During May 2017 some of the myths about the EU fell apart.
The EU’s General Affairs Council agreed its timetable and directives for Britain’s exit negotiations on May 22, as the major UK and EU negotiators appeared to take strongly conflicting positions on their content.
The European Union has reinstated Sri Lanka to its GSP+ programme, a special arrangement under the Generalized Scheme of Preferences aimed at encouraging sustainable development and good governance.
The UK House of Commons Select Committee on the Treasury has now published the correspondence revealing why it talks about its “collapse in confidence in the successful implementation of the Customs Declaration System” essential to UK apparel imports continuing after Brexit.
The French Constitutional Council ordered a full investigation into the EU-Canada free trade deal on March 22, indicating its findings were unlikely before the summer. This means after the French presidential elections
The European Union was reported on March 23 to have warned Bangladesh of suspending duty-free access unless Bangladesh makes progress in the implementing worker rights.
A committee of the European Parliament voted on March 21 for a proposal that “The EU Commission should propose rules obliging all players in the textile and clothing industry supply chain to respect the labour and human rights of their workers”.
Though the EU-US TTIP agreement is widely thought to be “in the freezer”, evidence given to confirmation hearings by Robert Lighthizer, Donald Trump’s nominee for US Trade Representative, seems to indicate the US Administration is still open-minded about its future.
The UK is facing a €1.98 bn bill from the EU for “repeatedly ignoring warnings” of tax frauds on imported Chinese shoes and apparel. The case highlights grave systemic complications in Britain’s handling of trade which threaten to complicate further its preparations for leaving the EU.
Results of the March 15 election for the Dutch House of Representatives seem to kill worries the EU is about to collapse. But, though those worries have never had any real justification, the Dutch election still emphasises the declining support in mature democracies for some traditional policies.
The foreign ministers of Argentina, Uruguay, Paraguay and Brazil met on March 9 in Buenos Aires to discuss a common position ahead of negotiations with the European Union on a potential trade deal.
In a March 10 background briefing with reporters, US officials surprisingly revealed the Trump administration has “not formulated a final position” on whether or not it will continue to pursue a proposed Transatlantic Trade & Investment Partnership (TTIP) agreement with the EU.
The UK government was reported on March 1 to have instructed its departments to have plans ready for governing if Britain fails to secure an adequate free trade deal with the EU after leaving in spring 2017.
The UK will continue to allow substantial EU immigration “for years and years” after Brexit – generally expected in spring 2019 – the country’s Brexit minster admitted on February 21.