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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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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.

19/05/2016
Reference number: 
33/2016

The EU-China Round Table's 14th meeting was hosted by the EESC in Brussels on 18-19 May 2016. The Round Table was set up in 2007 following a Decision taken by the 9th EU-China Summit, which acknowledged that the exchanges and cooperation between the EESC and its Chinese counterpart, the China Economic and Social Council (CESC), formed an integral part of the EU-China relationship. Topics on the agenda included ...

30/06/2017
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.

28/05/2015 29/05/2015

During the meeting, the representatives of the EU and Central American Advisory Groups discussed the mandate and composition of the Advisory Groups as envisaged by the Trade and Sustainable Development Title, as well as progress achieved in their establishment, nomination of contact persons and launching the first activities. The participants discussed also matters related to trade in agricultural products, including fair trade, respect for labour and environmental standards, situation and role of small and medium-sized producers, sustainability considerations, the role of supply chains, Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) and examples of best practices in this area, as well as support for producers. They also adopted a Joint Declaration which was presented on the following day in the Civil Society Dialogue Forum meeting.

24/03/2015

During the meeting, the EU Advisory Group discussed several aspects related to its composition, working methods and Rules of procedure. The Group agreed also the procedure for election of the Chair and Vice-Chairs. Moreover, based on the first Annual Report, the Commission representatives (DG TRADE) provided information concerning implementation of the trade pillar of the EU-Central America Association Agreement and its Trade and Sustainable Development Title. The EU Advisory Group discussed furthermore lessons learned from the first meeting with Central America held in November 2014 in Nicaragua and the preparations for the second one, planned in May 2015 in Brussels.

26/09/2016

During the meeting, the Commission representative will provide information about the ex-post evaluation of the EU-Korea FTA, as an example of an evaluation of a trade agreement being in force. A similar evaluation of the implementation of the trade pillar of the EU-Central America Association Agreement is scheduled for 2018 and the EU Advisory Group would like to prepare for its future contribution to that process. The Commission will also discuss with the Group the follow-up to the meetings with Central America held in Honduras in June 2016 and the preparation for next year's meetings, which will take place in Brussels. The Group may also have an opportunity to discuss with the ILO representatives implementation of the project related to respect for labour standards, funded by the EU and delivered by the ILO in El Salvador and Guatemala.

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