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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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Hyväksytyt on 04/05/2011
Viite: 
CCMI/81-EESC-2011-806

The external dimension of European industrial policy – is the EU's trade policy really taking the interests of European industry into account?

Hyväksytyt on 04/01/2010
Viite: 
REX/273-EESC-0000
Täysistunto: 
458 -
Dec 16, 2009 Dec 17, 2009

In the Committee's view, the right to food is a fundamental citizenship right, as is the right of civil society to intervene in all aspects of this issue; moreover, it considers global food security to be a fundamental human right.

Trade and Food Security

23/12/2019

The European Economic and Social Committee (EESC) firmly believes that infringements of human rights can be better prevented when there is an internationally agreed binding standard implemented and protected by states. Therefore, in an opinion adopted at its December plenary session, the EESC supports the United Nations Human Rights Council initiative to adopt a binding UN treaty to regulate businesses activities, including sanctions in case of violation of international human rights law.

09/10/2019

"An open economy and open society are key enablers of European prosperity, wellbeing and way of life" states the Helsinki Declaration on Open Europe. The declaration was signed by the EESC Employers' Group, the Confederation of Finnish Industries EK and Finland Chamber of Commerce during the conference "An open Europe – How does it benefit us all?" on 9 October in Helsinki, Finland.

28/03/2019
Jonathan Peel during the plenary session

The European Economic and Social Committee (EESC) has adopted at its March plenary session an opinion on the Joint Communication "Connecting Europe and Asia – Building blocks for an EU Strategy", issued by the European Commission and the EU High Representative in September 2018. The EESC considers it to be a seriously missed opportunity, with many significant strategic gaps, little ambition and no real depth of vision offered as to the development of EU's relationship and connectivity with Asia.  

04/02/2019

An effective solution for taxation of businesses in the digitalised economy should be found at the global level, to prevent further unilateral action and to ensure sustainable growth, investment, tax certainty and fairness, international tax experts and civil society representatives stated at a hearing held by the European Economic and Social Committee (EESC) on 29 January.

08/10/2018

One year after the provisional entry into force of the Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (CETA), most small and medium-sized enterprises are doing well out of it. At a round table at the EESC on 4 October 2018, on the opportunities CETA gives small and medium-sized enterprises – "Opportunities arising from CETA for SMEs" – participants identified a number of initiatives companies could still take advantage of to ensure that all SMEs can benefit from the CETA. Although the agreement has been successful overall, there are some concerns about its implementation in certain sectors – such as dairy – and its ratification.

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