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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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Usvojeno on 21/09/2016
Referentni dokument: 
REX/464-EESC-0000
Plenarno zasjedanje: 
519 -
Sep 21, 2016 Sep 22, 2016

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 position of the EESC on specific key issues of the TTIP

Usvojeno on 04/06/2014
Referentni dokument: 
REX/390-EESC-2014-5469
Plenarno zasjedanje: 
499 -
Jun 04, 2014 Jun 05, 2014

The main goal of the opinion is to provide a good and qualitative source of information and opinion in the beginning of TTIP negotiations process.

Transatlantic trade relations and the EESC's views on an enhanced cooperation and eventual EU-US FTA

Usvojeno on 02/07/2015
Referentni dokument: 
REX/433-EESC-0000
Plenarno zasjedanje: 
509 -
Jul 01, 2015 Jul 02, 2015

The own-initiative opinion will focus on the impact of the TTIP on SMEs and reflect on the provisions that would need to be included in the TTIP in order to take account of the specific character of SMEs in the negotiations and implementation of an eventual EU-US agreement. The opinion will also look at how to increase the awareness of SMEs as to existing support services and programmes, and particularly about the new business opportunities that may arise with this agreement.

TTIP and its impact on SMEs

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.

21/09/2016

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 ...

27/02/2017

The vote for CETA in the European Parliament opens a new chapter of closer relations between Canada and the EU. There is still a bumpy road ahead, however, with ratification of the agreement needed in all EU Member States. CETA is a progressive agreement for inclusive growth that brings substantial  benefits for SMEs. Business has an important role to play in promoting the agreement and providing real-life examples of its benefits. These were just some of the views expressed during the debate with Canada's ambassador to the European Union, Daniel Costello, which took place at the Employers' Group meeting on 22nd January 2017.

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.

14/10/2015

The Employers' Group welcomes the Commission's new trade strategy presented today by Commissioner for Trade, Cecilia Malmström. "The European Commission listened closely to key concerns raised by Civil Society and the strategy represents a positive agenda for business" – stated Jonathan Peel, Member of the Employers' Group and the EESC rapporteur on the review of the EU Trade Policy.

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