The future of EU trade policy


Since Commissioner Malström arrived in
office we have seen a very positive transformation. A hearty European Commission does negotiate trade agreements but also interacts with civil society. So we see much more transparency, access to specific texts – which is good –
and also we see an open door policy, which completely changed how we can as consumer organisation interact and defend the consumer interests. So what
should be done is actually to take this ‘trade for all’ strategy to the next level and make it really deliver to all, starting for instance with consumers. According to the figures of the European Commission, 36 million jobs in Europe is depending on trade. So we believe that the trade has the potential to deliver jobs and growth, and it does, but trade also needs to be properly regulated. Still a huge challenge for us is – and a worry for us – is labour standards I would say. There needs to be consequences if partners of the agreements are in breach of ILO core conventions. I believe the future of the EU trade policy is depending on the next Commission taking this seriously. This Commission has accomplished a lot on the bilateral front. For instance with Canada or Japan, we have very comprehensive agreements that include in the case of Japan an SME chapter and this is very important: it will allow more SMEs to benefit from trade opportunities in Japan. It’s also very ambitious in terms
of climate: it commits both Japan and Europe to stay in the climate Paris Agreement. The main challenges for the next Commission are with our two major trading partners: with the USA and China. Because in both cases we need to ensure that our relation maintains the same levels we have today. Well I think the Juncker Commission under the Presidency of Jean-Claude Juncker and Cecilia Malmström as the Trade Commissioner have really done a fantastic job over the
last five years. not only do they have a great record of achieving landmark deals such as with Canada, Mexico, Japan and now with Mercosur which I’m personally very pleased to see concluded, they have defended the multilateral system and they have managed to keep the debate on trade alive. The European Commission and the European Union will have to play a leading role in trying to defend the rules-based multilateral trading system.

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