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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Hearing in the framework of the EESC opinion

With a view to gathering as much input as possible during the preparatory process for the opinion on The role of EU's trade and investment policies in enhancing EU's economic performance from a wide range of experts, the outcomes of the debate should feed into the preparation of the EESC opinion, to be adopted by the end of 2019.

The debate includes a first session focusing on the general implications of the EU's trade and investment policies on the enhancement of its internal economic performance, and a second session encompassing sustainable trade, environment and consumer policies.

10/09/2019

This year's meetings between the EU and Central America under the Trade and Sustainable Development Title of the Association Agreement included a joint meeting of the DAGs where the representatives of the EU and Central American Advisory Groups exchanged experience in their current operation and discussed proposals for capacity strengthening of the civil society monitoring mechanism, the role of the parties in this context and future cooperation. The joint meeting of the DAGs was followed by a workshop on Trade and Sustainable Development where the participants discussed the content of the chapter and looked for a common understanding of the chapter.

24/06/2019 26/06/2019

During the meeting, the EU DAG discussed with a representative of the European Commission the progress in work on implementation of the EU-Canada CETA. The Group exchanged views with a representative of the Canada Mission to the EU. A discussion round on the work programme was also held.

20/06/2019

During the meeting, the EU DAG discussed with a representative of the European Commission the progress in work on implementation of the EU-Canada CETA. The Group also exchanged views with a representative of the Canada Mission to the EU. A discussion round on the work programme was also held.

06/03/2019

During the meeting, the EU Domestic Advisory Group (EU DAG) and civil society representatives from Colombia, Peru and Ecuador discussed implementation of the Trade and Sustainable Development Title of the Trade Agreement, with a particular focus on respect for international labour and environmental standards. They also discussed economic, social, environmental and human rights impacts resulting from the implementation of the Agreement. The participants reflected moreover on how the civil society from the EU, Colombia,  Peru and Ecuador can cooperate to promote sustainable development in the context of trade relations and prepare for the next joint meeting. The participants adopted a joint declaration summarising outcomes of their discussion and presented it to the Parties during the Open Session with civil society on 12 December.

10/12/2018 12/12/2018

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