Paolo Soro

Free and fair Trade

Commission unveils initiatives for a balanced and progressive trade policy.

Following the State of the Union speech by President Jean-Claude Juncker on 13 September, the Commission has today unveiled a weighty package of trade and investment proposals for a progressive and ambitious trade agenda.

In his address, President Jean-Claude Juncker stated: "I want us to strengthen our European trade agenda. Yes, Europe is open for business. But there must be reciprocity. We have to get what we give. Trade is not something abstract. Trade is about jobs, creating new opportunities for Europe's businesses big and small. Every additional €1 billion in exports supports 14,000 extra jobs in Europe. Trade is about exporting our standards, be they social or environmental standards, data protection or food safety requirements."

The Commission's proposals include the creation of a European screening framework to ensure that foreign direct investment does not compromise the EU's strategic interests when it comes to security and public order, as well as draft mandates to open trade negotiations with Australia and New Zealand.

In a move to make the EU's trade policy the most transparent and inclusive in the world, the Commission has decided to set up an Advisory Group on EU trade agreements and to publish as of today any new proposal for negotiating mandates.

Today's proposals include a draft mandate to start negotiations towards the creation of a multilateral investment court.

The proposal for a European framework to screen foreign direct investment will ensure that foreign investment remains a major source of growth in the EU while protecting the EU's essential interests.

The negotiations for trade agreements with Australia and New Zealand would build on the recent successful agreements with Canada, Vietnam, Singapore as well as Japan among others, expanding the alliance of partners committed to progressive rules for global trade.

The Commission's initiative to establish a multilateral court for the settlement of investment disputes would be yet another step towards a more transparent, coherent and fair approach to deal with company complaints under investment protection agreements.

The creation of an Advisory Group on EU trade agreements will allow the Commission to engage with civil society and gather more easily different perspectives and insights from a wide and balanced group of stakeholders, ranging from trade unions, employers' organisations, consumer groups and other non-governmental organisations.

Source: EU Commission News

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