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.
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Employers believe that the business community has a crucial role to play in spreading a positive message about trade and in explaining what an ambitious trade policy can achieve. It is businesses that can tell the story of the practical benefits stemming from trade agreements.
In the light of the agreement in principle reached in July 2017 between the EU and Japan on an Economic Partnership Agreement, the European Economic and Social Committee (EESC)'s Follow-up Committees on International Trade and Japan are taking the opportunity to organise a half-day joint seminar. The seminar aims at examining the significance of the EU-Japan Agreement in the global context, reflecting on the role that civil society may play in the implementation of such agreement, and aims to assess possible challenges and benefits for different stakeholders (the business community, workers, farmers, consumers, etc.).
Topics: EU-Japan FTA: state of play; Better access to the EU market motivates economic reforms in Eastern Partnership countries;
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Yesterday's seminar at the EESC’s Brussels headquarters discussed strengthening EU-Japan cooperation, dealing with the common challenge of migration and the role of civil society in implementing the EU-Japan FTA. During the seminar, aimed broadly at strengthening ties between the EU and Japan on key issues such as trade and migration, the Vice-President of the EESC Gonçalo Lobo Xavier called for a representative delegation of Japanese civil society organisations to travel to the ...
The seminar is organized together with the EU-Kansai Institute. It aims to examine similarities and differences in the bilateral and bi-regional trade agreements each party is concluding with the United States, the TTIP and TPP agreements respectively, and to assess to what extent these negotiations will inform the future EU-Japan FTA/EPA.
In addition, one session will be dedicated to the topical issue of asylum and migration policies, and will look at similarities and differences between the two countries' approaches to migration.
As the negotiations of the EU-Japan Free Trade Agreement are reaching a final stage, Members of the EESC Japan Follow-up Committee are preparing a mission to exchange views with Japanese stakeholders, about a possible joint civil society mechanism monitoring the implementation and the impact of the FTA.
From 28th September 2015 to 1st October 2015 EESC Members Mrs Batut, Ms Päärendson and Mr Pater will attend a Seminar organized by the EU Institute in Kobe on the impact on employment and skills development. On 29th September 2015, EESC Members will contribute to the Symposium held by the EU institute in Kyushu, entitled "the EU-Japan FTA/EPA – Source for growth and jobs".
On 30 September and 1st October, the EESC delegation will meet in Tokyo with EU and Japanese officials, and representatives of the Japanese civil society such as social partners, consumers' and environmental organizations, business federation.
Now that the negotiations leading up to an EU-Japan Free Trade Agreement are progressing rapidly – due to the ambition to conclude negotiations before the end of 2015 – the members of the EESC Japan Follow-up Committee are working together with their counterparts to present a concerted position to the authorities on both sides concerning the inclusion of a joint civil society monitoring body. In order to further develop ideas and provide a space for exchanging views, i.a. by taking stock of existing civil society monitoring bodies.
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.