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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The EU, US and Canada share the values of democracy, human rights, economic and political freedom and have overlapping foreign policy and security concerns. The US and Canada are amongst the EU's main trade partners and also partners in shaping the international legal order. Transatlantic relations nowadays take place in a new environment and are facing growing challenges. We consider that civil society involvement in this relationship provides a guarantee that transatlantic relations are able respond to the public's expectations and effectively contribute to shaping mutually beneficial cooperation.
The EU-Canada Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (CETA) and the Strategic Partnership Agreement were signed on 30 October 2016. We will be looking for constant civil society involvement in the implementation of these agreements. Negotiations on an EU-US Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) are presently at a standstill. However, the TTIP negotiations contributed to strengthening the links between the EU and US civil society and to defining civil society views on how the future trade relationship between the EU and US should look. These achievements should not be lost. Our Transatlantic Follow-up Committee was set up in September 2014 with a mandate to monitor transatlantic links with civil society, setting up regular dialogue and consultation on issues related to relations with the US and Canada.
The role of trade as a generator of growth and jobs is undeniable, but public perception of the further liberalisation of trade is getting worse and citizens' concerns must be addressed far more effectively than before. This was one of the conclusions of the conference on "Strengthening European Growth and Competitiveness: Proactive Trade Agenda – NOW!" that took place in Helsinki on 26 October. Jacek Krawczyk, President of the EESC Employers' Group, added:
It is our responsibility to advocate for trade; we cannot take it for granted that people understand what the benefits ...
The role of trade as a generator of growth and jobs is undeniable, but public perception of the further liberalisation of trade is getting worse and citizens' concerns must be addressed far more effectively than before. This was one of the conclusions of the conference on "Strengthening European Growth and Competitiveness: Proactive Trade Agenda – NOW!" that took place in Helsinki on 26 October.
The EESC Employers' Group is organising a seminar on "Strengthening European Growth and Competitiveness: Proactive Trade Agenda – NOW!" taking place on 26 October in Helsinki and jointly organized with the Confederation of Finnish Industries and the International Chamber of Commerce, ICC Finland.
Trade and Investment are hugely important for the EU: 1 in 7 EU jobs depend on exports. The EU cannot risk falling behind in the global race to build a wide and ambitious network of free trade agreements. The signing of the Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP) agreement (involving 12 countries and 40% of world GDP) is a timely reminder of this. This seminar, which will be attended by many of our Members together with Finnish employers and entrepreneurs, politicians and academics aims to examine how to best contribute positively to the debate as trade agreements (TTIP - TISA - CETA - EU-JAPAN) increasingly become a top political issue.
With discussions for TTIP now at a critical point, the EESC has published a new opinion, ‘The position of the EESC on specific key issues of the TTIP negotiations’. The own-initiative opinion assesses some key issues of the negotiations and identifies the main considerations for European civil society. This new ...
On 12 June 2014, the Commission presented a proposal for a Regulation of the European Parliament and of the Council codifying Council Regulation (EC) No 673/2005 of 25 April 2005 establishing additional customs duties on imports of certain products originating in the United States of America.
In the light of the ongoing EU-US Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) negotiations, the European Economic and Social Committee (EESC) is drafting an own-initiative opinion on "The position of the EESC on specific key issues of the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) negotiations". In this framework, the EESC is organising a public hearing, to be held at the Committee premises on 30 June 2016, beginning at 9 a.m.
In view of the ongoing TTIP negotiations, the EESC is organising a seminar, whose main purpose will be to be to assess the need for an energy chapter in the TTIP, in particular after the lifting of the US restrictions on crude oil exports and the impact that such a chapter might have on trade of energy goods and services, and on environmental and energy policies both in the EU and the US. Main topics: a) the impact of TTIP on the EU energy market and security of energy supplies; b) the possibility to foster a more transparent, predictable, open and non-discriminatory framework for traders and investors in energy and raw materials, by improving transparency and competition in the energy sector; c) an energy chapter in TTIP as a model to shape energy relations with other countries; d) the impact on trade in environmental goods, renewable energy and energy efficiency, aiming at contributing to the achievement of SDGs and climate change targets.
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.
The event gathered all main national social partners (business federations and trade unions from the 28 Member States) for a full-day debate on the opportunities and challenges of TTIP for the social partners. The meeting allowed for discussion on concrete topics via plenary sessions and parallel panels. The overall objective of the conference was to inform social partners at the national level about the different aspects of TTIP, to promote a balanced exchange of views and experiences between these different national groups aimed at reaching some common understanding on the TTIP and its repercussions.