The 11th meeting of the EU Advisory Group for the EU-Central America Association Agreement took place on 25 January in Brussels. Please click on the programme tab to consult the topics on the agenda.
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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.
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.
During the meeting, the representatives of the EU and Central American Advisory Groups discussed the mandate and composition of the Advisory Groups as envisaged by the Trade and Sustainable Development Title, as well as progress achieved in their establishment, nomination of contact persons and launching the first activities. The participants discussed also matters related to trade in agricultural products, including fair trade, respect for labour and environmental standards, situation and role of small and medium-sized producers, sustainability considerations, the role of supply chains, Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) and examples of best practices in this area, as well as support for producers. They also adopted a Joint Declaration which was presented on the following day in the Civil Society Dialogue Forum meeting.
During the meeting, the EU Advisory Group discussed several aspects related to its composition, working methods and Rules of procedure. The Group agreed also the procedure for election of the Chair and Vice-Chairs. Moreover, based on the first Annual Report, the Commission representatives (DG TRADE) provided information concerning implementation of the trade pillar of the EU-Central America Association Agreement and its Trade and Sustainable Development Title. The EU Advisory Group discussed furthermore lessons learned from the first meeting with Central America held in November 2014 in Nicaragua and the preparations for the second one, planned in May 2015 in Brussels.
During the meeting, the Commission representative will provide information about the ex-post evaluation of the EU-Korea FTA, as an example of an evaluation of a trade agreement being in force. A similar evaluation of the implementation of the trade pillar of the EU-Central America Association Agreement is scheduled for 2018 and the EU Advisory Group would like to prepare for its future contribution to that process. The Commission will also discuss with the Group the follow-up to the meetings with Central America held in Honduras in June 2016 and the preparation for next year's meetings, which will take place in Brussels. The Group may also have an opportunity to discuss with the ILO representatives implementation of the project related to respect for labour standards, funded by the EU and delivered by the ILO in El Salvador and Guatemala.
In the light of the agreement in principle reached in July 2017 between the EU and Japan on an Economic Partnership Agreement, the European Economic and Social Committee (EESC)'s Follow-up Committees on International Trade and Japan are taking the opportunity to organise a half-day joint seminar. The seminar aims at examining the significance of the EU-Japan Agreement in the global context, reflecting on the role that civil society may play in the implementation of such agreement, and aims to assess possible challenges and benefits for different stakeholders (the business community, workers, farmers, consumers, etc.).
7th meeting of the Domestic Advisory Group for the EU-Colombia and Peru FTA
The 10th meeting of the EU Advisory Group for the EU-Colombia, Peru and Ecuador Free Trade Agreement took place on 29 November 2018 in Brussels. Please click on the programme tab to consult the topics on the agenda.
The conference aims to raise the profile of trade as an essential means to secure growth and jobs in the current economic crisis, in line with the Europe 2020 strategy. The Conference will in particular look at the following issues: • Key trade-related issues, in particular those affecting Lithuania and neighbouring EU - and CIS - countries • Eastern Partnership: Progress of DCFTA negotiations • Maintaining Open and Fair Trade (Updating EU Trade Defence Instruments and related issues)
In the framework of the TTIP negotiations, the European Commission presented a draft text for the chapter on regulatory cooperation in May 2015. The objective of this chapter is to remove unnecessary obstacles to trade by improving cooperation between regulators, reducing unnecessary regulatory segmentation and improve effectiveness of regulations. The regulatory cooperation should not limit the ability of EU and Member states to regulate in public interest. The modalities of implementation of the future regulatory cooperation chapter in TTIP and the sectors covered are of great interest to civil society. The Round table enabled civil society representative to comment the proposals of the European Commission and to express their recommendations.