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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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During the meeting, the members of the DAG debriefed on the results of the meeting with Colombia and Peru under the Trade and Sustainable Development Title, which took place on 7-8 December in Brussels . The representatives of the European External Action Service (EEAS) presented information about the EU relations and cooperation with Colombia and Peru. The Representatives of the DG Trade informed the members of the DAG on recent developments regarding the Trade and Sustainable development chapter as well as on their recent mission to Ecuador.  The Group held then an internal debate on the topics to be selected for the next joint meetings, on the state of play of constitution of DAGs in Colombia and Peru and on the rights of indigene communities in Peru.

15/03/2017

During the meeting, the members of the Domestic Advisory Group (DAG) of the EU composed of representatives of employers' organisations, trade unions and various interest group discussed the mandate of the EU DAG, working methods, reporting procedures and cooperation with other civil society organisations, as well as exchanged views on its rules of procedure. Additionally, the members of the EU DAG exchanged views with representatives of the European Commission on matters related to the implementation of the trade and sustainable development title of the EU-Canada Comprehensive Economic Trade Agreement (CETA).

13/07/2018

During the first joint meeting, the EU and Canada DAGs had a tour de table to introduce the respective members, and exchanged views on the work of the respective groups. A discussion on the CETA Trade and Sustainable Development (TSD) Chapters followed, along with a debate on joint priorities and ways of working together.

11/11/2019

During the meeting, the EU Advisory Group presented its activities and communication tools, including the website, to the representatives of the Embassies of the Central American countries. It discussed progress in implementation of the Trade and Sustainable Development Title and proposals for follow-up actions to the joint meeting with Central American Advisory Groups held in May 2015. The Group discussed also with the Commission representatives preparation for the annual meeting with Central America planned for 2016. Moreover, the Commission representatives delivered a presentation about the EU programmes and projects for Central America, which are relevant for the Trade and Sustainable Development Title.

02/12/2015

During the meeting, the EU DAG had an opportunity to discuss with Mr. Helmut Scholz, Member of the European Parliament, implementation of the Trade and Sustainable Development Title and work of the civil society monitoring mechanism in the framework of the EU-Colombia and Peru Trade Agreement. Moreover, the representatives of the European External Action Service (EEAS) presented information about the EU relations and cooperation with Colombia and Peru. Based on the Second Annual Report, the Commission representative provided information about the implementation of the Trade Agreement, changes in trade flows and work of joint bodies. He also informed about the procedures and timeline related to Ecuador's accession to the Agreement.

07/04/2016

The Latin America Follow up Committee of the European Economic and Social Committee (EESC) held a Hearing on the EU-Mercosur Association Agreement: The views of organized civil society on 13 of November 2019.

The main purpose of the debate was to:

  • Assess the opportunities and challenges ahead of the implementation of the Agreement;
  • Evaluate compromises and possible impacts of the Trade and Sustainable Development Chapter of the Agreement;
  • Explore how the civil society and consultative structures should monitor the impact of the Association Agreement in terms of improving human rights and labour, social and environmental rights as well as a strict compliance with international conventions or agreements the parties have committed to.
13/11/2019
4 pages

This publication provides a summary of the discussion entitled "Trading up for a stronger EU27. Free trade of the future – the social partners' perspective" which was held in Sopot (Poland) on 28 September 2017. The conference was organised by the Employers' Group of the European Economic and Social Committee in the framework of the European Forum for New Ideas.

Published in: 
2017
Position paper
4 pages

This document is a summary of the two-day seminar organised on 26 and 27 October 2015 by the Employers' Group and its partners: Coldiretti, Confindustria, Confcommercion and AICE (Italian Association of Foreign Trade). The first day of discussion was devoted to the role of international trade in the Reindustrialisation of Europe. On the second day, the participants focused on food manufacturing, innovation and the circular economy.

Published in: 
2016
Position paper
4 pages

The EU enjoys the status of a global trade powerhouse. It is thereby uniquely positioned to shape the development of a rules-based global trading system and influence its external growth.

Published in: 
2017

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