The 13th meeting of the EU Advisory Group for the EU-Colombia, Peru and Ecuador Free Trade Agreement will take place via a video conference on 24 June 2020. Please click on the programme tab to consult the topics on the agenda.
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.
The 16th meeting of the EU Advisory Group for the EU-Central America Association Agreement took place on 19 December 2019 in Brussels. Please click on the programme tab to consult the topics on the agenda.
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 exchanged views on the work programme and discussions on the preparation for the 1st Joint meeting of the EU-Canada DAGs were also held.
During the meeting, the EU DAG will discuss the progress achieved by both Parties to the Agreement concerning the ILO Core Conventions as well as the next steps in their ratification and effective implementation. The EU DAG also will exchange information about the role of civil society in the EU and the Republic of Korea with a representative of the European Commission.
During the meeting, the EU DAG discussed with a representative of the European Commission the preparation for the meetings with Korea under the trade and sustainable development chapter. Preparations of the 7th meeting of the EU-Korea Civil Society Forum in Brussels were also discussed, along with the state of play of the government consultations.
The Latin America Follow up Committee of the European Economic and Social Committee (EESC) held a Hearing on the EU-Mercosur Association Agreement: The views of organized civil society on 13 of November 2019.
The main purpose of the debate was to:
- Assess the opportunities and challenges ahead of the implementation of the Agreement;
- Evaluate compromises and possible impacts of the Trade and Sustainable Development Chapter of the Agreement;
- Explore how the civil society and consultative structures should monitor the impact of the Association Agreement in terms of improving human rights and labour, social and environmental rights as well as a strict compliance with international conventions or agreements the parties have committed to.
During the first joint meeting, the EU and Canada DAGs had a tour de table to introduce the respective members, and exchanged views on the work of the respective groups. A discussion on the CETA Trade and Sustainable Development (TSD) Chapters followed, along with a debate on joint priorities and ways of working together.
During the meeting, the EU Domestic Advisory Group (EU DAG) and civil society representatives from the Colombia DAG, Peru Domestic Mechanism and Ecuador DAG discussed the 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 also discussed economic, social, environmental and human rights impacts resulting from the implementation of the Agreement. The participants reflected on how the civil society from the EU, Colombia, Peru and Ecuador can cooperate to promote sustainable development in the context of trade relations and prepare for the next joint meeting.
With a view to gathering as much input as possible during the preparatory process for the opinion on The role of EU's trade and investment policies in enhancing EU's economic performance from a wide range of experts, the outcomes of the debate should feed into the preparation of the EESC opinion, to be adopted by the end of 2019.
The debate includes a first session focusing on the general implications of the EU's trade and investment policies on the enhancement of its internal economic performance, and a second session encompassing sustainable trade, environment and consumer policies.
This year's meetings between the EU and Central America under the Trade and Sustainable Development Title of the Association Agreement included a joint meeting of the DAGs where the representatives of the EU and Central American Advisory Groups exchanged experience in their current operation and discussed proposals for capacity strengthening of the civil society monitoring mechanism, the role of the parties in this context and future cooperation. The joint meeting of the DAGs was followed by a workshop on Trade and Sustainable Development where the participants discussed the content of the chapter and looked for a common understanding of the chapter.