FACTBOX-EU trade talks around the world

Reuters Middle East

BRUSSELS, Nov 28 (Reuters) - The European Union will decide

on Thursday whether to go ahead with free-trade talks with Japan

to deepen Europe's ties with the world's third-largest economy.

The European Union already has trade agreements with more

than 60 countries ranging from Egypt and Mexico to Switzerland

but now aims to sign accords with the world's biggest economies.

Following are some of the EU's trade talks around the world.


The EU had hoped to finalise a free-trade accord with Canada

by the end of this year after opening talks in 2009, but issues

such as investment protection and public procurement remain on

the table.

An agreement would mark the EU's first fully fledged trade

pact with a major developed country outside Europe and goes well

beyond a reduction in trade tariffs to include broad access to

service sectors for both sides.


A free-trade deal between Brussels and Beijing is not likely

any time soon. Despite often tense trade ties, both sides are

trying to move towards starting talks on an investment pact that

could unleash billions of euros of fresh investment flows.

A pact would lay down rules for companies expanding in both

regions and end onerous Chinese requirements for European

companies that want to invest in China, which include mandatory

joint ventures and bans on foreign ownership in some sectors.


The EU started talks with India in 2007. India's trade

minister says the two sides have agreed to finalise a free-trade

agreement by the end of this year, but EU officials say that the

agreement is at a stalemate over Indian duties on European car

imports and access for Indian software companies to the EU.

A free-trade agreement would help India's growing companies

expand into the EU, the country's biggest trading partner and

buyer of more than 40 billion euros ($53 billion) of Indian

goods and services in 2010. Europe wants access to a vast, young

market of 1.3 billion potential customers.


Following the EU's trade agreement with South Korea last

year, Brussels wants to start talks with Japan to agree a

similar deal with Tokyo.

A deal between Europe and Japan would bring together two

trading partners responsible for a third of global economic

output, but France and Italy are worried about strengthened

Japanese competition for their weak car industries.


Talks to create a massive free trade zone between Europe and

South America have stalled, officials say.

Negotiators from the European Union and the four-nation

trade bloc Mercosur, led by Brazil, have been trying for years

to draw up a free-trade deal that would encompass 750 million

people and trade worth 100 billion euros ($130 billion) a year.


The EU and the United States could start negotiations on a

long-desired free-trade deal early in 2013. The two sides

already have the biggest trade relationship in the world, with

more than 1.8 billion euros ($2 billion) in trade every day

across the Atlantic.

An EU-U.S. working group is expected in December to

recommend going ahead with negotiations for a free trade deal

that would eliminate tariffs and other barriers to trade in

goods, services and investment. It would also enhance the

compatibility of regulations and standards.

($1 = 0.7733 euros)

(Reporting by Robin Emmott; Editing by Hugh Lawson)

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