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International trade is governed by a complex mixture of global rules agreed under World Trade Organization and bilateral and multilateral agreements. The free trade agreements are having a growing impact on citizens' rights. Under the Lisbon Treaty, EU trade policy must be conducted within the framework of the principles and objectives of the Union’s external action, including promotion of the rule of law, human rights and sustainable development.

We believe that this trend should be a guiding principle in EU trade negotiations and in trade relations. The fact that we at the EESC reconcile the positions and views of business, workers, professionals, farmers, consumers and other important stakeholders contributes real added value. We are in a position to efficiently relay the opinions of civil society and interest groups to international policy-makers both during negotiations and in the implementation of trade agreements. We have set up a Follow-up Committee on International trade to ensure that civil society has a say in the shaping of EU trade policy. We are also managing the Domestic Advisory groups set up under the trade and sustainable development chapters of the EU "new generation" trade agreements. These groups, composed of civil society representatives (from inside and outside the EESC) are responsible for identifying trade and sustainable development-related problems in the implementation of a trade agreement.

  • Foreign Direct Investment

    Particular attention should be given to investment in sensitive areas such as infrastructure and key facilities, says the EESC

  • Brexit, the next EU budget and the future of the single market are the core interests of the European employers' organisations. On 14 March 2018, representatives of BusinessEurope, EuroChambres and CEEP presented the priorities of their organisations for 2018 and discussed the issues with the members of the employers' group.

  • Employers believe that the business community has a crucial role to play in spreading a positive message about trade and in explaining what an ambitious trade policy can achieve. It is businesses that can tell the story of the practical benefits stemming from trade agreements. This was the main message that the members of the EESC Employers' Group delivered to Cecilia Malmström, EU Commissioner for Trade, during their meeting on 6 December 2017.

  • Reference number
    34/2017

    The EU-China Round Table's fifteenth meeting took place in Beijing from 28 to 30 June 2017, marking 10 years since it was first set up. The theme of the 2-day meeting of delegations from the EESC and the China Economic and Social Council (CESC) was “Partnership for Growth, Civilization of mutual benefit”. The main topics of debate were innovation as a driver for economic vitality, trade, investment and social and labour rights, summed up in a joint statement. In addition, both delegations met with Mr Yu Zhengsheng, Member of the Politburo Central Committee of the Communist Party of China, and Chairman of the CPPCC....

  • The condition of the European economy, completing the Single Market, trade and Brexit – these are the top issues for European employers' organisations in the forthcoming months. On 29 March 2017, the Directors-General and Secretaries-General of BusinessEurope, EuroCommerce and Copa-Cogega presented their priorities and debated with the members of the EESC Employers' Group.

  • Reference number
    15/2017

    EESC calls on Commissioner Malmström to ensure EU industry and jobs are protected from unfair imports.

  • The importance of Social Dialogue, the role of employers' organisations, the economic situation in the Balkan countries, progress in the accession process and current political challenges:  these were main topics of the discussions at the Balkan Employers' Round Table that took place in Ljubljana, Slovenia, on 22 March 2017. The event brought together representatives of employers' organisations from former Yugoslavia (Slovenia, Croatia, Serbia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Montenegro and the Former Yugoslavian Republic of Macedonia).

  • The vote for CETA in the European Parliament opens a new chapter of closer relations between Canada and the EU. There is still a bumpy road ahead, however, with ratification of the agreement needed in all EU Member States. CETA is a progressive agreement for inclusive growth that brings substantial  benefits for SMEs. Business has an important role to play in promoting the agreement and providing real-life examples of its benefits. These were just some of the views expressed during the debate with Canada's ambassador to the European Union, Daniel Costello, which took place at the Employers' Group meeting on 22nd January 2017.

  • Le CESE considère qu’après vingt ans d’existence, l’union douanière UE-Turquie – qui fournit le cadre aux relations commerciales bilatérales – est devenue obsolète, et qu’un nouveau type d’accord commercial reflétant les besoins actuels doit être établi. Le Comité considère toujours la Turquie comme un partenaire très important, et aussi ...

  • The role of trade as a generator of growth and jobs is undeniable, but public perception of the further liberalisation of trade is getting worse and citizens' concerns must be addressed far more effectively than before. This was one of the conclusions of the conference on "Strengthening European Growth and Competitiveness: Proactive Trade Agenda – NOW!" that took place in Helsinki on 26 October.