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International handel

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.

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Vedtaget on 05/07/2017
Reference: 
TEN/630-EESC-2017
Plenarforsamling: 
527 -
Jul 05, 2017 Jul 06, 2017

A pro-active mindset in business is needed to open up to increasing flows of data and develop the ability to process big data. Flexible and more adaptable business models must be put in place in the context of the current transformation process.

The Commission should carry out a precise analysis of the state of play and of defensive attitudes to the free flow of data in the Member States in order to remove unjustified barriers by putting the right legal and technical provisions in place. Removing unjustified barriers to free flow of data should be an integral part of a Europe-wide industrial policy. Opening up of national markets should also be covered by the European Semester.

As a matter of principle, contractual freedom in the private sector should be respected. A general EU framework for standards is desirable but standards should in no way hamper innovation. Portability should be promoted.

EESC opinion: Building a European Data Economy

Vedtaget on 10/12/2014
Reference: 
REX/422-EESC-0000
Plenarforsamling: 
503 -
Dec 10, 2014 Dec 11, 2014

Draft Opinion on the Proposal for a Regulation of the European Parliament and of the Council on the safeguard measures provided for in the Agreement between the European Economic Community and the Republic of Iceland (codification)

Safeguard measures provided for in the Agreement between the European Economic Community and the Republic of Iceland

Vedtaget on 07/12/2017
Reference: 
REX/486-EESC-2017
Plenarforsamling: 
530 -
Dec 06, 2017 Dec 07, 2017

The 2030 UN Agenda, or the implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals, will be one of the top global priorities over the next 15 years, yet it received very little mention in the Commission Communication "Trade for all". Trade is specifically mentioned with regard to nine SDGs (but only once in the MDGs). UNCTAD estimate that, to meet the 17 goals and the 169 targets, at least an extra US$2.5 trillion a year will need to be found - effectively from the private sector. This opinion would seek to look into this further and aim to evaluate how much of that will need to come through trade and investment.

EESC opinion: The core role of trade and investment in meeting and implementing the SDGs

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