International Trade

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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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Adopted on 18/03/2015
Reference: 
REX/444-EESC-0000
Plenary session: 
506 -
Mar 18, 2015 Mar 19, 2015

Opinion on the Proposal for a Regulation of the European Parliament and of the Council protecting against the effects of the extra-territorial application of legislation adopted by a third country and actions based thereon or resulting therefrom (recast)

Protection against the effects of the extra-territorial application of legislation adopted by a third country

Adopted on 21/01/2015
Reference: 
REX/434-EESC-0000
Plenary session: 
504 -
Jan 21, 2015 Jan 22, 2015

Opinion on the Proposal for a Regulation of the European Parliament and of the Council on measures that the Union may take in relation to the combined effect of anti-dumping or anti-subsidy measures with safeguard measures (codification)

Antidumping measures

Adopted on 21/09/2016
Reference: 
REX/464-EESC-2016

The EESC has played an important role in strengthening an informed civil society debate on the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) through a number of TTIP-related opinions, adopted in 2014 and 2015, covering issues such as labour rights, investment protection, impact on SMEs, among others.

It is important under the present circumstances that the EESC, in order to maintain its position as a key civil society player in the TTIP debate, react to the textual proposals for TTIP negotiations on essential topics such as the sustainable development chapter, regulatory cooperation, investment and services. This will have the advantage not only of setting up the EESC position on major negotiating chapters but also of presenting concrete recommendations and pointing out the need to involve civil society in the implementation of those chapters.

EESC opinion: The position of the EESC on specific key issues of the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) negotiations (own-initiative opinion)

Adopted on 04/06/2014
Reference: 
REX/390-EESC-2014-5469
Plenary session: 
499 -
Jun 04, 2014 Jun 05, 2014

The main goal of the opinion is to provide a good and qualitative source of information and opinion in the beginning of TTIP negotiations process.

Transatlantic trade relations and the EESC's views on an enhanced cooperation and eventual EU-US FTA

Adopted on 02/07/2015
Reference: 
REX/433-EESC-0000
Plenary session: 
509 -
Jul 01, 2015 Jul 02, 2015

The own-initiative opinion will focus on the impact of the TTIP on SMEs and reflect on the provisions that would need to be included in the TTIP in order to take account of the specific character of SMEs in the negotiations and implementation of an eventual EU-US agreement. The opinion will also look at how to increase the awareness of SMEs as to existing support services and programmes, and particularly about the new business opportunities that may arise with this agreement.

TTIP and its impact on SMEs

Adopted on 29/09/2014
Reference: 
REX/410-EESC-2015-eesc-2014-04461-00-01-ac-tra
Plenary session: 
506 -
Mar 18, 2015 Mar 19, 2015

The EESC opinion will be dedicated to standalone investment agreements, with a particular emphasis on issues related to sustainable development and civil society involvement. It will contribute to the on-going discussion on the content and level of ambition of sustainable development chapters in the EU standalone investment agreements, as well as on civil society role in the course of negotiations and at the implementation stage.

EESC opinion: Role for sustainable development and civil society involvement in stand-alone EU investment agreements with third countries

Adopted on 17/09/2015
Reference: 
REX/443-EESC
Plenary session: 
510 -
Sep 16, 2015 Sep 17, 2015

The Information Report can serve as a tool to promote and share the rich experience of the EU and its Member States in the area of CSR with partner countries and their civil society. It can provide a basis for discussion in EESC dialogues with partner countries, as well as the Committee's contribution to the work of the monitoring mechanisms established by the recently negotiated EU trade agreements.

Corporate social and societal responsibility

Adopted on 13/07/2016
Reference: 
CCMI/144-EESC-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 27/05/2015
Reference: 
REX/411-EESC-0000
Plenary session: 
508 -
May 27, 2015 May 28, 2015

Since the entry into force of the Lisbon Treaty, the investment policy is an exclusive competence of the European Union. The EU is aiming to include therefore in the new trade and investment agreements provisions on investor protection and investor to state dispute settlement (ISDS) which will replace existing Bilateral Investment Agreements (BIT) signed by Member States and will grant the same level of protection to all EU investors.

Investor protection and investor to State dispute settlement in EU trade and investment agreements with third countries

Downloads: 

CP 33 EN TTIP

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