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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.

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Vedtaget on 23/01/2019
Reference: 
REX/510-EESC-2018-EESC-2018-05144-00-00-AC-TRA
Plenarforsamling: 
540 -
Jan 23, 2019 Jan 24, 2019

Key points:

The EU today faces an increasing demand for a constructive dialogue with civil society on trade, as seen with CETA and TTIP. Domestic advisory groups (DAG) are a great way to connect citizens with trade issues. DAG should responsibly advise on all aspects of EU Trade Agreements.

Domestic advisory groups should be advisory, consultative, institutionalized and competent to cover all provisions of FTAs.

The EESC considers that the participation of civil society in all FTAs is an indispensable element in the strategic ambitions of the external policies of the EU.

The EESC considers its participation in DAGs valuable and wishes to continue to be part of all of them.

The EESC asks budgetary authorities for an additional budget to support Domestic Advisory Groups to fulfil the expected work in terms of quantity and quality.

EESC opinion: The role of Domestic Advisory Groups in monitoring the implementation of Free Trade Agreements

Vedtaget on 13/05/2013
Reference: 
REX/378-EESC-2013-3361
Plenarforsamling: 
496 -
Feb 26, 2014 Feb 27, 2014

The opinion will seek to examine how trade relations with the region can best be developed by means of a first example country, which is Morocco. Trade relations with Morocco stand out as a priority because the EU currently has the closest trade links with Morocco of all the countries in the region.

EU-Morocco Trade Relations

Vedtaget on 10/12/2014
Reference: 
REX/431-EESC-0000
Plenarforsamling: 
503 -
Dec 10, 2014 Dec 11, 2014

Opinion on the Proposal for a Regulation of the European Parliament and of the Council on protection against subsidised imports from countries not members of the European Union (codification)

Protection against subsidised imports from countries not members of the European Union

Vedtaget on 29/03/2017
Reference: 
REX/483-EESC-2017
Plenarforsamling: 
524 -
Mar 29, 2017 Mar 30, 2017

The EESC is committed to open and fair trade and recognises its value as a driver of growth and jobs. Therefore, the EESC calls for a level playing field between European and third country exporting producers, and for effective trade defence instruments. The EESC supports the Commission's proposal that the dumping margin should be calculated not using the standard methodology, but on the basis of benchmarks that take account of significantly distorted production and sale costs. The EESC points out that in its 2016 opinion on preserving sustainable jobs and growth in the steel industry, it already called for the standard methodology not to be used in anti-dumping and anti-subsidy investigations into Chinese imports as long as the country failed to meet the EU's five criteria for market economy status. The EESC welcomes the Commission's intention of using specific criteria to determine whether there are significant distortions in the market situation.

EESC opinion: REX/483 - Trade Defence Instruments – methodology

14/12/2016

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 ...

28/03/2019
Jonathan Peel during the plenary session

The European Economic and Social Committee (EESC) has adopted at its March plenary session an opinion on the Joint Communication "Connecting Europe and Asia – Building blocks for an EU Strategy", issued by the European Commission and the EU High Representative in September 2018. The EESC considers it to be a seriously missed opportunity, with many significant strategic gaps, little ambition and no real depth of vision offered as to the development of EU's relationship and connectivity with Asia.  

19/03/2018

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.

08/10/2018

One year after the provisional entry into force of the Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (CETA), most small and medium-sized enterprises are doing well out of it. At a round table at the EESC on 4 October 2018, on the opportunities CETA gives small and medium-sized enterprises – "Opportunities arising from CETA for SMEs" – participants identified a number of initiatives companies could still take advantage of to ensure that all SMEs can benefit from the CETA. Although the agreement has been successful overall, there are some concerns about its implementation in certain sectors – such as dairy – and its ratification.

21/09/2016

With discussions for TTIP now at a critical point, the EESC has published a new opinion, ‘The position of the EESC on specific key issues of the TTIP negotiations’. The own-initiative opinion assesses some key issues of the negotiations and identifies the main considerations for European civil society. This new ...

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