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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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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.

11/11/2019
Event
Hearing in the framework of the EESC opinion

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.

10/09/2019
Event

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.

24/06/2019 26/06/2019
Event

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 with a representative of the Canada Mission to the EU. A discussion round on the work programme was also held.

20/06/2019
Event

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.

06/03/2019
Event

During the meeting, the composition of the presidency was confirmed. The Group discussed its mandate, and proposed topics ahead of the 2019 Civil Society Forum. Moreover, the EU DAG discussed with representatives of the EC matters related to the implementation of the EU-Korea FTA under three pillars of sustainable development.

30/11/2018
Event

With a view to gathering as much input as possible during the preparatory process for the proposed opinion from a wide range of experts, the hearing will include preliminary presentation on the governance, functioning and structure of the WTO with an exploration towards the strategic role that civil society can represent in a wider plurality of interests and a larger scope of collaboration.

19/11/2018

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