EPP Group in the International Trade Committee, strongly support an EU Trade and Sustainable Development -TSD

We, Members of the EPP Group in the International Trade Committee, strongly support an EU Trade and Sustainable Development (TSD) policy built as a cooperative instrument. The aim of the TSD Chapters in new generation EU FTAs is primarily to improve the situation on the ground in partner countries.

Clearly, a dialogue-based strategy complemented by EU action for capacity building, awareness raising and information sharing programs can take us a long way in projecting our sustainability standards abroad. A transparent and workable dispute settlement mechanism must accompany efforts to facilitate an effective implementation and enforcement of TSD objectives.

Efficient monitoring must include all relevant stakeholders; civil society, as well as economic operators, with a special focus on SMEs, and all relevant governmental agencies must play a stronger role in overseeing the implementation of TSD clauses.

In this context, we have sent a letter to Executive Vice President of the Commission and Trade Commissioner Valdis Dombrovskis, on behalf of the EPP Members in the International Trade Committee of the European Parliament.

Christophe Hansen, EPP INTA coordinator, has highlighted that: The TSD review is a timely exercise that follows the Commission’s Communication on the Trade Policy Review. The EPP Group sees the importance of such a re-evaluation and wishes to contribute to the elaboration of a strategy in this regard, while also not shying away from recognising already-achieved progresses.

Iuliu Winkler, EPP Vice-Chair in INTA, stated that: Cooperation and information sharing with the local level in the relevant partner countries can go a long way in improving the effectiveness of TSD Chapters. Sustainable development objectives aim to enforce EU value-based trade policy, having a positive impact on the realities on the ground in the societies of our partner countries.

Jorgen Warborn, EPP Vice-Coordinator in INTA, has underlined that: Regardless of the outcome of the TSD-reform process, any new policy in this area should only be applied to new or updated FTAs; we cannot rip up all existing FTAs to introduce an entirely new policy. We need to have stable and predictable trade relationships, without the risk of conflicts reducing market access. At the same time, we must have a forceful and efficient tool to ensure that the TSD-chapters are properly implemented.

Anna-Michelle Asimakopoulou, EPP Vice-Chair in INTA, has stated that: TSD clauses should remain tailored-made for each trading partner in question – we need to avoid a one-size-fits-all approach. Ultimately, trade is one of the EU’s key geostrategic strengths, and so we must ensure that the TSD policy review delivers a balanced and workable outcome.

 The text of the letter can be found below.