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Asia and the EU

Latest news about Asia and the European Union. The EU is deepening its strategic partnerships with China, India, Japan and negotiations are well underway on new partnership and free trade agreements with South Korea and with south-east Asian countries. Asia comprises high-income industrialised partners and dynamic emerging economies but is also home to two thirds of the world's poor. Development cooperation therefore remains high on the EU's agenda with Asia, and more than five billion euros allocated to Asia by the EU for the period 2007-2013. Policies are address common challenges, such as climate change, sustainable development, security and stability, governance and human rights, as well as the prevention of, and response to natural and human disasters. The EU is stepping up its support to regional integration through the Asia-Europe Meeting (ASEM), and intensifying cooperation with the Association of South-East Asia Nations (ASEAN), the ASEAN Regional Forum (ARF) and the South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC).

WTO Case on export restrictions of raw materials in China - guide
The Appellate Body of the World Trade Organisation (WTO) on 30 January confirmed the findings made by a Panel in July 2011 that China's export restrictions on several industrial raw materials are in breach of WTO rules. The WTO found that China's export restrictions are not justified for reasons of environmental protection or conservation policy. Today's final ruling was welcomed by Europe's trade chief.

Boost for Enterprise Europe Network in Asia, North Africa
The European Commission is extending the reach of the Enterprise Europe Network - its business and innovation support network for SMEs - by opening new contact points in Japan, as well as doubling its presence in China. The aim, it says, is to see more European small and medium sized enterprises (SMEs) profit from the fast growing markets in Asia, Latin America and Eastern Europe.

EU seals first Asian free trade deal with S. Korea
Europe agreed a vast free trade deal with South Korea on Thursday, hailing it as the first in a chain of bilateral pacts with Asian nations that will bind the continents together.

ASEM 8 Summit
Since the inception of the ASEM process in 1996, Asia and Europe have kept their biennial appointment with remarkable regularity. The ASEM 8 Summit in Brussels on 4 and 5 October this year will be the eighth privileged occasion to give expression to the common views of Asia and Europe. Representing 58 % of global population, 50 % of global GDP and over 60% of global trade, this gathering will hopefully inspire the world community. Indeed, a month later, the first G-20 meeting to take place in a non G-8 country will gather in Seoul, Republic of Korea, to shape the policies that are required in the face of the financial and economic crisis.

2009 customs detentions of goods suspected of infringing Intellectual Property Right (IPR) - guide
In 2009, EU Customs took action in 43,500 cases involving several million products suspected of being counterfeited or pirated at the external borders of the EU. This is according to the European Commission’s annual report on EU Customs Enforcement of Intellectual Property Rights (IPR), which was published today. Cigarettes, clothing and brand labels were among the main articles stopped by customs on suspicion of IPR infringements. However, products for daily use and posing a potential danger to citizens’ health, such as shampoos, toothpaste, toys, medicines or household appliances, also accounted for a significant part. Today’s report gives statistics on the type, origin and transport method of IPR infringing products stopped at the external borders.

EU - India relations - background
EU-India relations date back to the early 1960s when diplomatic relations were established. It was however the 1994 Cooperation Agreement (which is still the current legal framework for cooperation) that opened the door to the broad political dialogue that has since evolved, notably through annual Summits since 2000, and through regular ministerial and expert-level meetings.

EU restricts imports of plants from China
The European Union has decided to impose stricter measures for the import from China of plants hosting the harmful citrus long horn beetle, an insect that is not native to Europe and can attack a wide range of plants.

EU27 external trade deficit of EUR 20bn with Japan in 2009
Between 2000 and 2009, EU27 exports of goods to Japan fell in value by around 20%, from 45 bn euro to 36 bn, while EU27 imports from Japan decreased by almost 40%, from 92 bn to 56 bn. As a result, the EU27 deficit in trade with Japan decreased from 47 bn in 2000 to 20 bn in 2009 and the share of Japan in the EU27's total external trade in goods fell significantly. In 2009, Japan accounted for 3% of EU27 exports and 5% of EU27 imports, and was the EU27's sixth most important trading partner. On the occasion of the 19th European Union - Japan summit, which took place on Wednesday 28 April 2010 in Tokyo, Eurostat, the statistical office of the European Union, issued data on trade in goods and services and FDI flows between the EU and Japan.

Community rapid information system for dangerous products (RAPEX) - briefing
The number of dangerous consumer products notified through the EU's rapid alert system for non-food dangerous products ("RAPEX") rose by 7% in 2009 compared to 2008, the European Commission's annual RAPEX report shows today. This rise from 1866 notifications in 2008 to 1993 last year shows that the capacity of the RAPEX system has increased again in 2009, following more effective market surveillance by Member States. European businesses are also taking their responsibilities in the consumer product safety area more seriously and recall their unsafe products from the market more readily. They also begin to use the dedicated rapid alert system for business ('Business Application') more systematically. Toys, clothing and motor vehicles were the most frequently notified products in 2009. In addition, the results of an EU market surveillance exercise, involving 13 countries checking the safety of toys, were also presented today, and show that around 20% did not comply with the relevant safety requirements.

EU and India launch biotechnology and health pilot programme
India and EU Member States have launched NEW INDIGO, a Networking Pilot Programme (NPP) on biotechnology and health. Their objective is to establish a joint infrastructure for advanced research in this growing and significant field. NEW INDIGO ('Initiative for the development and integration of Indian and European research') has received almost EUR 2.5 million under the 'Horizontal actions and measures in support of international cooperation' (INCO) priority of the EU's Seventh Framework Programme (FP7).

Free Trade Agreement with South Korea - briefing
European businesses have for some time asked for better terms of access to key Asian markets. Responding to these calls, EU Member States authorised the Commission to negotiate new ambitious Free Trade Agreements (FTAs) with India, Korea and ASEAN countries. In April 2007 EU Member States authorised the Commission to negotiate an ambitious and comprehensive FTA with South Korea. After eight rounds of formal negotiations the two sides have today initialled the agreement.

The EU's Trade Relationship with Japan
As a highly developed economy and major global trader and investor, Japan is an important partner for the EU. Japan is the world's third largest national economy, accounting for around 1.9% of the world population and around 9% of world GDP.

The EU's Trade Relationship with China
China is the single most important challenge for EU trade policy. China has re-emerged as the world's third economy and the biggest exporter in the global economy, but also an increasingly important political power. EU-China trade has increased dramatically in recent years. China is now the EU's 2nd trading partner behind the USA and the EU's biggest source of imports by far. The EU is also China's biggest trading partner.

EU requests WTO consultations on Chinese export restrictions on raw materials - briefing
China applies export restrictions - quotas and export duties - on key raw materials. The European Commission says these restrictions distort competition and increase global prices, as some of these resources cannot be found elsewhere. Downstream industries in China therefore have access to cheaper materials than their competitors outside China. That is not a level playing field, and the EU and U.S. have asked for consultations with China at the World Trade Organisation (WTO).

EU and China agreements to strengthen cooperation on protecting Intellectual Property Rights and on preventing illicit imports of chemical substances used for synthetic drug production - briefing
Commissioner Kovacs, responsible for Taxation and Customs, today signed an Action Plan with the Chinese Ambassador Song to strengthen customs cooperation on protecting Intellectual Property Rights. They also signed an agreement to enhance customs co-operation in monitoring trade and preventing trafficking and the diversion of drug precursors (chemicals that are essential to the illicit manufacture of narcotic drugs).

EU - US - China summit on product safety - briefing
Following the successful "Joint U.S.-EU-China Initiative on Consumer Product Safety Compliance" held in China in September 2008, the product safety authorities of the European Union (European Commission, EC), the U.S. (Consumer Product Safety Commission, CPSC) and China (General Administration of Quality Supervision, Inspection and Quarantine, AQSIQ) held a summit to strengthen their trilateral cooperation in this area.

EU-China trade in facts and figures
China is now the third biggest national exporter in the global economy after Germany and the US. China now accounts for about 8 % of all imports and 12% of all exports in world trade in goods. More than half of China's exports are currently capitalised by foreign companies. Most of this capitalisation comes from neighbouring Asian companies in Japan and South Korea. 8% of it is European.

EU - Japan trade statistics 2007
Between 2000 and 2007, EU27 exports of goods to Japan fell slightly in value, from 45.5 bn euro to 43.7 bn, while EU27 imports from Japan decreased by 15%, from 92.1 bn to 77.9 bn.

Chinese treatment of foreign financial information providers - EU WTO request
The European Union has formally requested consultations at the World Trade Organisation (WTO) over measures that affect the operation of foreign financial information suppliers in China. China has prevented foreign suppliers of financial information services from providing their services directly to their clients. They are now required to operate through an agent that is a branch of Xinhua itself. Moreover, Xinhua has recently launched a financial information service in direct competition with foreign suppliers. The European Commission had tried to solve the issue through cooperation and dialogue, but without success. The United States has also requested consultations at the WTO over this issue.

EU Trade with India and China
EU27 trade with China grew by 150% between 2000 and 2006. EU Trade with India up by 80%.

India EU trade
EU-India trade has grown impressively over the years, from €4.4 billion in 1980 to over €46 billion in 2006. Trade with the EU represents almost 20% of India's exports and imports and the EU thus as a bloc is India's largest trading partner. The EU is also India's largest source of foreign direct investment. However, India accounts for just 1.8% of total EU trade. India attracts only 1.3% of the EU's world-wide investments.

China - EU trade
The European Union and China, two of the biggest markets in the world, have everything to gain by deepening their commercial ties. Since 1978, bilateral trade has increased more than 60 fold and reached approximately EUR 254 billion in 2006 (Eurostat).

China and product safety: frequently asked questions
EU Consumer Commissioner Meglena Kuneva is making a vist to the People's Republic of China on 21-27 July 2007.

China - EU trade - background note
EU Trade Commissioner Peter Mandelson met Chinese Commerce Minister Bo Xilai in Brussels on 12 June 2007 for the annual EU-China Joint Trade Ministerial Meeting. China and the EU have one of the fastest growing trading relationships in the global economy: Europe is now China's largest trading partner, and China Europe's largest source of manufactured imports. The Minister and the Commissioner reviewed bilateral trade relations. Commissioner Mandelson urged his Chinese counterpart to continue to address barriers to EU exporters and investors in the Chinese market and to protect EU businesses in China from intellectual property theft. Although China has now been in the WTO for six years, EU exporters and investors continue to face persistent problems entering and operating in the Chinese market.

European Business Council in Japan
The National European Chambers of Commerce and Business Organisations in Japan together with their collective trade policy arm, the European Business Council (EBC), form the premier business networking platform for Europeans in Japan. With close to 3,000 European and Japanese members, this network reaches deep into the business communities of both Europe and Japan, and has close ties with the National European Governments and the European Commission. Many of the European members of this network have mastered the Japanese language and have a long history of involvement in the Japanese business environment. The EBC has been working to improve the trade and investment environment for European companies in Japan since 1972.