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Parliamentary questions
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27 February 2019
E-006097/2018(ASW)
Answer given by Ms Malmström on behalf of the European Commission
Question reference: E-006097/2018

The fight against tax evasion and avoidance is high on the Commission's agenda. It is a global issue that is best addressed by global solutions. With several countries, cooperation already takes place in the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD).

Following a proposal from the Commission, the Council agreed on an updated and stronger good governance tax clause for relevant agreements with third countries(1). The EU seeks provisions in free trade agreements which promote the implementation of relevant international standards.

The social and environmental clauses included in EU trade agreements, in the framework of the Trade and Sustainable Development chapters, provide for respect of core international labour and environmental standards by the parties to the agreements. These binding provisions include dedicated structures for monitoring and enforcement.

The Commission is responsible for monitoring compliance by trading partners with the commitments taken in the agreement. In case of non-compliance, the Commission can initiate government consultations as had been done in December 2018 under the agreement with South Korea, because the Korean government took insufficient steps to implement the commitments in relation to the respect of core labour standards.

In 2017, the Commission launched a discussion with EU Member States, the European Parliament, and other stakeholders on improving the implementation of Trade and Sustainable Development chapters in trade agreements.

The French Government contributed to that discussion. Based on the feedback received, the Commission services published in February 2018 a 15-point action plan(2) to make Trade and Sustainable Development chapters more effective.

(1)https://www.consilium.europa.eu/en/press/press-releases/2018/05/25/tax-fraud-standard-provision-agreed-for-agreements-with-third-countries/
(2)http://trade.ec.europa.eu/doclib/docs/2018/february/tradoc_156618.pdf

Last updated: 5 March 2019Legal notice