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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.

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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.


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 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.