Asia and Pacific

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In Asia, the EESC maintains relations with civil society organisations in China, Japan, Singapore, South Korea and Vietnam.

A Civil Society Round Table with China is in place: it was set up in 2007 following the 9th EU-China Summit and convenes once a year.

A Follow-up Committeewith Japan was established in February 2009 to monitor the civil society dimension of EU-Japan relations and promote cooperation between the EESC and business, workers', environmental and consumer organisations and other major civil society organisations in Japan. An EU-Japan Domestic Advisory Group was established under the EU-Japan Economic Partnership Agreement, which assigns a monitoring and advisory role to civil society under its trade and sustainable development chapter.

The EU has concluded free trade agreements with the following Asian countries: South Korea (2011), Japan (2019), Singapore (2019) and Vietnam (2020). These agreements are characterised by the inclusion of trade and sustainable development chapters, and give the EESC and other civil society organisations – together with civil society organisations in the partner countries – a formal role in monitoring their implementation and advising the relevant political authorities in the areas of environmental, social and labour standards and other matters which are of direct relevance to civil society, through the Domestic Advisory Groups (DAGs). Two to three meetings of the EU DAGs are held in each year, and a joint meeting takes place once a year.

In addition, the EESC engages with civil society in other Asian countries and in relevant international events on an ad hoc basis.

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Adopted on 26/04/2017

The 2030 Agenda, the new global framework for sustainable development agreed by the UN in 2015, needs to be reflected in EU's development policy, the major orientations of which are set out in the 2005 European Consensus on Development ("the Consensus").

To this end, the Commission issued Communication COM(2016) 740, "Proposal for a New European Consensus on Development: Our World, Our Dignity, Our Future" in November 2016.  Interinstitutional negotiations are expected to result in its endorsement in the form of a Joint Statement by the Council, the European Parliament and the Commission, in May 2017.

EESC opinion: Proposal for a new European Consensus on Development: "Our World, our Dignity, our Future” (Communication)

Adopted on 13/07/2016

The European Economic and Social Committee (EESC) warns against granting China market economy status (MES) and  calls on the European institutions to promote fair international competition and actively defend European jobs and European values with efficient trade defence instruments (TDIs). In its opinion, adopted at its 514th plenary session on 14th July, the EESC points to the disastrous impact a possible granting of MES to China would have on Europe's industry and consequently on Europe's labour market. The EESC insists on China's fulfilment of the five EU criteria for achieving the MES.

EESC opinion: The impact on key industrial sectors (and on jobs and growth) of the possible granting of market economy treatment to China (for the purpose of trade defence instruments) (own-initiative opinion)

Adopted on 14/01/2015
Plenary session: 
504 -
Jan 21, 2015 Jan 22, 2015

The main aim of the review is to assess whether all existing priorities of the EU-Central Asia Strategy remain valid, and whether the EU should maintain its current focus on issues such as security, education, sustainable development (energy, transport and environment), and the rule of law.

Civil society contribution to the review of the EU-Central Asia Strategy

Adopted on 21/01/2014

This own initiative opinion looks to examine the agreement already under negotiation between EU and Japan (being the third non-European EU trade partner) and in particular its economic, social and environmental consequences. This agreement is not only dealing with trade, but will have on societies expected consequences to be enlightened and taken in account by negotiators. The automobile sector, public procurement, services, agricultural and pharmaceutical products sectors are, among others, concerned.

The Role of Civil Society in the negotiation and implementation of an EU-Japan Free Trade Agreement

Adopted on 27/10/2011
Plenary session: 
475 -
Nov 26, 2011 Nov 27, 2011

An EU-India Free Trade Agreement (FTA) would cover over a fifth of the global population, making it one of the most significant FTAs in the world. It has the potential to bring significant benefits for society to both the EU and India.

However, the EESC is concerned with its uncertain social and environmental effects for the EU, especially in terms of Mode 4 (mobility of workers) and for the poorer segments of Indian society.

The role of civil society in the free trade agreement between the EU and India