During the meeting, the Commission (DG TRADE) provided information on implementation of the EU-Korea FTA, as well as update on plurilateral negotiations (green goods initiative) aiming at liberalisation of trade in environmental goods and services. The EU DAG discussed also follow-up to the Trade and Sustainable Development Committee and the EU-Korea Civil Society Forum (CSF) held on 8-9 December 2014 and preparations for the next ones to take place on 9-10 September 2015 in Seoul. In line with the EU-Korea CSF Conclusions, a particular attention was dedicated to the question of labour standards, notably trade unions rights in Korea. The afternoon session of the EU DAG meeting was dedicated to Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR).
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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.
Hearing in view of the preparation of the EESC opinion on the European Commission Communication "Trade for All – Towards a more responsible trade and investment policy"
During the meeting, the EU Domestic Advisory Group (EU DAG) and civil society representatives from Colombia and Peru will discuss 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 will also discuss economic, social, environmental and human rights impacts resulting from the implementation of the Agreement. The participants will reflect moreover on how the civil society from the EU, Colombia and Peru can cooperate to promote sustainable development in the context of trade relations and prepare for the next joint meeting. The participants may adopt a joint declaration summarising outcomes of their discussion and present it to the Parties during the open session planned for 8 December.
ESC hearing on " Investment Protection and ISDS in EU Trade and Investment Agreements". The hearing will gather civil society representatives who will present their position towards investment protection and Investor to State Dispute Settlement (ISDS) provisions in the current process of elaboration of the EU investment policy, which was added as an exclusive competence of the EU since the Lisbon Treaty.
During the meeting, the EU Domestic Advisory Group (EU DAG) prepared for the meetings with Korea: the workshop on labour-related aspects and the EU-Korea Civil Society Forum, which will take place on 9-10 September 2015 in Seoul. The EU DAG discussed in particular its contributions to a debate with Korea on labour standards, as well as on Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) and civil society participation in development and implementation of climate change policy.
During the meeting, the EEAS representative presented information about the EU relations with the Republic of Korea. The European Commission updated participants on the implementation of the EU-Korea FTA and its trade and sustainable development chapter. It also presented the state of play and the next steps in the ex-post evaluation of the agreement as well as the preparation of joint projects with Korea. The EU DAG also had the opportunity to discuss with a Member of the European Parliament the work of the civil society monitoring mechanism in the framework of the EU-Korea FTA. The EU DAG discussed moreover amendments to its rules of procedure and lessons learned from its first mandate (2012-2015) and proceeded to elect the Chair for the new term. Preparatory discussions were held in view of the next EU-Korea Civil Society Forum due to take place in Brussels, in the second semester of 2016.
This public hearing will discuss the current state of multilateral trade negotiations on agriculture. After the Nairobi agreement of export competition, some progress could be made on the areas of market access (tariffs and quotas) and, to some extent, on domestic support.
The Consultative Committee (CC) is one of the 5 institutions foreseen in the EU-CARIFORUM Economic Partnership Agreement. The CC is composed of 40 (25 from the CARIFORM side and 15 from the EU side) standing representatives of organisations of the civil society representing employers' organisations, trade unions, other economic, social and non-governmental organisations, including development and environmental organisations; and the academic community.
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.
The Round table with policy makers and stakeholders will take place in Brussels on 12 November 2014 9 am -5 pm.
Venue: European Economic and Social Committee, Van Maerlant Building (Room VM1), 2, rue Van Maerlant