With regulations ever changing and updates constantly being made, we understand keeping up with new regulations affecting global trade can be challenging. Therefore, Global Trade News has taken the information that we have gathered over the last month from governments around the world, and compiled it into a monthly summary, posted here for you. You can access this information, along with all related FTA posts at any time by visiting the Free Trade Agreement category on this blog.


FTAs Recently In Force or Scheduled to Come Into Force:
EU – Guatemala – http://bit.ly/1lGiTmm

FTAs Recently Signed:
Australia - South Korea – http://ab.co/19VXEuw
European Union (EU) -Georgia - Moldova - http://bit.ly/1a4mB4n

FTAs Under Negotiations:
European Free Trade Association (EFTA)  - India - http://bit.ly/1ksylVg
China - Sri Lanka- http://bit.ly/1gmDJmU
India-ASEAN - http://bit.ly/1cHyrBI
US – Japan - http://bit.ly/1acRVec
New Zealand - South Korea - http://bit.ly/1dj2QsP
EU – China - http://bit.ly/1lGkEjE
New Zealand - South Korea - http://bit.ly/1dAeM4c
Korea, - Canada - http://bit.ly/1eJGf5G
Korea - New Zealand - http://bit.ly/1eJGf5G
China - Australia - http://bit.ly/IPkcjG
Peru – India - http://bit.ly/1evbzom
EU-US  - http://bit.ly/1cwNsTL
South Korea -  Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) - http://bit.ly/1eJGhu8
Malaysia – Turkey - http://bit.ly/IQ9s4V
Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (T-TIP)- http://1.usa.gov/1lGlgFU
EU  -  Ukraine - http://bit.ly/1eaF8xm
Turkey -  Pakistan - http://bit.ly/K9n1MM

FTA Talks Beginning:
Philippines – European Free Trade Association (EFTA) - http://bit.ly/1cHzMs4
NAFTA – Central America, Caribbean, Latin America - http://bit.ly/JaJmJr
Mauritius – Pakistan - http://bit.ly/KFrvv4

The China (Shanghai) FTZ Pilot opened on September 29, 2013. It’s the first FTZ launched in Shanghai and is a testing ground for the country's economic reforms, including yuan convertibility and unrestricted foreign currency exchange.

The “negative list,” which came into effect in Shanghai on December 2, 2013, specifies bans or restrictions on certain types of foreign investment. According to China Daily, the list covers 1,069 businesses in 89 divisions within 18 main categories. There are also 190 regulations on the conduct of business in the FTZ. Any industries not on the list are open to foreign investors, but those listed must apply for approval before setting up business in the FTZ.

An unofficial translation of the list includes “erotic industries,” “investment in news agencies,” “internet data services,” and the “processing of green tea with Chinese traditional handicraft” as prohibited for foreign firms. Other industries listed as “restricted” include “the processing of rice and flour,” “the construction of luxury hotels” and “legal consultation.”

Little explanation is given for most of the industries included on the list, aside from claims of compromises to China’s national or social security, and the Shanghai municipal government has given little information as to when some industries may be removed. Authorities stated that within the coming years, the list will be shortened and relaxed.

The list is similar to the existing Foreign Investment Industrial Guidance Catalogue but provides more restrictions which Chen Bo, an expert on economics and trade at the Shanghai University of Finance and Economics, believes might be hindering investments from foreign businesses. Currently, the list is in its pilot stage and is not expected to expand to other parts of the country.

"If the updated versions of the negative list expected to be released in 2014 and annually afterwards could attract more foreign investors in a short time, (the 'negative list' policy) probably would be ready to be expanded on a larger scale," said Chen.

In an effort to fight trade imbalance in India, the government has issued a new tax on gold. According to Business Insider, gold is India’s second largest import and purchases have soared as rising incomes in the country sent consumers on a buying streak.  This increase in gold purchasing has resulted in  the flow of money leaving the country to increase and, as a result, the “current account deficit rose to a historic high of 4.8 percent of India’s gross domestic product in the fiscal year that ended in March” of 2013.

In response to this, the Indian government raised import duties on the precious metal three times in 2013 to 10 percent on gold bullion and 15 percent on gold jewelry. The new tax appears to have worked, lowering imports to 32 percent; however, a new issue has risen.

India’s wedding season is in full bloom and, traditionally, Indian brides are adorned in as much elaborate gold jewelry as they can manage. Gold not only functions as a symbol of purity, but doubles as the wife’s insurance against a bad marriage.

The demand for gold, and its ever-increasing price, has led to large, and innovative, ways of smuggling gold into the country through the likes of items such as mobile phones and solid-gold staples.

“When we wear gold, it’s not only the bride who is happy, but her parents as well,” says Abhirami Damodaran, a woman shopping for her wedding jewelry. “They are giving gold as part of a future investment for the new couple.”

Business Insider reports that, in the southern state of Kerala, a local women’s commission is going so far as to propose a law limiting how much gold a bride can wear.

"Going by the number of seizures that have been made at airports and elsewhere, there is enough evidence to say that smuggling probably has doubled this year," said Somasundaram, the India director for the World Gold Council.

For more on India’s gold tax increases, view the full story here.