileo is a proposed Satellite navigation system, to be built by the EU and launched by the European Space Agency (ESA), and is to be operational by 2012. The Galileo project was launched partly to reduce the EU’s dependency on the US-operated Global Positioning System, but also to give more complete global coverage and allow for far greater accuracy, given the aged nature of the GPS system.[165] It has been criticised by some due to costs, delays, and their perception of redundancy given the existence of the GPS system.[166]

Agriculture

Main article: Common Agricultural Policy

 

 

EU farms are supported by the CAP, the largest budgetary expenditure. (Vineyard in Spain)

The Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) is one of the oldest policies of the European Community, and was one of its core aims.[167] The policy has the objectives of increasing agricultural production, providing certainty in food supplies, ensuring a high quality of life for farmers, stabilising markets, and ensuring reasonable prices for consumers.[s] It was, until recently, operated by a system of subsidies and market intervention. Until the 1990s, the policy accounted for over 60% of the then European Community‘s annual budget, and still accounts for around 34%.[168]

The policy’s price controls and market interventions led to considerable overproduction, resulting in so-called butter mountains and wine lakes. These were intervention stores of produce bought up by the Community to maintain minimum price levels. In order to dispose of surplus stores, they were often sold on the world market at prices considerably below Community guaranteed prices, or farmers were offered subsidies (amounting to the difference between the Community and world prices) to export their produce outside the Community. This system has been criticised for under-cutting farmers outside of Europe, especially those in the developing world.[169]

The overproduction has also been criticised for encouraging environmentally unfriendly intensive farming methods.[169] Supporters of CAP say that the economic support which it gives to farmers provides them with a reasonable standard of living, in what would otherwise be an economically unviable way of life. However, the EU’s small farmers receive only 8% of CAP’s available subsidies.[169]

Since the beginning of the 1990s, the CAP has been subject to a series of reforms. Initially these reforms included the introduction of set-aside in 1988, where a proportion of farm land was deliberately withdrawn from production, milk quotas (by the McSharry reforms in 1992) and, more recently, the ‘de-coupling’ (or disassociation) of the money farmers receive from the EU and the amount they produce (by the Fischler reforms in 2004). Agriculture expenditure will move away from subsidy payments linked to specific produce, toward direct payments based on farm size. This is intended to allow the market to dictate production levels, while maintaining agricultural income levels.[167] One of these reforms entailed the abolition of the EU’s sugar regime, which previously divided the sugar market between member states and certain African-Caribbean nations with a privileged relationship with the EU.[136]

Environment

Further information: European Commissioner for the Environment and European Climate Change Programme

In 1957 when the EU was founded, it had no environmental policy, no environmental bureaucracy, and no environmental laws.[170] Today, the EU has some of the most progressive environmental policies of any state in the world. The environmental policy of the EU has therefore developed in remarkable fashion in the past four decades. An increasingly dense network of legislation has emerged, which now extends to all areas of environmental protection, including: air pollution control; water protection; waste management; nature conservation; and the control of chemicals, biotechnology and other industrial risks.[171] The Institute for European Environmental Policy estimates the body of EU environmental law amounts to well over 500 Directives, Regulations and Decisions.[172] Environmental policy has thus become a core area of European politics.

Such dynamic developments are surprising in light of the legal and institutional conditions which existed in the late 1950s and 60s.[173] Acting without any legislative authority, European policy-makers initially increased the EU’s capacity to act by defining environmental policy as a trade problem. The most important reason for the introduction of a common environmental policy was the fear that trade barriers and competitive distortions in the Common Market could emerge due to the different environmental standards.[174] However, in the course of time, EU environmental policy emerged as a formal policy area, with its own policy actors, policy principles and procedures. The legal basis of EU environmental policy was not more explicitly established until the introduction of the Single European Act in 1987.[172]

Initially, EU environmental policy was rather inward looking. More recently, however, the Union has demonstrated a growing leadership in global environmental governance. The role of the EU in securing the ratification and entry into force of the Kyoto Protocol in the face of US opposition is an example in this regard. This international dimension is reflected in the EU’s Sixth Environmental Action Programme, which recognizes that its strategic objectives can only be achieved if a series of key international environmental agreements are actively supported and properly implemented both at an EU level and worldwide. The entry into force of the Lisbon Treaty further strengthens the EU’s global environmental leadership ambitions.[175] The vast body of EU environmental law which now exists has played a vital role in improving habitat and species protection in Europe as well as contributed to improvements in air and water quality and waste management.[176] However, significant challenges remain, both to meet existing EU targets and aspirations and to agree new targets and actions that will further improve the environment and the quality of life in Europe and beyond.

One of the top priorities of EU environmental policy in combatting climate change. In 2007, member states agreed that the EU is to use 20% renewable energy in the future and that it has to reduce carbon dioxide emissions in 2020 by at least 20% compared to 1990 levels.[177] This includes measures that in 2020, 10% of the overall fuel quantity used by cars and trucks in EU 27 should be running on renewable energy such as biofuels. This is considered to be one of the most ambitious moves of an important industrialised region to fight global warming.[178]

Education and science

Main articles: Educational policies and initiatives of the European Union and Framework Programmes for Research and Technological Development

 

 

Renewable energy is one priority in transnational research activities such as the seventh framework programme

Education and science are areas where the EU’s role is limited to supporting national governments. In education, the policy was mainly developed in the 1980s in programmes supporting exchanges and mobility. The most visible of these has been the Erasmus Programme, a university exchange programme which began in 1987. In its first 20 years it has supported international exchange opportunities for well over 1.5 million university and college students and has become a symbol of European student life.[179]

There are now similar programmes for school pupils and teachers, for trainees in vocational education and training, and for adult learners in the Lifelong Learning Programme 2007–2013. These programmes are designed to encourage a wider knowledge of other countries and to spread good practices in the education and training fields across the EU.[180] Through its support of the Bologna process the EU is supporting comparable standards and compatible degrees across Europe.

Scientific development is facilitated through the EU’s Framework Programmes, the first of which started in 1984. The aims of EU policy in this area are to co-ordinate and stimulate research. The independent European Research Council allocates EU funds to European or national research projects.[181] EU research and technological framework programmes deal in a number of areas, for example energy where it aims to develop a diverse mix of renewable energy for the environment and to reduce dependence on imported fuels.[182]

Health care

Further information: Healthcare in Europe

 

 

European Health Insurance Card.
(French version pictured)

Although the EU has no major competences in the field of health care, Article 35 of the Charter of Fundamental Rights of the European Union affirms that “A high level of human health protection shall be ensured in the definition and implementation of all Union policies and activities”. All the member states have either publicly sponsored and regulated universal health care or publicly provided universal health care. The European Commission‘s Directorate-General for Health and Consumers seeks to align national laws on the protection of people’s health, on the consumers’ rights, on the safety of food and other products.[183][184][185]

Health care in the EU is provided through a wide range of different systems run at the national level. The systems are primarily publicly funded through taxation (universal health care). Private funding for health care may represent personal contributions towards meeting the non-taxpayer refunded portion of health care or may reflect totally private (non-subsidised) health care either paid out of pocket or met by some form of personal or employer funded insurance.

All EU and many other European countries offer their citizens a free European Health Insurance Card which, on a reciprocal basis, provides insurance for emergency medical treatment insurance when visiting other participating European countries.[186] A directive on cross-border healthcare aims at promoting cooperation on health care between member states and facilitating access to safe and high-quality cross-border healthcare for European patients.[187][188][189]

Demographics

Main articles: Demographics of the European Union and Largest population centres in the European Union

On 29 July 2012, the combined population of all 27 member states was forecast at 502,122,750 as of 1 January 2011.[5]

Largest population centres of European Union
Larger Urban Zones
, according to Eurostat[190][191]

Rank

City name

State

Pop.

London

Paris

1

London United Kingdom 11,905,500

Madrid

Berlin

2

Paris France 11,532,409

3

Madrid Spain 5,804,829

4

Berlin Germany 4,971,331

5

Barcelona Spain 4,440,629

6

Athens Greece 4,013,368

7

Rome Italy 3,457,690

8

Hamburg Germany 3,134,620

9

Milan Italy 3,076,643

10

Katowice Poland 2,710,397

The EU contains 16 cities with populations of over one million, the largest being London.

Besides many large cities, the EU also includes several densely populated regions that have no single core but have emerged from the connection of several cites and now encompass large metropolitan areas. The largest are Rhine-Ruhr having approximately 11.5 million inhabitants (Cologne, Dortmund, Düsseldorf et al.), Randstad approx. 7 million (Amsterdam, Rotterdam, The Hague, Utrecht et al.), Frankfurt Rhine-Main Metropolitan Region approx. 5.8 million (Frankfurt, Wiesbaden et al.), the Flemish diamond approx. 5.5 million (urban area in between Antwerp, Brussels, Leuven and Ghent), Katowice and its Upper Silesian metropolitan area approx. 5.3 million and the Øresund Region approx. 3.7 million (Copenhagen, Denmark and Malmö, Sweden).[192]

In 2010, 47.3 million people lived in the EU, who were born outside their resident country. This corresponds to 9.4% of the total EU population. Of these, 31.4 million (6.3%) were born outside the EU and 16.0 million (3.2%) were born in another EU member state. The largest absolute numbers of people born outside the EU were in Germany (6.4 million), France (5.1 million), the United Kingdom (4.7 million), Spain (4.1 million), Italy (3.2 million), and the Netherlands (1.4 million).[193]

Languages

Main article: Languages of the European Union

European official languages report (EU-251)

Language

Native Speakers

Total

English 13% 51%
German 18% 32%
French 12% 26%
Italian 13% 16%
Spanish 9% 15%
Polish 9% 10%
Dutch 5% 6%
Greek 3% 3%
Czech 2% 3%
Swedish 2% 3%
Hungarian 2% 2%
Portuguese 2% 2%
Slovak 1% 2%
Danish 1% 1%
Finnish 1% 1%
Lithuanian 1% 1%
Slovenian 1% 1%
Estonian <1% <1%
Irish <1% <1%
Latvian <1% <1%
Maltese <1% <1%
1Published in 2006, before the
accession of Bulgaria and Romania.
Survey conducted in 2005, based on population
with a minimum age of 15.
Native: Native language[194]
Total: EU citizens able to hold a
conversation in this language[195]

Among the many languages and dialects used in the EU, it has 23 official and working languages: Bulgarian, Czech, Danish, Dutch, English, Estonian, Finnish, French, German, Greek, Hungarian, Italian, Irish, Latvian, Lithuanian, Maltese, Polish, Portuguese, Romanian, Slovak, Slovene, Spanish, and Swedish.[196][197] Important documents, such as legislation, are translated into every official language. The European Parliament provides translation into all languages for documents and its plenary sessions.[198] Some institutions use only a handful of languages as internal working languages.[199] Catalan, Galician, Basque, Scottish Gaelic and Welsh are not official languages of the EU but have semi-official status in that official translations of the treaties are made into them and citizens of the EU have the right to correspond with the institutions using them.

Language policy is the responsibility of member states, but EU institutions promote the learning of other languages.[t][200] English is the most spoken language in the EU and is spoken by 51% of the EU population counting both native and non-native speakers.[201] German is the most widely spoken mother tongue (about 88.7 million people as of 2006). 56% of EU citizens are able to engage in a conversation in a language other than their mother tongue.[202] Most official languages of the EU belong to the Indo-European language family, except Estonian, Finnish, and Hungarian, which belong to the Uralic language family, and Maltese, which is an Afroasiatic language. Most EU official languages are written in the Latin alphabet except Bulgarian, written in Cyrillic, and Greek, written in the Greek alphabet.[203]

Besides the 23 official languages, there are about 150 regional and minority languages, spoken by up to 50 million people.[203] Of these, only the Spanish regional languages (that is, Catalan, Galician, and the non-Indo-European Basque), Scottish Gaelic, and Welsh[204] can be used by citizens in communication with the main European institutions.[205] Although EU programmes can support regional and minority languages, the protection of linguistic rights is a matter for the individual member states. The European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages ratified by most EU states provides general guidelines that states can follow to protect their linguistic heritage.

Religion

Main article: Religion in the European Union

 

 

The percentage of Europeans in each member state who believe in “a God”.[206]

The EU is a secular body with no formal connection to any religion. The Article 17 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union recognises the “status under national law of churches and religious associations” as well as that of “philosophical and non-confessional organisations”.[207]

The preamble to the Treaty on European Union mentions the “cultural, religious and humanist inheritance of Europe”.[207] Discussion over the draft texts of the European Constitution and later the Treaty of Lisbon included proposals to mention Christianity or “God” or both, in the preamble of the text, but the idea faced opposition and was dropped.[208]

Christians in the EU are divided among followers of Roman Catholicism, numerous Protestant denominations, and the Eastern Orthodox Church. Islam and Judaism are also represented in the EU population. As of 2009, the EU had an estimated Muslim population of 13 million,[209] and an estimated Jewish population of over a million.[210]

Eurostat‘s Eurobarometer opinion polls showed in 2005 that 52% of EU citizens believed in a god, 27% in “some sort of spirit or life force”, and 18% had no form of belief.[206] Many countries have experienced falling church attendance and membership in recent years.[211] The countries where the fewest people reported a religious belief were Estonia (16%) and the Czech Republic (19%).[206] The most religious countries are Malta (95%; predominantly Roman Catholic), and Cyprus and Romania both with about 90% of the citizens believing in God (both predominantly Orthodox). Across the EU, belief was higher among women, increased with age, those with religious upbringing, those who left school at 15 with a basic education, and those “positioning themselves on the right of the political scale (57%).”[206]

Culture and sport

Main articles: Cultural policies of the European Union and Sport policies of the European Union

 

 

Maribor in Slovenia (left) and Guimarães in Portugal (right) are the European Capitals of Culture in 2012.

Cultural co-operation between member states has been a concern of the EU since its inclusion as a community competency in the Maastricht Treaty.[212] Actions taken in the cultural area by the EU include the Culture 2000 7-year programme,[212] the European Cultural Month event,[213] the Media Plus programme,[214] orchestras such as the European Union Youth Orchestra[215] and the European Capital of Culture programme – where one or more cities in the EU are selected for one year to assist the cultural development of that city.[216]

Sport is mainly the responsibility of an individual member states or other international organisations rather than that of the EU. However, there are some EU policies that have had an impact on sport, such as the free movement of workers which was at the core of the Bosman ruling, which prohibited national football leagues from imposing quotas on foreign players with European citizenship.[217] The Treaty of Lisbon requires any application of economic rules to take into account the specific nature of sport and its structures based on voluntary activity.[218] This followed lobbying by governing organisations such as the International Olympic Committee and FIFA, due to objections over the applications of free market principles to sport which led to an increasing gap between rich and poor clubs.[219] The EU does fund a program for Israeli, Jordanian, Irish and British football coaches, as part of the Football 4 Peace project.[220]

See also

Geography portal
Europe portal
European Union portal

Notes

Footnotes

  1. ^ Not including overseas territories
  2. ^ .eu is representative of the whole of the EU, member states also have their own TLDs
  3. ^ This figure includes the extra-European territories of member states which are part of the European Union and excludes the European territories of member states which are not part of the Union. For more information see Special member state territories and the European Union.
  4. ^ Referred to by the EU as the “former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia”.
  5. ^ a b See Article 288 (ex Article 249 TEC) of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union, on eur-lex.europa.eu
  6. ^ According to the principle of Direct Effect first invoked in the Court of Justice’s decision in Van Gend en Loos v Nederlandse Administratie der Belastingen, Eur-Lex (European Court of Justice 1963). See: Craig and de Búrca, ch. 5.
  7. ^ According to the principle of Supremacy as established by the ECJ in Case 6/64, Falminio Costa v. ENEL [1964] ECR 585. See Craig and de Búrca, ch. 7. See also: Factortame litigation: Factortame Ltd. v. Secretary of State for Transport (No. 2) [1991] 1 AC 603, Solange II (Re Wuensche Handelsgesellschaft, BVerfG decision of 22 Oct 1986 [1987] 3 CMLR 225,265) and Frontini v. Ministero delle Finanze [1974] 2 CMLR 372; Raoul George Nicolo [1990] 1 CMLR 173.
  8. ^ It is effectively treated as one of the Copenhagen criteria, Assembly.coe.int. It should be noted that this is a political and not a legal requirement for membership.
  9. ^ The European Convention on Human Rights was previously only open to members of the Council of Europe (Article 59.1 of the Convention), and even now only states may become member of the Council of Europe (Article 4 of the Statute of the Council of Europe).
  10. ^ Opinion (2/92) of the European Court of Justice on “Accession by the Community to the European Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms” 1996 E.C.R. I-1759 (in French), ruled that the European Community did not have the competence to accede to the ECHR.
  11. ^ See: Case 34/73, Variola v. Amministrazione delle Finanze [1973] ECR 981.
  12. ^ To do otherwise would require the drafting of legislation which would have to cope with the frequently divergent legal systems and administrative systems of all of the now 27 member states. See Craig and de Búrca, p. 115
  13. ^ See Articles 157 (ex Article 141) of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union, on eur-lex.europa.eu
  14. ^ See Article 2(7) of the Amsterdam Treaty on eur-lex.europa.eu
  15. ^ Council Directive 2000/43/EC of 29 June 2000 implementing the principle of equal treatment between persons irrespective of racial or ethnic origin (OJ L 180, 19.7.2000, p. 22–26); Council Directive 2000/78/EC of 27 November 2000 establishing a general framework for equal treatment in employment and occupation (OJ L 303, 2.12.2000, p. 16–22).
  16. ^ Article 3(1)(g) of the Treaty of Rome
  17. ^ In order to meet the euro convergence criteria it is necessary first to join the European Exchange Rate Mechanism, something Sweden has declined to do: “ERM II”. Danish Finance Ministry. 20 March 2009. Retrieved 26 December 2009.
  18. ^ Note that although almost all Uranium is imported,
    Nuclear Power is considered primary energy produced in the EU
  19. ^ Article 39 (ex Article 33) of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union, on eur-lex.europa.eu
  20. ^ See Articles 165 and 166 (ex Articles 149 and 150) of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union, on eur-lex.europa.eu

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References

  • Bindi, Federiga, ed. The Foreign Policy of the European Union: Assessing Europe’s Role in the World (Brookings Institution Press; 2010). The E.U.’s foreign-policy mechanisms and foreign relations, including with its neighbours.
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  • Piris, Jean-Claude (2010). Lisbon Treaty. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. p. 448. ISBN 978-0-521-19792-2.

 

BENELUX

Benelux

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Benelux

Location of  Benelux  (dark green)

in Europe  (dark grey)  —  [Legend]

Official languages

Dutch
French
German
Membership  Belgium
Netherlands
Luxembourg

Establishment

 - Treaty signed 5 September 1944[1]
 - Treaty came into effect 1 January 1948[1]

Area

 - Total 76,657 km2
29,597 sq mi

Population

 -  estimate 27.2 million;
Dutch: 23.5 million,
French: 4 million,
German and Luxembourgish: 500,000
GDP (PPP)  estimate
 - Total $1.080 trillion
 - Per capita $38,620

Currency

Euro (EUR)

Website
www.benelux.int

 

 

Benelux Prime Ministers Mark Rutte, Jean-Claude Juncker, and Yves Leterme in The Hague on 24 May 2011.

The Benelux is a customs union in Europe comprising three neighbouring countries, Belgium, the Netherlands, and Luxembourg. These countries are located in northwestern Europe between France and Germany. The Union’s name is formed from the beginning of each country’s name; it was possibly created for the Benelux Customs Union.[2] However, according to The Economist it was coined somewhat earlier—in August 1946, by that newspaper’s correspondent in Belgium.[3] It is now used in a more generic way to refer to the cultural, economic, and geographic grouping.

In 1951, these countries joined West Germany, France, and Italy to form the European Coal and Steel Community, the earliest version of the modern European Union.

The main institutions of the Union are the Committee of Ministers, the Parliament, the Council of the Union, the Court of Justice, the Secretariat-General, the Organization for Intellectual Property.

The Benelux Secretary-General is located in Brussels. It is the central administrative pillar of the Benelux Economic Union. It handles the secretariat of the Committee of Ministers, the Council of Economic Union and the various committees and working parties. Moreover, it ensures the registry of the Benelux Court of Justice.

Contents

Politics

A Benelux Parliament (originally referred to as Interparliamentary Consultative Council) was created in 1955. This parliamentary assembly is composed of 21 members of the Dutch parliament, 21 members of the Belgian national and regional parliaments, and 7 members of the Luxembourgish parliament.

In 1944, the three countries signed the London Customs Convention, the treaty that established the Benelux Customs Union. Ratified in 1947, the treaty was in force from 1948 until being supplanted by the Benelux Economic Union. The treaty establishing the Benelux Economic Union (Benelux Economische Unie/Union Économique Benelux) was signed on 3 February 1958 in The Hague and came into force on 1 November 1960 to promote the free movement of workers, capital, services, and goods in the region. Under the Treaty the Union implies the co-operation of economic, financial and social policies.

Law

This article needs additional citations for verification. Please help improve this article by adding citations to reliable sources. Unsourced material may be challenged and removed. (September 2011)

The Benelux Economic Union involves an intergovernmental cooperation. Decisions are taken unanimously.[citation needed]

The unification of the law of the three Benelux countries is mainly achieved by regulations of its Committee of Ministers, that only bind the three states, but are not directly applicable in their internal legal orders. They only become legally valid after having been incorporated into national law.[citation needed]

The Treaty establishing the Benelux Economic Union has provided the Committee of Ministers with the following legal instruments: decisions, conventions, recommendations and directives.

The Committee of Ministers can promulgate decisions in the fields for which it has competence – those fields are explicitly set down in the Union Treaty or the additional conventions. When the Committee of Ministers adopts a decision, it immediately becomes binding on the three governments. For a decision to be also applicable to the citizen, it must be transposed into national law.

The Union Treaty is not exhaustive. For this reason, Article 19 of the Treaty provides that the Committee of Ministers may conclude additional conventions. These therefore constitute extensions of the Union Treaty. They are submitted to the national parliaments for approval in keeping with the ratification procedure applied in each of the Member States. Thus, there is a large number of Benelux conventions in a wide range of subject matters.[4]

Approval of a recommendation by the Committee of Ministers is not legally binding, but rather a moral stance by the three governments. Recommendations are not devoid of any binding effect in that their approval implies an undertaking in view of their execution.[citation needed]

The Committee of Ministers can issue directives to the Council of Economic Union, the Committees, the General Secretariat and the joint services.[citation needed]

In 1965, the treaty establishing a Benelux Court of Justice was signed. It entered into force in 1975.[citation needed] The Court, composed of judges from the highest courts of the three States, has to guarantee the uniform interpretation of common legal rules. This international judicial institution is located in Brussels.

The Benelux is particularly active in the field of intellectual property.[citation needed] The three countries established a Benelux Trademarks Office and a Benelux Designs Office, both situated in The Hague. In 2005, they concluded a treaty establishing a Benelux Organization for Intellectual Property which replaced both offices upon its entry into force on 1 September 2006. This Organization is the official body for the registration of trademarks and designs in the Benelux. In addition, it offers the possibility to formally record the existence of ideas, concepts, designs, prototypes and the like.[5]

Demographics and geography

 

 

The Benelux area with the Netherlands to the north, Luxembourg to the southeast and Belgium in between.

The Benelux region has a total population of about 28,365,937 and occupies an area of approximately 74,640 square kilometres (28,820 sq mi). Thus, the Benelux has a population density of 380/km² (983/sq mi).

Entity

Capital

Population
2011 estimate

Area

Population density

Benelux

28,365,937 74,640 square kilometres (28,820 sq mi) 380/km² (983/sq mi)
 Netherlands Amsterdam 16,847,007 41,543 square kilometres (16,040 sq mi) 403.7/km²
 Belgium Brussels 11,007,020 30,528 square kilometres (11,787 sq mi) 354.7/km²
 Luxembourg Luxembourg 511,840 2,586 square kilometres (998 sq mi) 194.1/km²

Sports

In 2000, Belgium and the Netherlands jointly hosted the UEFA European Championship. In June 2007, representatives of the three countries announced they would bid, as a single political entity, for the 2018 FIFA World Cup.[6]

Expiration and renewal of the agreement

 

 

An office of the Benelux Union in Brussels.

The Treaty between the Benelux countries establishing the Benelux Economic Union was limited to a period of 50 years. During the following years, and even more so after the creation of the European Union, the Benelux cooperation focused on developing other fields of activity within a constantly changing international context.

At the end of the 50 years, the governments of the three Benelux countries decided to renew the agreement, taking into account the new aspects of the Benelux-cooperation – such as security – and the new federal structure of Belgium. When the original establishing treaty expired in 2010. it was replaced by a new legal framework (called the Treaty revising the Treaty establishing the Benelux Economic Union), which was signed on 17 June 2008.

The new treaty has no set time limit and the name of the Benelux Economic Union changed to Benelux Union to reflect the broad scope on the union.[7] The main objectives of the treaty are the continuation and enlargement of the cooperation between the three member states within a larger European context. The renewed treaty explicitly foresees the possibility that the Benelux countries will cooperate with other European member States or with regional cooperation structures. The new Benelux cooperation focuses on three main topics: internal market and economic union, sustainability, justice and internal affairs. The number of structures in the renewed Treaty has been reduced and thus simplified. Five Benelux institutions remain: the Benelux Committee of Ministers, the Benelux Council, the Benelux Parliament, the Benelux Court of Justice, the Benelux Secretariat General. Beside these five institutions, the Benelux Organization for Intellectual Property is also present in this Treaty.

See also

References

  1. ^ a b Peaslee, Amos Jenkins; Xydis, Dorothy Peaslee (1974). International governmental organizations. BRILL. p. 165. ISBN 978-90-247-1601-2. Retrieved 4 September 2011.
  2. ^ Revue de l’Institut International de Statistique (1947) Vol. 15, No. 1/4. (page 43)
  3. ^ “Going Dutch”. The Economist. Retrieved 6 September 2012.
  4. ^ “Benelux in a nutshell”. General Secretariat of the Benelux. Archived from the original on 18 January 2008. Retrieved 3 February 2008.
  5. ^ [1][dead link]
  6. ^ “Benelux countries launch 2018 World Cup bid”. ESPN. 27 June 2007. Retrieved 29 October 2007.
  7. ^ Benelux union[dead link]

 

APEC

Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Jump to: navigation, search

“APEC” redirects here. For other uses, see APEC (disambiguation).

The Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC)

APEC member economies shown in green

Headquarters Singapore
Type Economic forum
21 Pacific member economies List[show]

Leaders

 - APEC Chair United States
 - Executive Director Muhamad Noor Yacob

Establishment

1989

Website
www.apec.org

Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) is a forum for 21 Pacific Rim countries (formally Member Economies) that seeks to promote free trade and economic cooperation throughout the Asia-Pacific region. Established in 1989 in response to the growing interdependence of Asia-Pacific economies and the advent of regional trade blocs in other parts of the world, initially, with the notion to the likely dominance of the sphere of economic influences of the highly industrialized Japan (a member of G8) in the Asia-Pacific region and for the economic interests of Australian agricultural/raw material products to search for new buyers other than the demand-declining European market,[1] APEC works gradually (to include members of Newly industrialized economy at the time, although the agenda of free trade was a sensitive issue for the developing NIEs, and for ASEAN economies to explore new export market opportunities of the natural resources such as natural gas and seek regional economic integration (industrial integration) by means of foreign direct investment on the behalf of ASEAN) to raise living standards and education levels through sustainable economic growth and to foster a sense of community and an appreciation of shared interests among Asia-Pacific countries. Members account for approximately 40% of the world’s population, approximately 54% of the world’s gross domestic product and about 44% of world trade.[2] For APEC Economic Trends Analysis in 2012, see.[3]

An annual APEC Economic Leaders’ Meeting is attended by the heads of government of all APEC members except Republic of China (represented under the name Chinese Taipei) by a ministerial-level official. The location of the meeting rotates annually among the member economies, and until 2011, a famous tradition involved the attending leaders dressing in a national costume of the host member.

Contents

History

 

 

ABC news report of the first APEC meeting in Canberra, November 1989. Featuring delegates watching the Melbourne Cup.

In January 1989, Australian Prime Minister Bob Hawke called for more effective economic cooperation across the Pacific Rim region. This led to the first meeting of APEC in the Australian capital of Canberra in November, chaired by Australian Foreign Affairs Minister Gareth Evans. Attended by political ministers from twelve countries, the meeting concluded with commitments for future annual meetings in Singapore and South Korea.

Countries of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) opposed the initial proposal, instead proposing the East Asia Economic Caucus which would exclude non-Asian countries such as the United States, Canada, Australia, and New Zealand. This plan was opposed and strongly criticized by Japan and the United States.

The first APEC Economic Leaders’ Meeting occurred in 1993 when U.S. President Bill Clinton, after discussions with Australian Prime Minister Paul Keating, invited the heads of government from member economies to a summit on Blake Island. He believed it would help bring the stalled Uruguay Round of trade talks back on track. At the meeting, some leaders called for continued reduction of barriers to trade and investment, envisioning a community in the Asia-Pacific region that might promote prosperity through cooperation. The APEC Secretariat, based in Singapore, was established to coordinate the activities of the organization.

During the meeting in 1994 in Bogor, Indonesia, APEC leaders adopted the Bogor Goals that aim for free and open trade and investment in the Asia-Pacific by 2010 for industrialized economies and by 2020 for developing economies. In 1995, APEC established a business advisory body named the APEC Business Advisory Council (ABAC), composed of three business executives from each member economy.

Member Economies

 

 

South Korean President Roh Moo-hyun with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and U.S. President George W. Bush at APEC 2006 in Hanoi.

APEC currently has 21 members, including most countries with a coastline on the Pacific Ocean. However, the criterion for membership is that the member is a separate economy, rather than a state. As a result, APEC uses the term member economies rather than member countries to refer to its members. One result of this criterion is that membership of the forum includes Taiwan (officially the Republic of China, participating under the name “Chinese Taipei”) alongside People’s Republic of China (see Cross-Strait relations), as well as Hong Kong, which entered APEC as a British colony but it is now a Special Administrative Region of the People’s Republic of China.

Member economy (name as used in APEC)

Date of accession

 Australia 1989
 Brunei (Brunei Darussalam) 1989
 Canada 1989
 Chile 1994
 China (People’s Republic of China) 1991
 Hong Kong (Hong Kong, China)[4] 1991
 Indonesia 1988
 Japan 1989
 South Korea (Republic of Korea) 1989
 Mexico 1993
 Malaysia 1989
 New Zealand 1989
 Papua New Guinea 1993
 Peru 1998
 Philippines 1989
 Russia 1998
 Singapore 1989
 Republic of China (ROC)[5] 1991
 Thailand 1989
 United States 1989
 Vietnam 1998

Possible enlargement

India has requested membership in APEC, and received initial support from the United States, Japan[6] and Australia. Officials have decided not to allow India to join for various reasons.[7][8] However, the decision was made not to admit more members until 2010. Moreover, India does not border the Pacific Ocean, which all current members do.[9] However, India has been invited to be an observer for the first time in November 2011.[10]

In addition to India, Mongolia, Pakistan, Laos, Bangladesh, Costa Rica,[11] Colombia,[11][12] Panama[11] and Ecuador,[13] are among a dozen countries seeking membership in APEC by 2008. Colombia applied for APEC’s membership as early as in 1995, but its bid was halted as the organization stopped accepting new members from 1993 to 1996,[14] and the moratorium was further prolonged to 2007 due to the 1997 Asian Financial Crisis. Guam has also been actively seeking a separate membership, citing the example of Hong Kong, but the request is opposed by the United States, which currently represents Guam.

APEC’s Three Pillars

To meet the Bogor Goals, APEC carries out work in three main areas:

1. Trade and Investment Liberalisation

2. Business Facilitation

3. Economic and Technical Cooperation

APEC and Trade Liberalisation

According to the organization itself, when APEC was established in 1989 average trade barriers in the region stood at 16.9 percent, but had been reduced to 5.5% in 2004.[15]

APEC’s Business Facilitation Efforts

APEC has long been at the forefront of reform efforts in the area of business facilitation. Between 2002 and 2006 the costs of business transactions across the region was reduced by 6%, thanks to the APEC Trade Facilitation Action Plan (TFAPI). Between 2007 and 2010, APEC hopes to achieve an additional 5% reduction in business transaction costs. To this end, a new Trade Facilitation Action Plan has been endorsed. According to a 2008 research brief published by the World Bank as part of its Trade Costs and Facilitation Project, increasing transparency in the region’s trading system is critical if APEC is to meet its Bogor Goal targets.[16] The APEC Business Travel Card, a travel document for visa-free business travel within the region is one of the concrete measures to facilitate business. In May 2010 Russia joined the scheme, thus completing the circle.[17]

Proposed Free Trade Area of the Asia-Pacific

APEC is considering the prospects and options for a Free Trade Area of the Asia-Pacific (FTAAP), which would include all APEC member economies. Since 2006, the APEC Business Advisory Council, promoting the theory that a free trade area has the best chance of converging the member nations and ensuring stable economic growth under free trade, has lobbied for the creation of a high-level task force to study and develop a plan for a free trade area. The proposal for a FTAAP arose due to the lack of progress in the Doha round of World Trade Organization negotiations, and as a way to overcome the “spaghetti bowl” effect created by overlapping and conflicting elements of the umpteen free trade agreements—there are approximately 60 free trade agreements, with an additional 117 in the process of negotiation in Southeast Asia and the Asia-Pacific region.[18][18][19][20][20] The FTAAP is more ambitious in scope than the Doha round, which limits itself to reducing trade restrictions. The FTAAP would create a free trade zone that would considerably expand commerce and economic growth in the region.[18][20] The economic expansion and growth in trade could exceed the expectations of other regional free trade areas such as the ASEAN Plus Three (ASEAN + China, Japan, and South Korea).[21] Some criticisms include that the diversion of trade within APEC members would create trade imbalances, market conflicts and complications with nations of other regions.[20] The development of the FTAAP is expected to take many years, involving essential studies, evaluations and negotiations between member economies.[18] It is also affected by the absence of political will and popular agitations and lobbying against free trade in domestic politics.[18] [6]

APEC Study Center Consortium

In 1993, APEC Leaders decided to establish a network of APEC Study Centres among universities and research institutions in member economies.[22]

Notable centers include:

APEC Business Advisory Council

The APEC Business Advisory Council (ABAC) was created by the APEC Economic Leaders in November 1995 with the aim of providing advice to the APEC Economic Leaders on ways to achieve the Bogor Goals and other specific business sector priorities, and to provide the business perspective on specific areas of cooperation.

Each economy nominates up to three members from the private sector to ABAC. These business leaders represent a wide range of industry sectors. ABAC provides an annual report to APEC Economic Leaders containing recommendations to improve the business and investment environment in the Asia-Pacific region, and outlining business views about priority regional issues. ABAC is also the only non-governmental organisation that is on the official agenda of the APEC Economic Leader’s Meeting.

Annual APEC Economic Leaders’ Meetings

Since its formation in 1989, APEC has held annual meetings with representatives from all member economies. The first four annual meetings were attended by ministerial-level officials. Beginning in 1993, the annual meetings are named APEC Economic Leaders’ Meetings and are attended by the heads of government from all member economies except Taiwan, which is represented by a ministerial-level official. The annual Leaders’ Meetings are not called summits.

Meeting developments

In 1997, the APEC meeting was held in Vancouver. Controversy arose after officers of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police used pepper spray against protesters. The protesters objected to the presence of autocratic leaders such as Indonesian president Suharto.[31][32][33][34][35][36]

At the 2001 Leaders’ Meeting in Shanghai, APEC leaders pushed for a new round of trade negotiations and support for a program of trade capacity-building assistance, leading to the launch of the Doha Development Agenda a few weeks later. The meeting also endorsed the Shanghai Accord proposed by the United States, emphasising the implementation of open markets, structural reform, and capacity building. As part of the accord, the meeting committed to develop and implement APEC transparency standards, reduce trade transaction costs in the Asia-Pacific region by 5 percent over 5 years, and pursue trade liberalization policies relating to information technology goods and services.

In 2003, Jemaah Islamiah leader Riduan Isamuddin had planned to attack the APEC Leaders Meeting to be held in Bangkok in October. He was captured in the city of Ayutthaya, Thailand by Thai police on August 11, 2003, before he could finish planning the attack.[citation needed] Chile became the first South American nation to host the Leaders’ Meeting in 2004. The agenda of that year was focused on terrorism and commerce, small and medium enterprise development, and contemplation of free trade agreements and regional trade agreements.

The 2005 Leaders’ Meeting was held in Busan, South Korea. The meeting focused on the Doha round of World Trade Organization (WTO) negotiations, leading up to the WTO Ministerial Conference of 2005 held in Hong Kong in December. Weeks earlier, trade negotiations in Paris were held between several WTO members, including the United States and the European Union, centered on reducing agricultural trade barriers. APEC leaders at the summit urged the European Union to agree to reducing farm subsidies. Peaceful protests against APEC were staged in Busan, but the meeting schedule was not affected.

At the Leaders’ Meeting held on November 19, 2006 in Hanoi, APEC leaders called for a new start to global free-trade negotiations while condemning terrorism and other threats to security. APEC also criticised North Korea for conducting a nuclear test and a missile test launch that year, urging the country to take “concrete and effective” steps toward nuclear disarmament. Concerns about nuclear proliferation in the region was discussed in addition to economic topics. The United States and Russia signed an agreement as part of Russia’s bid to join the World Trade Organization.

The APEC Australia 2007 Leaders’ Meeting was held in Sydney from 2–9 September 2007. The political leaders agreed to an “aspirational goal” of a 25% reduction of energy intensity correlative with economic development.[37] Extreme security measures including airborne sharpshooters and extensive steel-and-concrete barricades were deployed against anticipated protesters and potential terrorists. However, protest activities were peaceful and the security envelope was penetrated with ease by a spoof diplomatic motorcade manned by members of the Australian television program The Chaser, one of whom was dressed to resemble the Al-Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden.

The APEC USA 2011 Leaders’ Meeting was held on Honolulu, Hawaii 8–13 November 2011.[38]

APEC Leaders’ Family Photo

At the end of the APEC Economic Leaders’ Meeting, the leaders in attendance gather for what is officially known as the APEC Leaders’ Family Photo. A long-standing tradition for this photo involved the attending leaders dressing in a costume that reflects the culture of the host member. The tradition dates back to the first such meeting in 1993 when then-U.S. President Bill Clinton outfitted the leaders in leather bombardier jackets. However, at the 2010 meeting, Japan opted to have the leaders dress in smart casual rather than the traditional kimono.[39] Similarly, when Honolulu was selected in 2009 as the site for the 2011 APEC meeting, U.S. President Barack Obama joked that he looked forward to seeing the leaders dressed in “flowered shirts and grass skirts”. However, after viewing previous photos, and concerned that having the leaders dress in aloha shirts might give the wrong impression during a period of economic austerity, Obama decided that it might be time to end the tradition. Leaders were given a specially designed aloha shirt as a gift but were not required to wear it for the photo.[40]

Meeting locations

The location of the meeting is rotated annually among the members.

Annual meetings of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation

Date

Host member

Location

Photo op fashion

Photo

Web site

1st November 6–7, 1989  Australia Canberra
2nd July 29–31, 1990  Singapore Singapore
3rd November 12–14, 1991  South Korea Seoul Hanbok
4th September 10–11, 1992  Thailand Bangkok
5th November 19–20, 1993  United States Seattle Bombardier Jackets
6th November 15, 1994  Indonesia Bogor Batik Shirts designed by Iwan Tirta[41]
7th November 19, 1995  Japan Osaka Business Suits
8th November 25, 1996  Philippines Manila and Subic Barong Shirts [42]
9th November 24–25, 1997  Canada Vancouver Leather Jackets [43]
10th November 17–18, 1998  Malaysia Kuala Lumpur Batik Shirts [44]
11th September 12–13, 1999  New Zealand Auckland Sailing Jackets [45]
12th November 15–16, 2000  Brunei Bandar Seri Begawan Kain Tenunan Shirts [7]
13th October 20–21, 2001  China Shanghai Tangzhuang
14th October 26–27, 2002  Mexico Los Cabos Guayabera Shirts (M); Huipíles (F)
15th October 20–21, 2003  Thailand Bangkok Brocade Shirts (M); Brocade Shawls (F)
16th November 20–21, 2004  Chile Santiago Chamantos [8]
17th November 18–19, 2005  South Korea Busan Hanboks
18th November 18–19, 2006  Vietnam Hanoi Áo dài [9]
19th September 8–9, 2007  Australia Sydney Drizabones and Akubra Hats [10]
20th November 22–23, 2008  Peru Lima Ponchos [11]
21st November 14–15, 2009  Singapore Singapore Peranakan-Inspired Designer Shirts [12]
22nd November 13–14, 2010  Japan Yokohama Smart casual[39] [46]
23rd November 12–13, 2011  United States Honolulu No costume; Business suits
(per request by Barack Obama)[40]
[13]
24th September 2–9, 2012  Russia Vladivostok [14]
25th November 2013  Indonesia Medan/Jakarta
26th November 2014  China ——–
27th November 2015  Philippines ——–
28th November 2016  Peru Lima

Criticism

APEC has been criticized for failing to clearly define itself or serve a useful purpose. According to the organization, it is “the premier forum for facilitating economic growth, cooperation, trade and investment in the Asia-Pacific region” established to “further enhance economic growth and prosperity for the region and to strengthen the Asia-Pacific community”.[47] However, whether it has accomplished anything constructive remains debatable, especially from the viewpoints of European countries that cannot take part in APEC.[48]

See also

Other organizations of coastal states:

New Zealand issues

References

  1. ^ http://www.pecc.org/resources/doc_view/601-back-to-canberra-founding-apec
  2. ^ APEC Secretariat website[dead link]
  3. ^ http://publications.apec.org/file-download.php?id=1284&filename=2012_psu_econ-trend-05-12r.pdf
  4. ^ Hong Kong joined APEC in 1991 during British administration with the name “Hong Kong.” In 1997, Hong Kong became a Special Administrative Region of the People’s Republic of China and took the name “Hong Kong, China.”
  5. ^ Due to the complexities of the relations between it and the People’s Republic of China, Republic of China is not represented under its official name “Republic of China” or as “Taiwan”. Instead, it participates in APEC under the name “Chinese Taipei“. The President of the Republic of China does not attend the annual APEC Economic Leaders’ Meeting in person. Instead, it is represented usually by a ministerial-level official responsible for economic affairs or someone designated by the president. See List of Chinese Taipei Representatives to APEC.
  6. ^ 5 Minutes 10 Minutes (2007-01-12). “APEC ‘too busy’ for free trade deal, says Canberra”. Theaustralian.news.com.au. Retrieved 2011-11-04.
  7. ^ “India’s membership issue”. Theage.com.au. 2007-01-11. Retrieved 2011-11-04.
  8. ^ 5 Minutes 10 Minutes (2007-09-04). “Extend a hand to an absent friend”. Theaustralian.news.com.au. Retrieved 2011-11-04.
  9. ^ “AFP: West worried India would tip APEC power balance: official”. Afp.google.com. 2007-09-06. Retrieved 2011-11-04.
  10. ^ [1][dead link]
  11. ^ a b c Leff, Alex (2011-06-22). “Costa Rica Inches Toward Coveted APEC Membership”. Americas Quarterly. Retrieved 2011-06-22.
  12. ^ “Peru, Colombia seek closer Central America, APEC trade ties –”. Dominicantoday.com. 2006-08-29. Retrieved 2011-11-04.
  13. ^ english@peopledaily.com.cn (2004-10-08). “People’s Daily Online – Ecuador seeks APEC accession in 2007″. English.people.com.cn. Retrieved 2011-11-04.
  14. ^ “People’s Daily Online – Colombia seeks APEC membership in 2007: FM”. English.people.com.cn. 2006-09-06. Retrieved 2011-11-04.
  15. ^ A Mid-Term Stocktake of the Bogor Goals, APEC 2005
  16. ^ “Transparency Reform Could Raise Trade by $148 Billion in APEC” John S. Wilson & Benjamin Taylor; Trade Facilitation Reform Research Brief, The World Bank. 2008.
  17. ^ Russia joins the APEC Business Travel Card Scheme[dead link]
  18. ^ a b c d e September 2007 — (2011-09-13). “FTAAP”. Brookings.edu. Retrieved 2011-11-04.
  19. ^ APEC to consider free trade area[dead link]
  20. ^ a b c d “Plan B for World Trade”. Petersoninstitute.org. Retrieved 2011-11-04.
  21. ^ Policy Briefs in International Economics (PDF)
  22. ^ APEC Study Center Contortium[dead link]
  23. ^ “Australian APEC Study Centre”. Apec.org.au. Retrieved 2011-11-04.
  24. ^ “Berkeley APEC Study Center”. Basc.berkeley.edu. Retrieved 2011-11-04.
  25. ^ “Chinese Taipei APEC Study Center”. Ctasc.org.tw. Retrieved 2011-11-04.
  26. ^ “HKU APEC Study Center”. Hku.hk. Retrieved 2011-11-04.
  27. ^ “Kobe University APEC Study Center”. Rieb.kobe-u.ac.jp. Retrieved 2011-11-04.
  28. ^ APEC Study Center of Nankai University
  29. ^ “The Canadian APEC Study Centre, The Asia Pacific Foundation of Canada”. Asiapacific.ca. Retrieved 2011-11-04.
  30. ^ “ASC UI”. ASC UI. Retrieved 2011-11-04.
  31. ^ Pue, W. Wesley (2000). Pepper in our Eyes: the APEC Affair. Vancouver, Canada: UBC Press. ISBN 0-7748-0779-2.
  32. ^ Wallace, Bruce (September 21, 1998). “APEC Protest Controversy”. Maclean’s via The Canadian Encyclopedia (Historica Foundation of Canada). Retrieved 2006-09-06.
  33. ^ Nuttall-Smith, Chris (November 27, 1997). “APEC summit gets nasty at UBC”. Varsity News (Varsity Publications, Inc.). Archived from the original on 2006-10-13. Retrieved 2006-09-06.
  34. ^ Schmidt, Sarah (January 6, 1998). “Student protesters fight back for civil rights”. Varsity News (Varsity Publications, Inc.). Archived from the original on 2006-10-13. Retrieved 2006-09-06.
  35. ^ “Civil rights group denounces attack on UBC students’ APEC protests” (Press release). British Columbia Civil Liberties Association (BCCLA). November 23, 1997. Archived from the original on 5 October 2006. Retrieved 2006-09-06.
  36. ^ “Student member of BCCLA executive arrested!” (Press release). British Columbia Civil Liberties Association (BCCLA). November 25, 1997. Archived from the original on 5 October 2006. Retrieved 2006-09-06.
  37. ^ “Apec supports nuclear, agrees climate targets”. World Nuclear News. 2007-09-10. Archived from the original on 4 October 2007. Retrieved 2007-09-15.
  38. ^ “Apec Honolulu Schedule”. retrieved date, 11/9/2011
  39. ^ a b “No kimonos for APEC leaders in Japan”. Reuters. 2010-11-11. Archived from the original on 15 November 2010. Retrieved 2010-11-12.
  40. ^ a b “No aloha for Hawaiian shirts at APEC family photo”. Honolulu Star-Advertiser. 2011-11-13. Retrieved 2011-11-13.
  41. ^ Emond, Bruce (2010-08-01). “Iwan Tirta, a man of many talents”. Jakarta Post. Archived from the original on 2 August 2010. Retrieved 2010-08-18.
  42. ^ http://www.apec.org/apec/leaders__declarations/1996/1996_economy_representatives.html[dead link]
  43. ^ [2][dead link]
  44. ^ [3][dead link]
  45. ^ [4][dead link]
  46. ^ [5][dead link]
  47. ^ About APEC – Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation[dead link]
  48. ^ “APEC—a pretty empty chatter”. The Economist. September 12, 2007.

WTO

World Trade Organization

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Jump to: navigation, search

“WTO” redirects here. For other uses, see WTO (disambiguation).

World Trade Organization (English)
Organisation mondiale du commerce (French)
Organización Mundial del Comercio (Spanish)


  WTO members

EU and WTO members

Observers


Formation January 1, 1995
Headquarters Centre William Rappard, Geneva, Switzerland
Membership 157[1] member states
Official languages English, French, Spanish[2]
Director-General Pascal Lamy
Budget 196 million Swiss francs (approx. 209 million USD) in 2011.[3]
Staff 640[4]
Website wto.org

The World Trade Organization (WTO) is an organization that intends to supervise and liberalize international trade. The organization officially commenced on January 1, 1995 under the Marrakech Agreement, replacing the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (GATT), which commenced in 1948. The organization deals with regulation of trade between participating countries; it provides a framework for negotiating and formalizing trade agreements, and a dispute resolution process aimed at enforcing participants’ adherence to WTO agreements which are signed by representatives of member governments[5]:fol.9-10 and ratified by their parliaments.[6] Most of the issues that the WTO focuses on derive from previous trade negotiations, especially from the Uruguay Round (1986–1994).

The organization is attempting to complete negotiations on the Doha Development Round, which was launched in 2001 with an explicit focus on addressing the needs of developing countries. As of June 2012, the future of the Doha Round remains uncertain: the work programme lists 21 subjects in which the original deadline of 1 January 2005 was missed, and the round is still incomplete.[7] The conflict between free trade on industrial goods and services but retention of protectionism on farm subsidies to domestic agricultural sector (requested by developed countries) and the substantiation of the international liberalization of fair trade on agricultural products (requested by developing countries) remain the major obstacles. These points of contention have hindered any progress to launch new WTO negotiations beyond the Doha Development Round. As a result of this impasse, there has been an increasing number of bilateral free trade agreements signed.[8]

WTO’s current Director-General is Pascal Lamy, who leads a staff of over 600 people in Geneva, Switzerland.

Contents

History

 

 

The economists Harry White (left) and John Maynard Keynes at the Bretton Woods Conference. Both had been strong advocates of a liberal international trade environment and recommended the establishment of three institutions: the IMF (for fiscal and monetary issues); the World Bank (for financial and structural issues); and the ITO (for international economic cooperation).[9]

The WTO’s predecessor, the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (GATT), was established after World War II in the wake of other new multilateral institutions dedicated to international economic cooperation — notably the Bretton Woods institutions known as the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund. A comparable international institution for trade, named the International Trade Organization was successfully negotiated. The ITO was to be a United Nations specialized agency and would address not only trade barriers but other issues indirectly related to trade, including employment, investment, restrictive business practices, and commodity agreements. But the ITO treaty was not approved by the U.S. and a few other signatories and never went into effect.[10][11][12]

In the absence of an international organization for trade, the GATT would over the years “transform itself” into a de facto international organization.[13]

GATT rounds of negotiations

See also: General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade

The GATT was the only multilateral instrument governing international trade from 1946 until the WTO was established on January 1, 1995.[14] Despite attempts in the mid 1950s and 1960s to create some form of institutional mechanism for international trade, the GATT continued to operate for almost half a century as a semi-institutionalized multilateral treaty regime on a provisional basis.[15]

From Geneva to Tokyo

Seven rounds of negotiations occurred under GATT. The first real GATT trade rounds concentrated on further reducing tariffs. Then, the Kennedy Round in the mid-sixties brought about a GATT anti-dumping Agreement and a section on development. The Tokyo Round during the seventies was the first major attempt to tackle trade barriers that do not take the form of tariffs, and to improve the system, adopting a series of agreements on non-tariff barriers, which in some cases interpreted existing GATT rules, and in others broke entirely new ground. Because these plurilateral agreements were not accepted by the full GATT membership, they were often informally called “codes”. Several of these codes were amended in the Uruguay Round, and turned into multilateral commitments accepted by all WTO members. Only four remained plurilateral (those on government procurement, bovine meat, civil aircraft and dairy products), but in 1997 WTO members agreed to terminate the bovine meat and dairy agreements, leaving only two.[14]

Uruguay Round

 

 

During the Doha Round, the US government blamed Brazil and India for being inflexible and the EU for impeding agricultural imports.[16] The then-President of Brazil, Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva (above right), responded to the criticisms by arguing that progress would only be achieved if the richest countries (especially the US and countries in the EU) made deeper cuts in their agricultural subsidies and further open their markets for agricultural goods.[17]

Main article: Uruguay Round

Well before GATT’s 40th anniversary, its members concluded that the GATT system was straining to adapt to a new globalizing world economy.[18][19] In response to the problems identified in the 1982 Ministerial Declaration (structural deficiencies, spill-over impacts of certain countries’ policies on world trade GATT could not manage etc.), the eighth GATT round — known as the Uruguay Round — was launched in September 1986, in Punta del Este, Uruguay.[18]

It was the biggest negotiating mandate on trade ever agreed: the talks were going to extend the trading system into several new areas, notably trade in services and intellectual property, and to reform trade in the sensitive sectors of agriculture and textiles; all the original GATT articles were up for review.[19] The Final Act concluding the Uruguay Round and officially establishing the WTO regime was signed April 15, 1994, during the ministerial meeting at Marrakesh, Morocco, and hence is known as the Marrakesh Agreement.[20]

The GATT still exists as the WTO’s umbrella treaty for trade in goods, updated as a result of the Uruguay Round negotiations (a distinction is made between GATT 1994, the updated parts of GATT, and GATT 1947, the original agreement which is still the heart of GATT 1994).[18] GATT 1994 is not however the only legally binding agreement included via the Final Act at Marrakesh; a long list of about 60 agreements, annexes, decisions and understandings was adopted. The agreements fall into a structure with six main parts:

In terms of the WTO’s principle relating to tariff “ceiling-binding” (No. 3), the Uruguay Round has been successful in increasing binding commitments by both developed and developing countries, as may be seen in the percentages of tariffs bound before and after the 1986-1994 talks.[22]

Ministerial conferences

The topmost decision-making body of the WTO is the Ministerial Conference, which usually meets every two years. It brings together all members of the WTO, all of which are countries or customs unions. The Ministerial Conference can take decisions on all matters under any of the multilateral trade agreements. The inaugural ministerial conference was held in Singapore in 1996. Disagreements between largely developed and developing economies emerged during this conference over four issues initiated by this conference, which led to them being collectively referred to as the “Singapore issues“. The second ministerial conference was held in Geneva in Switzerland. The third conference in Seattle, Washington ended in failure, with massive demonstrations and police and National Guard crowd control efforts drawing worldwide attention. The fourth ministerial conference was held in Doha in the Persian Gulf nation of Qatar. The Doha Development Round was launched at the conference. The conference also approved the joining of China, which became the 143rd member to join. The fifth ministerial conference was held in Cancún, Mexico, aiming at forging agreement on the Doha round. An alliance of 22 southern states, the G20 developing nations (led by India, China,[23] Brazil, ASEAN led by the Philippines), resisted demands from the North for agreements on the so-called “Singapore issues” and called for an end to agricultural subsidies within the EU and the US. The talks broke down without progress.

The sixth WTO ministerial conference was held in Hong Kong from 13–18 December 2005. It was considered vital if the four-year-old Doha Development Round negotiations were to move forward sufficiently to conclude the round in 2006. In this meeting, countries agreed to phase out all their agricultural export subsidies by the end of 2013, and terminate any cotton export subsidies by the end of 2006. Further concessions to developing countries included an agreement to introduce duty free, tariff free access for goods from the Least Developed Countries, following the Everything but Arms initiative of the European Union — but with up to 3% of tariff lines exempted. Other major issues were left for further negotiation to be completed by the end of 2010. The WTO General Council, on 26 May 2009, agreed to hold a seventh WTO ministerial conference session in Geneva from 30 November-3 December 2009. A statement by chairman Amb. Mario Matus acknowledged that the prime purpose was to remedy a breach of protocol requiring two-yearly “regular” meetings, which had lapsed with the Doha Round failure in 2005, and that the “scaled-down” meeting would not be a negotiating session, but “emphasis will be on transparency and open discussion rather than on small group processes and informal negotiating structures”. The general theme for discussion was “The WTO, the Multilateral Trading System and the Current Global Economic Environment”[24]

Doha Round (The Doha Agenda)

Main article: Doha Development Round

 

 

The Doha Development Round started in 2001 and continues today.

The WTO launched the current round of negotiations, the Doha Development Round, at the fourth ministerial conference in Doha, Qatar in November 2001. This was to be an ambitious effort to make globalization more inclusive and help the world’s poor, particularly by slashing barriers and subsidies in farming.[25] The initial agenda comprised both further trade liberalization and new rule-making, underpinned by commitments to strengthen substantial assistance to developing countries.[26]

The negotiations have been highly contentious. Disagreements still continue over several key areas including agriculture subsidies, which emerged as critical in July 2006.[27] According to a European Union statement, “The 2008 Ministerial meeting broke down over a disagreement between exporters of agricultural bulk commodities and countries with large numbers of subsistence farmers on the precise terms of a ‘special safeguard measure’ to protect farmers from surges in imports.”[28] The position of the European Commission is that “The successful conclusion of the Doha negotiations would confirm the central role of multilateral liberalisation and rule-making. It would confirm the WTO as a powerful shield against protectionist backsliding.”[26] An impasse remains and As of June 2012, agreement has not been reached, despite intense negotiations at several ministerial conferences and at other sessions.

[show]v · d · eGATT and WTO trade rounds[29]

Functions

Among the various functions of the WTO, these are regarded by analysts as the most important:

  • It oversees the implementation, administration and operation of the covered agreements.[30][31]
  • It provides a forum for negotiations and for settling disputes.[32][33]

Additionally, it is the WTO’s duty to review and propagate the national trade policies, and to ensure the coherence and transparency of trade policies through surveillance in global economic policy-making.[31][33] Another priority of the WTO is the assistance of developing, least-developed and low-income countries in transition to adjust to WTO rules and disciplines through technical cooperation and training.[34]

The WTO is also a center of economic research and analysis: regular assessments of the global trade picture in its annual publications and research reports on specific topics are produced by the organization.[35] Finally, the WTO cooperates closely with the two other components of the Bretton Woods system, the IMF and the World Bank.[32]

Principles of the trading system

The WTO establishes a framework for trade policies; it does not define or specify outcomes. That is, it is concerned with setting the rules of the trade policy games.[36] Five principles are of particular importance in understanding both the pre-1994 GATT and the WTO:

  1. Non-discrimination. It has two major components: the most favoured nation (MFN) rule, and the national treatment policy. Both are embedded in the main WTO rules on goods, services, and intellectual property, but their precise scope and nature differ across these areas. The MFN rule requires that a WTO member must apply the same conditions on all trade with other WTO members, i.e. a WTO member has to grant the most favorable conditions under which it allows trade in a certain product type to all other WTO members.[36] “Grant someone a special favour and you have to do the same for all other WTO members.”[22] National treatment means that imported goods should be treated no less favorably than domestically produced goods (at least after the foreign goods have entered the market) and was introduced to tackle non-tariff barriers to trade (e.g. technical standards, security standards et al. discriminating against imported goods).[36]
  2. Reciprocity. It reflects both a desire to limit the scope of free-riding that may arise because of the MFN rule, and a desire to obtain better access to foreign markets. A related point is that for a nation to negotiate, it is necessary that the gain from doing so be greater than the gain available from unilateral liberalization; reciprocal concessions intend to ensure that such gains will materialise.[37]
  3. Binding and enforceable commitments. The tariff commitments made by WTO members in a multilateral trade negotiation and on accession are enumerated in a schedule (list) of concessions. These schedules establish “ceiling bindings”: a country can change its bindings, but only after negotiating with its trading partners, which could mean compensating them for loss of trade. If satisfaction is not obtained, the complaining country may invoke the WTO dispute settlement procedures.[22][37]
  4. Transparency. The WTO members are required to publish their trade regulations, to maintain institutions allowing for the review of administrative decisions affecting trade, to respond to requests for information by other members, and to notify changes in trade policies to the WTO. These internal transparency requirements are supplemented and facilitated by periodic country-specific reports (trade policy reviews) through the Trade Policy Review Mechanism (TPRM).[38] The WTO system tries also to improve predictability and stability, discouraging the use of quotas and other measures used to set limits on quantities of imports.[22]
  5. Safety valves. In specific circumstances, governments are able to restrict trade. The WTO’s agreements permit members to take measures to protect not only the environment but also public health, animal health and plant health.[39]

There are three types of provision in this direction:

  • articles allowing for the use of trade measures to attain non-economic objectives;
  • articles aimed at ensuring “fair competition”; members must not use environmental protection measures as a means of disguising protectionist policies.[39]
  • provisions permitting intervention in trade for economic reasons.[38]

Exceptions to the MFN principle also allow for preferential treatment of developing countries, regional free trade areas and customs unions.[5]:fol.93

Organizational structure

The General Council has the following subsidiary bodies which oversee committees in different areas:

Council for Trade in Goods

There are 11 committees under the jurisdiction of the Goods Council each with a specific task. All members of the WTO participate in the committees. The Textiles Monitoring Body is separate from the other committees but still under the jurisdiction of Goods Council. The body has its own chairman and only 10 members. The body also has several groups relating to textiles.[40]

Council for Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights

Information on intellectual property in the WTO, news and official records of the activities of the TRIPS Council, and details of the WTO’s work with other international organizations in the field.[41]

Council for Trade in Services

The Council for Trade in Services operates under the guidance of the General Council and is responsible for overseeing the functioning of the General Agreement on Trade in Services (GATS). It is open to all WTO members, and can create subsidiary bodies as required.[42]

Trade Negotiations Committee

The Trade Negotiations Committee (TNC) is the committee that deals with the current trade talks round. The chair is WTO’s director-general. As of June 2012 the committee was tasked with the Doha Development Round.[43]

The Service Council has three subsidiary bodies: financial services, domestic regulations, GATS rules and specific commitments.[40] The General council has several different committees, working groups, and working parties.[44] There are committees on the following: Trade and Environment; Trade and Development (Subcommittee on Least-Developed Countries); Regional Trade Agreements; Balance of Payments Restrictions; and Budget, Finance and Administration. There are working parties on the following: Accession. There are working groups on the following: Trade, debt and finance; and Trade and technology transfer.

Decision-making

The WTO describes itself as “a rules-based, member-driven organization — all decisions are made by the member governments, and the rules are the outcome of negotiations among members”.[45] The WTO Agreement foresees votes where consensus cannot be reached, but the practice of consensus dominates the process of decision-making.[46]

Richard Harold Steinberg (2002) argues that although the WTO’s consensus governance model provides law-based initial bargaining, trading rounds close through power-based bargaining favouring Europe and the U.S., and may not lead to Pareto improvement.[47]

Dispute settlement

Main article: Dispute settlement in the WTO

In 1994, the WTO members agreed on the Understanding on Rules and Procedures Governing the Settlement of Disputes (DSU) annexed to the “Final Act” signed in Marrakesh in 1994.[48] Dispute settlement is regarded by the WTO as the central pillar of the multilateral trading system, and as a “unique contribution to the stability of the global economy”.[49] WTO members have agreed that, if they believe fellow-members are violating trade rules, they will use the multilateral system of settling disputes instead of taking action unilaterally.[50]

The operation of the WTO dispute settlement process involves the DSB panels, the Appellate Body, the WTO Secretariat, arbitrators, independent experts and several specialized institutions.[51] Bodies involved in the dispute settlement process, World Trade Organization.

Accession and membership

Main article: World Trade Organization accession and membership

The process of becoming a WTO member is unique to each applicant country, and the terms of accession are dependent upon the country’s stage of economic development and current trade regime.[52] The process takes about five years, on average, but it can last more if the country is less than fully committed to the process or if political issues interfere. The shortest accession negotiation was that of the Kyrgyz Republic, while the longest was that of Russia, which, having first applied to join GATT in 1993, was approved for membership in December 2011 and became a WTO member on August 22, 2012.[53] The second longest was that of Vanuatu, whose Working Party on the Accession of Vanuatu was established on 11 July 1995. After a final meeting of the Working Party in October 2001, Vanuatu requested more time to consider its accession terms. In 2008, it indicated its interest to resume and conclude its WTO accession. The Working Party on the Accession of Vanuatu was reconvened informally on 4 April 2011 to discuss Vanuatu’s future WTO membership. The re-convened Working Party completed its mandate on 2 May 2011. The General Council formally approved the Accession Package of Vanuatu on 26 October 2011. On 24 August 2012, the WTO welcomed Vanuatu as its 157th member.[54] An offer of accession is only given once consensus is reached among interested parties.[55]

Accession process

 

 

WTO accession progress:

Members (including dual-representation with the European Union)

Draft Working Party Report or Factual Summary adopted

Goods and/or Services offers submitted

Memorandum on Foreign Trade Regime (FTR) submitted

Observer, negotiations to start later or no Memorandum on FTR submitted

Frozen procedures or no negotiations in the last 3 years

No official interaction with the WTO

A country wishing to accede to the WTO submits an application to the General Council, and has to describe all aspects of its trade and economic policies that have a bearing on WTO agreements.[56] The application is submitted to the WTO in a memorandum which is examined by a working party open to all interested WTO Members.[55]

After all necessary background information has been acquired, the working party focuses on issues of discrepancy between the WTO rules and the applicant’s international and domestic trade policies and laws. The working party determines the terms and conditions of entry into the WTO for the applicant nation, and may consider transitional periods to allow countries some leeway in complying with the WTO rules.[52]

The final phase of accession involves bilateral negotiations between the applicant nation and other working party members regarding the concessions and commitments on tariff levels and market access for goods and services. The new member’s commitments are to apply equally to all WTO members under normal non-discrimination rules, even though they are negotiated bilaterally.[56]

When the bilateral talks conclude, the working party sends to the general council or ministerial conference an accession package, which includes a summary of all the working party meetings, the Protocol of Accession (a draft membership treaty), and lists (“schedules”) of the member-to-be’s commitments. Once the general council or ministerial conference approves of the terms of accession, the applicant’s parliament must ratify the Protocol of Accession before it can become a member.[57]

Members and observers

The WTO has 157 members and 27 observer governments.[58] In addition to states, the European Union is a member. WTO members do not have to be full sovereign nation-members. Instead, they must be a customs territory with full autonomy in the conduct of their external commercial relations. Thus Hong Kong (as “Hong Kong, China” since 1997) became a GATT contracting party, and the Republic of China (Taiwan) acceded to the WTO in 2002 as “Separate Customs Territory of Taiwan, Penghu, Kinmen and Matsu” (Chinese Taipei) despite its disputed status.[59] The WTO Secretariat omits the official titles (such as Counselor, First Secretary, Second Secretary and Third Secretary) of the members of Chinese Taipei’s Permanent Mission to the WTO, except for the titles of the Permanent Representative and the Deputy Permanent Representative.[60]

Iran is the biggest economy outside the WTO.[61] With the exception of the Holy See, observers must start accession negotiations within five years of becoming observers. A number of international intergovernmental organizations have also been granted observer status to WTO bodies.[62] 14 states and two territories so far have no official interaction with the WTO.

Agreements

Main article: Uruguay Round

The WTO oversees about 60 different agreements which have the status of international legal texts. Member countries must sign and ratify all WTO agreements on accession.[63] A discussion of some of the most important agreements follows. The Agreement on Agriculture came into effect with the establishment of the WTO at the beginning of 1995. The AoA has three central concepts, or “pillars”: domestic support, market access and export subsidies. The General Agreement on Trade in Services was created to extend the multilateral trading system to service sector, in the same way as the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (GATT) provided such a system for merchandise trade. The agreement entered into force in January 1995. The Agreement on Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights sets down minimum standards for many forms of intellectual property (IP) regulation. It was negotiated at the end of the Uruguay Round of the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (GATT) in 1994.

The Agreement on the Application of Sanitary and Phytosanitary Measures—also known as the SPS Agreement—was negotiated during the Uruguay Round of GATT, and entered into force with the establishment of the WTO at the beginning of 1995. Under the SPS agreement, the WTO sets constraints on members’ policies relating to food safety (bacterial contaminants, pesticides, inspection and labelling) as well as animal and plant health (imported pests and diseases). The Agreement on Technical Barriers to Trade is an international treaty of the World Trade Organization. It was negotiated during the Uruguay Round of the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade, and entered into force with the establishment of the WTO at the end of 1994. The object ensures that technical negotiations and standards, as well as testing and certification procedures, do not create unnecessary obstacles to trade”.[64] The Agreement on Customs Valuation, formally known as the Agreement on Implementation of Article VII of GATT, prescribes methods of customs valuation that Members are to follow. Chiefly, it adopts the “transaction value” approach.

Directors-General

The Directors-General of the WTO have been:[65]

The Directors-General of the precursor organization, GATT, were:

See also

Notes

  1. ^ See [1] at WTO official website
  2. ^ Languages, Documentation and Information Management Division at WTO official site
  3. ^ “WTO Secretariat budget for 2011″. WTO official site. Retrieved 2008-08-25.
  4. ^ Understanding the WTO: What We Stand For_ Fact File
  5. ^ a b Understanding the WTO Handbook at WTO official website. (Note that the document’s printed folio numbers do not match the pdf page numbers.)
  6. ^ Malanczuk, P. (1999). “World Trade Organization”. Encyclopaedia Britannica. 442. pp. 305. Bibcode 1999ESASP.442..305M.
  7. ^ Understanding the WTO: The Doha Agenda
  8. ^ http://www.brookings.edu/~/media/research/files/papers/2011/4/19%20world%20trade%20organization%20meltzer/0419_world_trade_organization_meltzer
  9. ^ A.E. Eckes Jr., US Trade History, 73
    * A. Smithies, Reflections on the Work of Keynes, 578–601
    * N. Warren, Internet and Globalization, 193
  10. ^ P. van den Bossche, The Law and Policy of the World Trade Organization, 80
  11. ^ Palmeter-Mavroidis, Dispute Settlement, 2
  12. ^ Fergusson, Ian F. (9 May 2007). “The World Trade Organization: Background and Issues” (PDF). Congressional Research Service. p. 4. Retrieved 2008-08-15.
  13. ^ It was contemplated that the GATT would be applied for several years until the ITO came into force. However, since the ITO was never brought into being, the GATT gradually became the focus for international governmental cooperation on trade matters with economist Nicholas Halford overseeing the implementation of GATT in members policies. (P. van den Bossche, The Law and Policy of the World Trade Organization, 81; J.H. Jackson, Managing the Trading System, 134).
  14. ^ a b The GATT Years: from Havana to Marrakesh, WTO official site
  15. ^ Footer, M. E. Analysis of the World Trade Organization, 17
  16. ^ B.S. Klapper, With a “Short Window”
  17. ^ Lula, Time to Get Serious about Agricultural Subsidies
  18. ^ a b c P. Gallagher, The First Ten Years of the WTO, 4
  19. ^ a b The Uruguay Round, WTO official site
  20. ^ “Legal texts – Marrakesh agreement”. WTO. Retrieved 2010-05-30.
  21. ^ Overview: a Navigational Guide, WTO official site. For the complete list of “The Uruguay Round Agreements”, see WTO legal texts, WTO official site, and Uruguay Round Agreements, Understandings, Decisions and Declarations, WorldTradeLaw.net
  22. ^ a b c d Principles of the Trading System, WTO official site
  23. ^ “Five Years of China WTO Membership. EU and US Perspectives about China’s Compliance with Transparency Commitments and the Transitional Review Mechanism”. Papers.ssrn.com. Retrieved 2010-05-30.
  24. ^ WTO to hold 7th Ministerial Conference on 30 November-2 December 2009 WTO official website
  25. ^ “In the twilight of Doha”. The Economist (The Economist): 65. July 27, 2006
  26. ^ a b European Commission The Doha Round
  27. ^ Fergusson, Ian F. (2008-01-18). “World Trade Organization Negotiations: The Doha Development Agenda” (PDF). Congressional Research Service. Retrieved 2012-04-13. Page 9 (folio CRS-6)
  28. ^ WTO trade negotiations: Doha Development Agenda Europa press release, 31 October 2011
  29. ^ a)The GATT years: from Havana to Marrakesh, World Trade Organization
    b)Timeline: World Trade Organization – A chronology of key events, BBC News
    c)Brakman-Garretsen-Marrewijk-Witteloostuijn, Nations and Firms in the Global Economy, Chapter 10: Trade and Capital Restriction
  30. ^ Functions of the WTO, IISD
  31. ^ a b Main Functions, WTO official site
  32. ^ a b A Bredimas, International Economic Law, II, 17
  33. ^ a b C. Deere, Decision-making in the WTO: Medieval or Up-to-Date?
  34. ^ WTO Assistance for Developing Countries[dead link], WTO official site
  35. ^ Economic research and analysis, WTO official site
  36. ^ a b c B. Hoekman, The WTO: Functions and Basic Principles, 42
  37. ^ a b B. Hoekman, The WTO: Functions and Basic Principles, 43
  38. ^ a b B. Hoekman, The WTO: Functions and Basic Principles, 44
  39. ^ a b Understanding the WTO: What we stand for
  40. ^ a b “Fourth level: down to the nitty-gritty”. WTO official site. Retrieved 2008-08-18.
  41. ^ “Intellectual property – overview of TRIPS Agreement”. Wto.org. 1994-04-15. Retrieved 2010-05-30.
  42. ^ “The Services Council, its Committees and other subsidiary bodies”. WTO official site. Retrieved 2008-08-14.
  43. ^ “The Trade Negotiations Committee”. WTO official site. Retrieved 2008-08-14.
  44. ^ “WTO organization chart”. WTO official site. Retrieved 2008-08-14.
  45. ^ Decision-making at WTO official site
  46. ^ Decision-Making in the World Trade Organization Abstract from Journal of International Economic Law at Oxford Journals
  47. ^ Steinberg, Richard H. “In the Shadow of Law or Power? Consensus-based Bargaining and Outcomes in the GATT/WTO.” International Organization. Spring 2002. pp. 339–374.
  48. ^ Stewart-Dawyer, The WTO Dispute Settlement System, 7
  49. ^ S. Panitchpakdi, The WTO at ten, 8.
  50. ^ Settling Disputes:a Unique Contribution, WTO official site
  51. ^ “Disputes – Dispute Settlement CBT – WTO Bodies involved in the dispute settlement process – The Dispute Settlement Body (DSB) – Page 1″. WTO. 1996-07-25. Retrieved 2011-05-21.
  52. ^ a b Accessions Summary, Center for International Development
  53. ^ Ministerial Conference approves Russia’s WTO membership WTO News Item, 16 December 2011
  54. ^ [2]
  55. ^ a b C. Michalopoulos, WTO Accession, 64
  56. ^ a b Membership, Alliances and Bureaucracy, WTO official site
  57. ^ How to Become a Member of the WTO, WTO official site
  58. ^ For a list of WTO members and observers (which may not be up to date), see [3], World Trade Organization. Wikipedia has its own regularly updated list.
  59. ^ Jackson, J. H. Sovereignty, 109
  60. ^ ROC Government Publication
  61. ^ [dead link]“Letter of Demand”. Iran Trade Law. 2005-05-26. Retrieved 2010-05-30.
  62. ^ International intergovernmental organizations granted observer status to WTO bodies at WTO official website
  63. ^ “Legal texts – the WTO agreements”. WTO. Retrieved 2010-05-30.
  64. ^ “A Summary of the Final Act of the Uruguay Round”. Wto.org. Retrieved 2010-05-30.
  65. ^ “Previous GATT and WTO Directors-General”. WTO. Retrieved 2011-05-21.

, at WTO official website

 

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