Procedure : 2015/2105(INI)
Document stages in plenary
Document selected : A8-0220/2016

Texts tabled :

A8-0220/2016

Debates :

PV 04/07/2016 - 17
CRE 04/07/2016 - 17

Votes :

PV 05/07/2016 - 4.5

Texts adopted :

P8_TA(2016)0299

REPORT     
PDF 610kWORD 280k
28 June 2016
PE 576.919v02-00 A8-0220/2016

on a new forward-looking and innovative future strategy for trade and investment

(2015/2105(INI))

Committee on International Trade

Rapporteur: Tiziana Beghin

AMENDMENTS
MOTION FOR A EUROPEAN PARLIAMENT RESOLUTION
 EXPLANATORY STATEMENT
 OPINION of the Committee on Foreign Affairs
 OPINION of the Committee on Development
 OPINION of the Committee on Employment and Social Affairs
 OPINION of the Committee on Industry, Research and Energy
 OPINION of the Committee on the Internal Market and Consumer Protection
 OPINION of the Committee on Agriculture and Rural Development
 RESULT OF FINAL VOTE IN COMMITTEE RESPONSIBLE

MOTION FOR A EUROPEAN PARLIAMENT RESOLUTION

on a new forward-looking and innovative future strategy for trade and investment

(2015/2105(INI))

The European Parliament,

  having regard to its resolution of 26 November 2015 on the state of play of the Doha Development Agenda in advance of the 10th WTO Ministerial Conference(1),

   having regard to its recommendations to the Commission for the negotiations for the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership and the Trade in Services Agreement of 8 July 2015 and 3 February 2016, respectively;

  having regard to the Commission communication entitled ‘Trade for all – Towards a more responsible trade and investment policy’,

  having regard to the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, adopted at the UN Sustainable Development Summit in New York in 2015,

  having regard to its resolution of 7 July 2015 on the external impact of EU trade and investment policy on public-private initiatives in countries outside the EU(2),

  having regard to its resolution of 9 June 2015 on Strategy for the protection and enforcement of intellectual property rights in third countries(3),

  having regard to its resolution of 29 April 2016 on the second anniversary of the Rana Plaza building collapse and progress of the Bangladesh Sustainability Compact(4),

  having regard to the European Court of Auditors Special Report No 2/2014 entitled ‘Are preferential trade arrangements appropriately managed?’,

  having regard to the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) Guidelines on Multinational Enterprises and the International Labour Organisation (ILO) Tripartite Declaration of Principles Concerning Multinational Enterprises and Social Policy,

  having regard to the EU Regulation on illegally harvested timber, EU Non-Financial Reporting Directive, the EC Proposal for a Conflict Minerals Regulation, the UK Modern Slavery Act Transparency in Supply Chains Clause and the French Bill on duty of care,

  having regard to its resolution of 27 September 2011 on a new trade policy for Europe under the Europe 2020 strategy(5),

  having regard to its resolution of 17 February 2011 on Europe 2020(6),

  having regard to its resolution of 25 November 2010 on trade policy in the context of climate change imperatives(7),

  having regard to its resolution of 25 November 2010 on human rights and social and environmental standards in international trade agreements(8),

  having regard to its resolution of 25 November 2010 on corporate social responsibility in international trade agreements(9),

  having regard to the EU Guidelines to promote and protect the enjoyment of all human rights by lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex persons adopted by the Foreign Affairs Council of 24 June 2013,

  having regard to the European Council Conclusions of 7-8 February 2013, its Conclusions on Trade of 21 November 2014 and the Conclusions of the Foreign Affairs Council of 27 November 2015,

  having regard to the opinion of the Committee on International Trade to the report on transparency, accountability and integrity in the EU institutions,

  having regard to the Marrakesh Agreement establishing the World Trade Organisation,

  having regard to Article 21 of the Treaty on European Union (TEU),

  having regard to Articles 207, 208 and 218 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union (TFEU),

  having regard to Article 24.2 of the EU regulation 2015/478 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 11 March 2015 on common rules for imports,–  having regard to the principle of policy coherence for development as stated in the TFEU,

  having regard to Rule 52 of its Rules of Procedure,

–  having regard to the report of the Committee on International Trade and the opinions of the Committee on Foreign Affairs, the Committee on Development, the Committee on Employment and Social Affairs, the Committee on Industry, Research and Energy, the Committee on Internal Market and Consumer Protection and the Committee on Agriculture and Rural Development (A8-0220/2016),

A.  whereas trade is not an end in itself, but a means to achieve prosperity and equality, promote business opportunities, sustainable economic development, social progress and cultural understanding, increase employment and raise standards of living without increasing public spending;

B.  whereas there can be no protection without trade agreements, and no trade agreement without protections;

C.  whereas the common commercial policy (CCP) has undergone a profound change since the entry into force of the Lisbon Treaty in December 2009; whereas trade does not operate in isolation, but rather is linked to and dependent on many other polices; whereas negotiations on trade and investment agreements must go beyond simply cutting tariffs, as complex challenges lie today in regulatory matters and convergence on international standards;

D.  whereas – without doubting the contribution of free trade to economic growth – there has not been a serious debate in the European Union about the costs of free trade policies (such as industry adjustments: industrial closures, manufacturing job losses, delocalisation of entire industries to third countries, and increased imports) and the overall cost/benefit analysis of free trade policies; whereas the lack of such honest debate leads various stakeholders to question the logic and direction of EU trade policy and EU policies in general, and whereas an honest debate would prevent this unfortunate result;

E.  whereas global overcapacity in key industries and the resulting trade imbalance have begun eroding the trust that EU companies and industries have in the soundness of EU trade policy;

F.  whereas, in times of low economic growth, the contribution of foreign trade to the recovery of the European economy is of key importance in delivering concrete and measurable results and contributing to decent jobs and sustainable economic growth and equality in Europe and beyond;

G.  whereas the new-generation trade policy needs to respond to people’s concerns about transparency and participation, welfare and jobs, to businesses’ expectations of a global and interconnected economy, to the fight against poverty, and to the need to guarantee a more equitable distribution of the earnings from trade and to address new issues, such as digital trade and the key role of SMEs;

H.  whereas on-going trade negotiations have brought the EU’s trade policy to the public’s attention, and whereas more and more citizens are interested in trade policy and worried that European and national regulations and standards could be undermined by the CCP;

I.  whereas the Commission has made a clear pledge that no trade agreement will ever lower levels of regulatory protection, that any change to levels of protection can only be upward and that the right to regulate will always be protected;

J.  whereas doubts are being raised by EU citizens, companies and SMEs on whether large industry associations truly represent the interests of EU citizens, EU companies and generally, the European Union;

K.  whereas regulatory cooperation in trade agreements has to secure the highest level of protection of health and safety in line with the precautionary principle laid down in Article 191 TFEU;

L.  whereas transparency requires that EU institutions verify that positions submitted on behalf of EU industries actually reflect EU industry views;

M.  whereas the EU’s trade and investment policy must be bolstered not only by ensuring beneficial outcomes in terms of employment and wealth creation for citizens and businesses, but also by strengthening environmental and social rights and guaranteeing the highest level of transparency, engagement and accountability, by maintaining constant dialogue with businesses, consumers, social partners, all other relevant stakeholders and local and regional authorities, and by setting clear guidelines in the negotiations;

N.  whereas rules of origin determine the true extent of trade liberalisation, as they determine which goods actually benefit from free trade agreements, but are often missed in public trade policy debates and have not, until now, been subject to an analysis by Parliament;

O.  whereas, in its trade policy and the trade negotiations it conducts, the European Union must take into account the sensitivity of certain sectors in terms of market opening, particularly the agricultural sector;

P.  whereas by 2050 the EU-28 is projected to account for only 15 % of the world’s GDP, down from 23.7 % in 2013, and whereas since 2015, 90 % of world economic growth is generated outside the EU whereas emerging economies’ growth rate is slowing down considerably;

Q.  whereas the EU is currently the largest trading bloc in the world, controlling a third of world trade, and whereas by 2020 this is projected to decrease to about 26 %;

R.  Whereas the future trade agreements and negotiations should take into account and be consistent with the positions set out in Parliament’s resolutions on the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) and on the Trade in Services Agreement (TiSA);

S.  whereas the centre of wealth generation is clearly shifting eastwards, towards the Asia-Pacific Region with China, which has already surpassed Japan and will probably overtake the US to become the world’s largest economy in 2025; whereas this is indicates that emerging economies and developing countries are catching up with the group of industrialised countries and reaching the stage of mature economies;

T.  whereas other variables such as demographic changes will also have a negative impact on the EU’s position on the world trade scene; whereas the EU’s share of the world’s population is expected to decrease from 7.1 % in 2013 to 5.3 % in 2060;

U.  whereas it has been estimated that cross-border flows of capital, goods, services and data added an extra USD 7.8 trillion to the global economy in 2014, with the added value of data flows alone covering USD 2.8 trillion of that total, more than the USD 2.7 trillion estimated for trade in goods;

Adapting faster to quickly changing trends in global trade

1.  Welcomes the Commission’s new strategy ‘Trade for all – Towards a more responsible trade and investment policy’ and, in particular, the new focus on such elements as responsible management of supply chains, the global digital market, trade in digital goods and services, fair and ethical trade, and the social costs of trade liberalisation; believes firmly that any future trade policy must fight forms of protectionism, including the reduction of unnecessary non-tariff barriers to trade, and ensure new market access, especially for SMEs; recalls that trade liberalisation must be properly conducted to ensure sustainable development; regrets the Commission’s delay in presenting a new strategy, given that Parliament requested that a revised mid- and long-term trade strategy be presented by summer 2012;

2.  Believes strongly that, while services account for over 70 % of GDP in the EU, and will provide 90 % of future jobs, the EU manufacturing sector is a vital component for the reindustrialisation of Europe and, therefore, that the strategy should focus more on the role of the manufacturing sector in the CCP; urges the Commission to work with trade partners to ensure that their markets are more open to EU companies, in particular in transport, telecommunications and public procurement, whereas their foreign companies still benefit from a large access to the EU's internal market;

3.  Recognises that EU's trade policy is of utmost geopolitical and economic importance for Europe to shape globalisation, to strengthen international standards and to increase access to foreign markets; notes that international rules will be set by others, if we don't act now; Emphasises that, given the EU’s status as the largest economy in the world, sustainable and responsible trade is its strongest policy tool for both supporting European interests, investment and business, and promoting European values abroad, while fostering economic growth and investment, and creating jobs at home; supports the Commission’s aim to enhance synergies between trade and internal market policies, and recommends that these policies award priority to measures aimed at creating jobs;

4.  Welcomes the Commission’s pledge that no trade agreement will lower the achievements of European consumer protection standards, including in the context of the digital revolution; stresses that Parliament will continue to closely check that the ongoing negotiations respect this pledge;

5.  Stresses the link between the single market and EU trade policy, which should be fully compatible with each other and with the wider policies and values of the Union; believes that open, responsible and free global trade, based on effective, transparent and strong global rules, is essential to making the single market realise its full potential by functioning, growing and working for the mutual benefit of citizens, consumers and businesses, in particular small and medium-sized enterprises; recalls that the opening-up of trade leads to higher productivity, encourages increased external competitiveness and already supports almost one in seven jobs in the single market, as well as brings significant consumer benefits;

6.   Calls on the Commission to regularly update its trade and investment strategy and to publicly present every two years a detailed implementation report to Parliament, starting in 2017, to ensure that it delivers on its promises; calls on the Commission to include in these reports the progress of the ongoing trade negotiations and the implementation of the current trade agreements;

7.  Urges the Commission to expedite its procedures so that negotiated trade agreements can be referred to Parliament within a shorter period of time, thereby allowing them to be applied provisionally or entered into force more swiftly;

Transparent trade policy and giving a greater voice to citizens

8.  Welcomes the Commission’s increased transparency and openness at all stages of trade negotiations, and supports the Commission’s TTIP transparency initiative; acknowledges that, after a number of requests from Parliament, the Commission has enhanced the transparency of negotiations by providing all Members of the European Parliament and of the national parliaments access to classified negotiating documents, and by providing more information to stakeholders; recalls that enlarged access to classified information by Members of Parliament in the TTIP negotiations has strengthened parliamentary scrutiny, thereby allowing Parliament to assume its responsibility under the CCP even better; calls, therefore, for a widening of the Commission’s transparency initiative to extend full transparency, and the possibility for public scrutiny, to all ongoing and future trade negotiations, and to consult with partner countries with a view to encouraging the highest standards of transparency, to make sure that this is a reciprocal process in which the EU's negotiating position is not compromised and that agreement is reached on the aspired level of transparency of the negotiations in the scoping exercises; stresses that meaningful transparency can strengthen global support for rules-based trade;

9.  Calls on the Council to publish all previously adopted and future negotiating mandates without delay;

10.  Calls on the Commission to ensure a strong and balanced involvement of civil society and social partners, including through appropriate, public, online consultations and communication campaigns, in order to improve the content of the EU's trade policy and orient it to the defence of citizen's rights, thereby strengthening its legitimacy;

11.   Stresses that, in the context of the present debate on the scope of trade negotiations, regulatory cooperation must preserve the primary function of regulations to pursue the public interest; stresses that enhanced cooperation between regulators should facilitate trade and investment through the identification of unnecessary technical barriers to trade and duplicated or redundant administrative burdens and formalities, which disproportionately affect SMEs, while not compromising the technical procedures linked to fundamental standards and regulations, preserving European standards on health, safety, consumer, labour, social and environmental legislation and cultural diversity, and fully protecting the precautionary principle and the regulatory autonomy of national, regional and local authorities; recalls that corresponding mechanisms must be based on enhanced information exchange and improved adoption of international technical standards, and lead to increased convergence, whilst under no circumstances undermining or delaying the democratically legitimised decision-making procedures of any trading partner; encourages the use and creation of further international technical standards based on impact assessments, and all efforts aimed at ensuring the full engagement of our trading partners in international standardisation bodies; does not believe, however, that the lack of a common international standard should prevent mutual recognition of equivalence, where appropriate, or efforts towards common transatlantic technical standards;

12.  In order to ensure transparency and preserve EU trade interests, calls on the Commission, when conducting industry consultations on trade initiatives, to ensure that EU associations actually represent EU trade interests by reflecting the genuine interests of the national industries; stresses that, where possible, documents of the EU institutions should be published, as transparency is crucial to gaining public support for the CCP; calls on the Commission to implement the recommendations of the European Ombudsman of July 2015, with particular regard to access to documents for all negotiations;

Greater coherence between the EU’s commercial objectives and other aspects of its external policy on trade for development

13.   Recalls that the CCP is to be conducted in the context of the principles and objectives of the Union’s external action, as set out in Articles 21 TEU and 208 TFEU, and should promote the values upheld by the EU, as defined in Article 2 TEU; recalls that consistency between external policies and internal ones having an external dimension must be ensured; stresses that the EU has a legal obligation to respect human rights, and should foster the sustainable economic, social and environmental development of trading countries; is of the opinion that the EU has a responsibility to make all necessary efforts to foresee, prevent and tackle any potential negative impact caused by its CCP by regularly conducting ex-ante and ex-post human rights and sustainability impact assessments, and consequently reviewing trade agreements as necessary; recalls that only fair and properly regulated trade, if aligned with the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), could reduce inequality and foster development; recalls that the SDGs include several trade-related targets across a number of policy areas, one of the most concrete targets being to increase exports from developing countries with a view to doubling the LDCs’ share of global exports by 2020;

14.  Welcomes the large decrease, since 1990, in the number of people living in absolute poverty, as defined by the World Bank; notes however, that more needs to be done to catalyse both private and public investment in LDCs in order to provide the institutional and infrastructural frameworks that will allow them to take better advantage of the benefits offered by trade, and to help them diversify their economies and integrate into global value chains, permitting them to specialise in higher-value-added products;

15.  Takes note of the Commission's announcements to strengthen sustainable development and promote human rights, labour and social standards and environmental sustainability worldwide through its trade and investment agreements, but calls for determined efforts to fully implement and enforce the corresponding chapters in practice; shares the Commission's view that the EU has a special responsibility as regards the impact of its trade policies on developing countries and in particular on LDC;

16.  Considers migration to be one of the main challenges the EU is facing in the 21st century; emphasises that ensuring policy coherence of the EU’s trade and investment is fundamental in order to tackle the causes of migration; regrets that this has not been sufficiently reflected in the ‘Trade for All’ strategy;

17.  Considers that the objective of the Deep and Comprehensive Free Trade Areas (DCFTA) – in particular for partner countries undergoing an economic crisis – must be, above all, tangible and sustainable improvements to the living conditions of ordinary people;

18.  Stresses that provisions on human rights, social and environmental standards, commitments on labour rights based on the ILO's core conventions and principles of corporate social responsibility (CSR), including the OECD principles for multinational companies and the UN Principles on Business and Human rights, should be binding and must form a substantial part of EU trade agreements through enforceable commitments; calls on the Commission to include sustainable development chapters in all EU trade and investment agreements; considers that, in order to make these sustainable development provisions binding, a "three-step approach" needs to be implemented, with government consultations, domestic advisory groups and expert panels involving the ILO, and with, as a last resort, the general dispute settlement provision of the agreement used to address disputes with the possibility of financial sanctions; points out that labour and environmental standards are not limited to Trade and Sustainable Development Chapters, but must be effective throughout all areas of trade agreements;

19.  Underlines the importance of effective safeguard mechanisms in trade agreements; calls, at the same time, for the inclusion of an effective enforcement mechanism for labour and environmental rights to which the human rights clause does not apply; calls for a mechanism according to which Parliament is able to request that the Commission commence an investigation into violations by a third party of its obligations under an essential elements clause; calls on the Commission to establish a structured and depoliticised process whereby consultations with a partner on suspected violations of obligations under trade and sustainable development chapters must be launched according to clear criteria;

20.  Highlights the involvement of civil society in free trade agreements (FTAs) and the possibility of using more advanced media in order to facilitate civil society participation;

21.  Reiterates the importance of respecting European and international rules on the arms trade, notably the United Nations Arms Trade Treaty and the EU Code of Conduct on Arms Exports; stresses that EU trade policy is an instrument of economic diplomacy that could also make a contribution to tackling the root causes of terrorism; underlines that effective export control legislation is also a key aspect of EU trade policy; calls, in this regard, on the Commission to update EU dual-use export control legislation with a view to pursuing the EU’s strategic goals and universal values;

22.  Recalls that the ILO estimates that 865 million women around the world, if better supported, could contribute more robustly to economic growth; notes that women-owned businesses represent an underutilised lever to boost competitiveness, accelerate business and sustain growth; states that trade policy can have differing gender impacts across the various sectors of the economy and that more data on gender and trade is needed; takes note that the Commission does not address the gender dimension of trade agreements in its 'Trade for All' communication; calls on the Commission to step up its efforts to use trade negotiations as a tool for promoting gender equality worldwide, as well as to ensure that both women and men can take advantage of the benefits of trade liberalisation and be protected from its negative effects; believes that, to this aim, the Commission should make sure that the gender perspective is included, horizontally, in all future trade agreements, and that it should monitor the gender impact of the trade agreements in force;

23.  Welcomes the Commission's announcement that it intends to conduct a mid-term review of the General System of Preferences (GSP), assessing, in particular, the possibility of extending preferences to services within the system; stresses, at the same time, that the GSP, including the EBA and the GSP+ schemes, are tools that enable fundamental values to be upheld and that need to be implemented and monitored effectively;

Transparent global value chains (GVCs) respecting fundamental values and standards worldwide

24.  Acknowledges that the internationalisation of the world’s production system has contributed to new openings for economic development and an employment-based path out of poverty for hundreds of millions of people; recalls that, according to the ILO, around 780 million active women and men are not earning enough to be lifted out of poverty; underlines that the expansion of global value chains (GVCs) has created job opportunities, but that the weak enforcement of existing labour laws and occupational safety standards – introduced to protect workers from exhaustive working hours and unacceptable conditions – in sourcing countries remains a pressing issue; notes that GVCs have also propelled some supplier firms to ignore labour laws, reallocate their economic activities outside the EU, engage workers in unsafe and unacceptable conditions, demand exhaustive working hours and deny workers their fundamental rights; recalls that these practices create unfair competition for suppliers that are compliant with labour laws and international labour and environmental standards, and for governments that want to improve wages and living standards; calls on the Commission to study the impact of the rise of GVCs and to present concrete proposals to improve conditions in them in close cooperation with the ILO and the OECD; emphasises that the EU’s further integration into GVCs must be driven by the dual principles of safeguarding the European social and regulatory model, and securing and creating sustainable and equitable growth, and decent jobs, in the EU and for its partners; acknowledges that the globalisation of value chains increases the import content of both domestic output and exports, thereby substantially increasing the cost of protectionist measures;

25.  Believes that trade policy must contribute to ensure a transparent production process throughout the value chain, as well as compliance with fundamental environment, social and safety standards; invites the Commission to promote initiatives on due diligence standards for supply chains moving beyond the existing non-binding obligations; welcomes the Commission’s desire to work closely with the ILO and the OECD to develop a global approach to improving working conditions, especially in the garment sector; underlines the importance of identifying and assessing new sectorial or geographic opportunities for additional responsible supply chain initiatives; looks forward to the Commission’s upcoming communication on CSR

26.  Urges the Commission to advance the UNCTAD comprehensive Investment Policy Framework for Sustainable Development

27.  Demands that Aid for Trade and technical assistance is focussed on the empowerment of poor producers, micro and small enterprises, cooperatives and women, and on gender equality, in order to boost their benefits from trading in local and regional markets;

28.  Calls on the Commission to develop legislation with the aim of prohibiting imports of goods produced with any form of forced labour or modern slavery and, in the meantime, to strengthen import and supply chain controls on ethical grounds;

29.  Stresses that better protection of the entire spectrum of intellectual property rights (IPR) and more effective enforcement is of fundamental importance for further integration into GVCs;

30.  Calls on the Commission to support all developing countries in making full and effective use of the flexibilities built into the TRIPS Agreement, recognised and affirmed by the Doha Declaration on the TRIPS agreement and Public Health adopted on 14 November 2001, with a view to ensuring that they are able to provide access to affordable essential medicines under their domestic public health programmes; reminds the Council, in this regard, to meet its commitments to the Doha Declaration by ensuring that the Commission explicitly guarantees access to medicine when negotiating pharmaceutical-related TRIPS-plus provisions within the framework of future bilateral and regional trade agreements with developing countries, or when developing countries engage in accession to the WTO; welcomes the Commission's support of the extension request for pharmaceutical intellectual property by LDCs, but regrets the final WTO TRIPS Council decision to grant it only for 17 years;

31.  Welcomes the attention given by the Commission to fair trade in its "Trade for all" communication, and calls upon the it to deliver, with priority, on its commitments to use the existing structure for implementation of FTAs to promote fair trade, to promote fair trade schemes to small producers in third countries through the EU delegations and to develop awareness-raising activities in the EU, such as an "EU City for Fair and Ethical Trade" award;

32.  Believes that new technologies and the internet provides new tools for traceability of products along the supply chain;

33.  Points to the role of banking services in the development of trade and investment; calls on the EU to support action to foster access to banking services in developing countries;

34.  Welcomes the Commission's announcement that it intends to modernise origin rules, as those rules constitute an ever increasing barrier to trade where trade patterns are dominated by global value chains; stresses that the modernisation of origin rules must be a priority in all FTAs that the Union negotiates; calls on the Commission, in particular, to work for flexible origin rules, including undemanding requirements relating to added value and changing Harmonised System subcodes;

Making the monitoring, evaluation and follow-up of existing agreements a key priority for EU trade policy

35.  Welcomes the Commission proposal for an enhanced partnership with Parliament and stakeholders for the implementation of trade agreements; emphasises that Parliament needs to be involved and fully informed, in a timely manner, at all stages of the procedure, including by means of a systematic consultation with the Parliament prior to the drafting of negotiating mandates; points out that the Commission is under an obligation to inform Parliament about its activities concerning the implementation, monitoring and follow-up of trade and investment agreements;

36.  Calls on the Commission not to request provisional application of trade agreements, including trade chapters of association agreements, before Parliament gives its consent; recalls that it would seriously undermine Parliament’s rights and create potential legal uncertainty vis-à-vis the agreement’s other signatory and the economic operators concerned; recalls and welcomes the Trade Commissioner's commitments in this regard, but strongly counsels this arrangement to be formalised in the new inter-institutional agreement;

37.  Considers that, in the case of mixed agreements, the already tested practice, whereby an agreement is only applied provisionally after Parliament has granted consent while awaiting national parliaments' ratification, is the best balance of democratic oversight and efficiency;

38.  Insists that the monitoring, evaluation and follow-up of existing agreements become a key priority of the CCP; calls on the Commission to re-allocate adequate resources in order to enable DG Trade to better monitor trade agreements that need to be implemented considering the growing negotiating agenda; asks the Commission to establish specific indicators, in order to ensure the monitoring of the implementation of trade agreements and, to publicly and regularly present a substantial and detailed implementation report to Parliament indicating, for instance, the performance of EU industries and the impact of the agreements on different sectors and their respective market shares;

39.  Calls on the Commission to improve the quality and the accuracy of both ex-ante and ex-post assessments based on the reviewed methodology; stresses the need always to submit a deep and comprehensive sustainability impact assessment for trade policy initiatives, in particular in light of the Ombudsman's recent recommendation with regard to complaint 1409/201/JN on the EU-Vietnam FTA; stresses that the assessments should encompass at least: sensitive economic sectors; human, social and environmental rights; and agriculture and local productions in outermost regions (OR); expresses its concern over the lack of interim and ex-post assessments, and over the poor quality of those that are carried out, as demonstrated in the European Court of Auditors Special Report 02/2014; insists that higher-quality interim and ex-post evaluations be carried out in respect of all trade agreements in order to allow policymakers, stakeholders and European taxpayers to assess whether trade agreements have achieved the intended results; asks the Commission to provide data on the impact of the trade agreements that have been concluded with special regard to SMEs, the creation of decent jobs, human rights and the environment, including in partner countries, and to put forward additional measures to ensure that LDCs benefit from our trade policies;

40.  Calls on the Commission to present a report to Parliament on dual-pricing and other price-distorting practices of major EU trading partners, with special focus on energy resources, indicating the economic impact of such practices on the EU economy and the steps that the Commission has taken – at bilateral, multilateral and WTO level – to eradicate such practices; calls on the Commission to do its utmost to abolish the practice of dual-pricing and other price-distorting practices in its trade relations with all its trading partners;

Furthering global trade via a multilateral approach within the WTO

41.  Stresses that the multilateral trading system embodied in the WTO remains the best option for guaranteeing an open, fair and rules-based system that takes account of, and balances, the many varying interests of its members; reiterates that Parliament is a strong advocate of the multilateral agenda; welcomes the conclusion of the negotiations on the Trade Facilitation Agreement, which will contribute to simplifying and modernising customs procedures in many countries, making it easier, in turn, for developing countries to integrate into the global trading system; calls for the swift and correct implementation of the agreement by all parties;

42.  Notes that limited improvements were achieved at the 10th WTO Ministerial Conference in Nairobi in 2015; recognises the differences among WTO members on how to proceed as regards the Doha Round, including the need to consider new approaches to solve outstanding issues in the respect of the different interests within developing countries and among LDCs, while acknowledging increased responsibility for emerging economies with a view to the conclusion of the Doha round; welcomes the EU commitment to the EUR 400 million target in funding over five years to support developing countries, especially LDCs, in their efforts to implement the Trade Facilitation Agreement; notes the interest of some WTO members in starting to address new negotiating areas, such as – but not limited to – investment, state-owned enterprises, competition and digital trade; believes that the outcome of the Nairobi Ministerial Conference provides an opportunity to give new life to the WTO’s negotiating function; urges the Commission to take the initiative in reforming and strengthening the WTO, also by strengthening coordination with the ILO and other environment- and human rights-related UN agencies in order to ensure greater inclusiveness, effectiveness, transparency and accountability; recalls the crucial role of Aid for Trade (AfT) in trade-related capacity building and technical assistance to developing countries and LDCs; calls, in this regard, on the EU and its Member States to commit to increase AfT, enabling developing countries to benefit from a larger share of the value added in GVCs; calls on the Commission to address the issue of fair and ethical trade in the upcoming revision of the AfT strategy;

43.  Considers plurilateral negotiations, preferably within the WTO (such as the Information Technology Agreement (ITA), the Environmental Goods Agreements (EGA) and the Trade in Services Agreement (TiSA)), to be merely a second-best option, offering an opportunity to revive progress at WTO level, but only by maintaining an open door so that interested WTO members can join; believes firmly that, where possible, such agreements must be of sufficient ambition to be applied on a most favoured nation basis among all WTO Members, and should act as building blocks for future multilateral agreements; emphasises that trade policy should also be used as a tool for increasing the competiveness of environmentally beneficial products, both as regards their use and their production methods; stresses the importance of multilateralising the ‘green goods’ initiative and of considering whether trade agreements could provide premium preferences for genuine environmental goods; underlines that TiSA could be an opportunity to revive progress on trade in services at WTO level;

44.  Calls for a strong and effective parliamentary dimension of the WTO in order to enhance the transparency of the organisation, and to strengthen and guarantee the democratic legitimacy of global trade; urges the WTO to make full use of the Parliamentary Conference on the WTO, ensuring that parliamentarians have access to all the information they need to carry out their oversight role effectively and contribute meaningfully to trade policies;

A tailor-made approach in the choice of future FTA negotiations

45.  Calls on the Commission to focus, in a balanced way and with due respect for reciprocity and mutual benefits, on the conclusion of the on-going trade negotiations, and calls on the it to assess the possible cumulated impact, in particular for those sensitive products affected by quotas or liberalisation under ongoing negotiations or trade agreements already concluded; asks that the actual and potential impacts of concluded trade agreements are assessed and communicated in a better way before new FTA negotiations are launched, with a view to finding an appropriate balance between protecting sensitive agricultural sectors and promoting the offensive interests of the Union inherent to it as one of the largest agri-food exporters, i.a. by envisaging appropriate transitional periods and quotas for, and in a few cases the exclusion of, the most sensitive products; reminds the Commission to carry out scoping exercises and impartial and unprejudiced ex-ante sustainable impact assessments, taking into account Union interests before drafting negotiating mandates;

46.  Believes that it is essential, first and foremost, to ensure that trade negotiations that have successfully been concluded are ratified as swiftly as possible; calls, in particular, for the conclusion of deals with Canada and Singapore to ensure the opening up of two large markets that will be vital for the future interests of EU businesses; calls for an informed debate across the EU during political discussions as votes are held in the European Parliament and in national legislatures;

47.  Underlines the high importance of pursuing in all EU trade negotiations sensitive and offensive interests such as promoting investment, removing unnecessary non-tariff barriers to trade, recognising and protecting geographical indications (GIs) and labour rights, improving access to public procurements (particularly in the context of the current talks on the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) and the EU-Japan FTA), ensuring decent and quality jobs, integrating SMEs in global value chains, excluding public and audio-visual services, and legally securing the right to regulate when negotiating FTAs as part of ambitious balanced and comprehensive packages;

48.  Insists that trade negotiations follow a tailor-made regional trade strategy and that full consistency with regional integration is ensured, in particular within Asia, Africa and Latin America, which have been identified by the Commission as regions that, without undermining the key role played by the EU-US as strategic partnership, are crucial to EU economic interests; calls, in this regard, on the Commission immediately to start negotiations on an investment agreement with Taiwan; recalls that the EU and Latin America are natural allies, with a combined population of one billion people generating a quarter of global GNP; points out that the potential of this partnership has been insufficiently exploited; welcomes the fact that the Commission’s new trade and investment strategy puts a key focus on Latin America; calls on the Commission to take advantage of the current momentum in the Mercosur trade negotiations to reach a comprehensive, balanced and ambitious agreement; supports the modernisation of the agreements with Mexico and Chile; asks for further impetus to be given to negotiating FTAs with both Australia and New Zealand, and recalls the importance of developing EU trade relations with India, given the huge potential of this market; urges the Commission to re-energise negotiations with Malaysia, and to start negotiations with Indonesia as soon as possible following the conclusion of preparatory discussions for a Comprehensive Economic Partnership;

49.  Underlines that, in the context of current challenges, special focus should be put on the post-Cotonou framework, stressing its link with the human rights clauses in the EPAs, on the support for the creation of a Continental Free Trade Area in Africa, as booster of stability, regional integration, local growth, employment and innovation; recalls the need for the EU to ensure stability in its Eastern and Southern neighbourhoods, and calls for greater trade and economic integration, achieving, in this regard, a full, swift and appropriate implementation of the DCFTAs with Ukraine, Georgia and the Republic of Moldova, and concrete progress with Tunisia, Morocco and Jordan;

50.  Calls on the Commission to fully involve national businesses in all stages of trade negotiations, also by engaging in consultations with national associations, in parallel to consultations with EU umbrella associations, and to accompany the text of a negotiated trade agreement with a list clearly indicating the outcome of the negotiations for the different sectors and the reasons of the choices made by the Commission;

Opposition to the granting of Market Economic Status (MES) to China and the need for effective trade defence instruments (TDIs)

51.  Stresses that further trade liberalisation measures – which could lead to unfair trading practices and competition between countries on all sort of non-tariff barriers (NTBs), labour rights and environmental and public health standards – require the EU to be able to respond even more effectively to unfair trading practices and to ensure a level playing field; underlines that trade defence instruments (TDIs) must remain an indispensable component of the EU’s trade strategy and enable greater competitiveness by re-establishing, where necessary, the conditions for fair competition; recalls that the current EU trade defence legislation dates back to 1995; stresses that the Union’s trade defence system needs to be modernised urgently without being weakened; points out that EU trade defence law must be more effective, more accessible for SMEs and adapted to today’s challenges and trade patterns, that investigations must be shorter and that transparency and predictability must be increased; regrets that the TDI modernisation proposal is blocked in the Council, which has been unable to deliver on this essential piece of legislation; regrets that the Commission does not refer at all to the need for TDI modernisation in its ‘Trade for All’ communication; urgently calls on the Council to break the stalemate over TDI modernisation on the basis of Parliament's position, especially given that China is now firmly requesting recognition of MES;

52.  Reiterates the importance of the EU’s partnership with China, in which free and fair trade and investment play an important role; is convinced that, until China meets all five criteria required to qualify as a market economy, the EU should use a non-standard methodology in its anti-dumping and anti-subsidy investigations of Chinese imports when determining price comparability, in accordance with, and giving full effect to, those parts of Section 15 of China’s Accession Protocol which provide room for the application of a non-standard methodology; calls on the Commission to make a proposal in line with this principle, and recalls the need to coordinate closely with other WTO partners on the issue;

53.  Calls on the Commission not to take any measures in this regard without a prior, deep and comprehensive impact assessment addressing all the possible effects and consequences on employment and sustainable growth in all EU sectors, as well as the possible effects and consequences on the environment, growth and the environment;

Greater coherence between the EU’s trade and industrial policies and better IPR protection

54.  Considers that more needs to be done to address European industries’ needs in a comprehensive way, and that the EU manufacturing sector is too often placed behind the services sector; emphasises that trade policy must ensure a level playing field for European industry, provide access to new and emerging markets and facilitate upward convergence on standards while reducing double certification; calls on the Commission to ensure coherence between the EU’s trade and industrial policies, and to promote the development and competitiveness of European industry with particular reference to the reindustrialisation strategy;

55.  Emphasises the central role that rules of origin (RoO) play in determining which industries benefit or lose from EU FTAs; recognising that RoO have, as yet, not been fully analysed by Parliament, asks the Commission to prepare a report identifying the changes it has made in the last ten years, at 4-digit CN level, to their preferred FTA default negotiating position on RoO, explaining the reasons for any changes made;

56.  Is of the opinion that the lack of effective enforcement of IPRs puts at risk the survival of whole sectors of European industry; stresses that counterfeiting results in job losses and undermines innovation; reiterates that adequate IPR protection and effective enforcement are the bedrock of a global economy; welcomes the Commission’s commitment to increasing the protection and enforcement of IP rights in FTAs, and at the WTO, and to working with partners to combat fraud; supports the Commission in its objective of protecting the entire spectrum of IPRs, including patents, trademarks, copyright, designs, geographical indications, marking of origin and pharmaceuticals;

Opening up of new market opportunities for EU service providers and recognition of professional qualifications as an essential element of the EU trade strategy

57.  Recalls that the EU plays a leading role in the services sector; stresses that the opening up of new market opportunities must be an essential element of the EU’s international trade strategy; stresses that including services in trade agreements is of the utmost importance, as it gives opportunities to European companies and domestic employees while also excluding, in line with Articles 14 and 106 TFEU and Protocol 26, current and future services of general interest and services of general economic interest from the scope of application of any agreement and irrespective of whether they are publicly or privately funded; requests that the Commission promote and include the recognition of professional qualifications in trade agreements, thereby opening up new opportunities to European companies and employees; calls specifically for consideration to be given to incorporating certain benefits of the ICT Directive in trade and investment agreements in exchange for such recognitions;

58.  Shares the Commission’s view that the temporary movement of professionals has become essential to increasing business internationally and remains an offensive interest of the EU; stresses that a labour mobility chapter should be included in all EU trade and investment agreements; recalls, however, that Mode 4 commitments must only apply to the movement of highly skilled professionals (such as persons with a university or equivalent master's degree or in a senior managerial position) for a specific purpose, for a limited period of time, and under precise conditions stipulated by the domestic legislation of the country where the service is performed, and by a contract respecting such domestic legislation in compliance with Article 16 of the Services Directive while ensuring that nothing will prevent the EU and its Member States from maintaining and improving labour standards and collective agreements;

59.  Welcomes the Commission’s intention to use trade policy to tackle new forms of digital protectionism and to set rules for e-commerce and cross-border data flows in compliance with EU data protection and privacy law and safeguarding fundamental rights; believes that much more needs to be done to create a climate favourable to e-commerce and entrepreneurship within the EU reducing monopolies and abuses of monopolistic positions in the telecom market, geo-blocking practices and concrete redress solutions; stresses that ensuring regulatory cooperation, reducing on-line fraud, mutual recognition and harmonisation of standards in the digital trade sector is vital; calls on the Commission to put forward a new model for e-commerce chapters, fully exempting the existing and any future EU legal framework for the protection of data in all trade negotiations, having the aim to ensure the exchange of data in full compliance with data protection rules in place in the country of origin of the data subject; calls for more co-operation between enforcers, especially on unfair commercial practices carried on-line;

The essential nature of the digital economy to future global trade

60.  Notes the growing and future importance of the digital economy, not only in Europe, but worldwide, with an estimated 3.3 billion internet users globally, making up 40 % of the world's population; believes that trends such as cloud computing, mobile web services, smart grids and social media are leading to a radically transformed businesses landscape; underlines that EU trade policy must keep up with digital and technological trends;

61.  Requests that the Commission, together with WTO partners, not only establish a working group on digital trade at the WTO, which should examine in detail the current framework's suitability for electronic commerce, looking at specific recommendations, clarifications and adjustments, but also look at establishing a new framework for the trade facilitation in services, building on best practice stemming from the implementation of the Trade Facilitation Agreement;

Support for the Commission in its fight against corruption

62.    Is aware that the inclusion of provisions relating to financial services in trade agreements has raised concerns regarding their potential negative effects in terms of money laundering, tax evasion and tax avoidance; urges the Commission to fight against corruption as a major non-tariff barrier in developed and developing countries; insists that trade and investment agreements offer a good opportunity to increase cooperation in the fight against corruption, money laundering, tax fraud and evasion; considers that commitments based on international standards, country-by-country reporting obligations and an automatic exchange of information should be included in appropriate international agreements to underpin further liberalisation of financial services;

63.  Considers the connection between trade and investment agreements and double taxation treaties to be seriously underexplored and calls on the Commission to study closely any effects such tools may have on each other and on wider policy coherence in the fight against tax evasion;

A forward-looking trade policy considering the specific needs of SMEs

64.  Emphasises that a forward-looking trade policy must pay greater attention to the specific needs of micro and SMEs and ensure that they can fully benefit from trade and investment agreements; recalls that only a small share of European SMEs are able to identify and exploit the opportunities that globalisation and trade liberalisation offer; notes that only 13 % of European SMEs have been internationally active outside the EU while accounting for one third of EU exports; supports initiatives to facilitate the internationalisation of European SMEs, and insists, therefore, on the advantages of a chapter on SMEs in all future FTAs; believes that new ways need to be explored on how to better assist SMEs in their sale of goods and services abroad; stresses that SMEs need more tailor-made support, starting in Member States, facilitated access to user-friendly online information about trade measures, and specific and clear guidebooks about the opportunities and benefits offered by each past or future trade agreement concluded by the EU;

65.  Asks the Commission to address SMEs’ needs horizontally in all chapters of trade agreements, including, but not limited to, through the creation of online single points of entry where SMEs can learn about relevant regulation, something of particularly crucial relevance to cross-border service providers in terms of licencing and other administrative requirements; points out that, where appropriate, these tools should also cover new market access opportunities for SMEs, particularly as regards low-value tenders; stresses the need to cut trading costs for SMEs through streamlining customs procedures, reducing unnecessary non-tariff barriers and regulatory burdens, and simplifying rules of origin; believes that there is a role to be played by SMEs in helping the Commission to shape these tools to ensure that trade agreements meet their needs; encourages the Commission to maintain close dialogue with SME representatives at all stages of trade negotiations;

66.  Stresses that faster access for European SMEs to anti-dumping procedures is key to protecting them from unfair trade practices; stresses the need for a reform of the WTO multilateral framework in order to better involve SMEs and to ensure faster settlement of disputes;

67.  Calls on the Commission to assess and improve the existing tools regarding subsidiarity, non-duplication and complementarity in relation to respective Member State programmes and European value added before developing further stand-alone actions to support the internationalisation of SMEs; stresses that the Commission should submit an independent evaluation of all the existing programmes to Parliament;

Investment

68.  Highlights the importance of inward and outward investment to the EU economy and the need for the EU's business to be protected when they invest in third markets; recognises, in this context, the Commission´s efforts with respect to the new Investment Court System (ICS); stresses the need of further debate with stakeholders and Parliament on ICS; stresses that the system must be in compliance with the EU legal order, the power of the EU courts in particular, and, more specifically, EU competition rules; shares the ambition of establishing, in the medium term, a multilateral solution to investment disputes; regrets that the ICS proposal does not include an investors' obligation provision;

69.  Calls on the EU and its Member States to follow UNCTAD's comprehensive Investment Policy Framework for Sustainable Development recommendations with a view to stimulating more responsible, transparent and accountable investments;

70.  Notes the requirement in the Commission’s ‘Investment Plan for Europe’ to boost investment within the EU, and considers trade strategies to be an essential means of achieving this goal; notes that the European Fund for Strategic Investments lacks an external dimension; asks that the Commission only consider the creation of an external arm after careful analysis of the performance of the Fund and an examination of its utility, given the existence of lending by the European Investment Bank, the European Bank of Reconstruction and Development and the action of the European Development Fund; emphasises that these funds must contribute to sustainable development and decent jobs, tackle poverty and abate the root causes of migration;

71.   Recalls that EU investment policy, especially when involving public money, must contribute to the realisation of the SDGs; recalls the need to enhance the transparency and accountability of development finance institutions (DFIs), public-private partnerships (PPPs) to effectively track and monitor the money flows, debt sustainability and the added value for the sustainable development of their projects;

Trade and Agriculture

72.   Stresses that Europe’s high standards concerning the environment, food safety, animal welfare and social conditions are of great importance for EU citizens, notably in terms of public morals and informed consumer choices, takes the view that trade agreements should promote fair competition to ensure that EU farmers fully benefit from tariff concessions and are not economically disadvantaged compared to their counterparts in third countries; underlines the need to guarantee that EU standards on food safety and animal welfare are protected by preserving the precautionary principle, sustainable agriculture and high level of traceability and product labelling and by ensuring that all imports are complying with applicable EU laws; notes the wide differential in animal welfare standards internationally; underlines, in this regard, the need to regulate the export of living farm animals in compliance with the existing EU Law and the standards set down by the World Organisation for Animal health (OIE) ;

73.  Considers the opening of new markets for EU agricultural production, such as dairy products, meat and live animals and fruits and vegetables, to be important in the context of the current farming crisis; stresses the need to identify new market outlets with a high purchasing potential;

74.  Considers it necessary to enhance the added value of farming and to run promotion campaigns with a view to opening up new markets; stresses above all that it is essential to strengthen EU-level quality schemes, since they ensure the best possible brand image for EU products on the world market, providing indirect benefits for European farming as a whole;

75.   Stresses the need for tighter import controls at borders and for more stringent inspections by the Food and Veterinary Office relating to production and marketing conditions in countries exporting to the EU, in order to ensure compliance with Union rules;

76.   Stresses the importance of progress regarding health, phytosanitary and other non-tariff barriers to agricultural trade, in all free trade negotiations, especially regarding the red lines drawn by the EU that might have implications for the health of consumers;

77.   Recalls the importance of GIs in promoting traditional European agri-food products, protecting them from harmful free-riding practices, guaranteeing consumers´ rights and conscious choices, and safeguarding rural producers and farmers, with particular reference to SMEs; notes that the protection and recognition of geographical indicators in third countries is potentially of great value to the entire EU agri-food sector, and considers that all trade agreements should include protective measures and actions to combat counterfeiting;

Better access to public contracts for European economic operators

78.  Calls for the elimination of the current imbalances as regards the degree of openness of public procurement markets between the EU and other trading partners; calls on the Commission to go even further in seeking an ambitious and more reciprocal opening up of international public procurement markets, while guaranteeing the exclusion of services of general economic interests and making sure states remain free to adopt social and environmental standards, such as most economically advantageous tender (MEAT) criteria, for procurement procedures; believes that public procurement policies should be in line with ILO Convention 94; stresses that European economic operators, both corporate companies and SMEs, need better access to public contracts in third countries through instruments such as the Small Business Act and the elimination of the current level of asymmetries; recalls, in this regard, that the EU is one of the most open markets for public procurement among all WTO members;

79.  Notes the Commission’s amended proposal for a regulation on the access of third-country goods and services to the Union’s internal market in public procurement, which is an important tool for ensuring a level playing field in the market access of third countries, and strongly regrets that Member States governments have been holding up the original proposal; calls on the Commission to achieve positive reciprocity in access to public procurement markets with major trading partners;

Equal access to resources for fair competition on the global market

80.  Emphasises that natural resources are limited and should be used in an economically and environmentally sustainable way, giving priority to recycling; recognise the great dependence of developing countries and especially LDCs on natural resources; recalls that European trade policy needs to pursue a consistent, sustainable, comprehensive and cross-policy strategy concerning raw materials as already outlined by Parliament in its resolution on a new trade policy for Europe under the Europe 2020 strategy;

81.  Emphasises the need to move towards a low-carbon economy, and therefore encourages the Commission to enhance cooperation on energy research, development and innovation activities aiming at the promotion of the diversification of energy suppliers, routes and sources, the identification of new energy trading partners and the creation of increased competition, lowering prices for energy consumers; stresses that the development of renewables and the promotion of energy efficiency are crucial to increasing energy security and reducing import dependency; highlights the importance of including both provisions in free trade agreements, with the aim of building sustainable energy partnerships and enhancing technological cooperation, especially in the field of renewables and energy efficiency and safeguards, and of preventing carbon leakage in order to meet the objectives outlines at COP21.

The fight against illegal trade in wildlife and wildlife products

82.  Remains deeply concerned by the recent surge in wildlife crime and its attendant illegal trade, which is not only having a devastating impact on biodiversity and species numbers, but also presents a clear and present danger to livelihoods and local economies, notably in developing countries; welcomes the EU's commitment to eliminate the illegal wildlife trade as part of the EU's response to the UN's 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, in particular Sustainable Development Goal 15, which notes the need not only to ensure the end of poaching and trafficking of protected species of flora and fauna, but also to address both demand and supply of illegal wildlife products; expects, in this regard, the Commission, after a period of reflection including consultation with Parliament and the Member States, to consider how best to include provisions on the illegal wildlife trade in all future EU trade agreements;

Better customs cooperation and the fight against illicit trade at the EU’s borders

83.  Emphasises that better, harmonised and more efficient customs procedures in Europe and abroad help facilitate trade and meet respective trade facilitation requirements, and help prevent forgeries and illegal and counterfeit goods from entering the single market, which undermines EU economic growth and seriously exposes EU consumers; welcomes the Commission’s intention to enhance cooperation between customs authorities; calls once more on the Commission and the Members States to set up a unified EU customs service for a more effective application of customs rules and procedures throughout the customs territory of the EU;

84.  Stresses that the Commission, in negotiating trade agreements, should seek to persuade trading partners to adopt single windows for customs and border compliance, if necessary accompanied by capacity-building aid for trade funds, as appropriate;

85.  Emphasises that adequate communication and strong coordination are required to ensure that tariff elimination is accompanied by appropriate technical, institutional and policy measures to ensure continued security of trade;

86.  Asks the Commission to consider key performance indicators in order to assess the performance of customs administration at home and abroad; regrets that, at present, very little public data is available; points out that it would be useful to understand how customs and other border agencies are performing at home as well as among trade partners, on an ongoing basis, with a view to sharing best practices and coordinating trade facilitation specific interests within the European institutions – taking account of the provisions of Article 13 of the WTO Trade Facilitation Agreement;

87.  Asks the Commission and the Member States to launch an open debate about the possible shift of custom authorities from national to EU level;

Delivering tangible benefits to consumers

88.  Acknowledges that trade agreements have the potential to largely benefit consumers, notably by increasing competition, lowering prices, providing greater choice and boosting innovation; calls on the Commission, in order to unleash such potential, to push strongly in all negotiations for a limitation to geoblocking practices, for a reduction in international roaming fees, and for a reinforcement of passenger rights;

89.  Calls for measures to support consumers in the context of cross-border trade in goods and services with third countries, for example in the form of online help desks that provide information or advice in connection with disputes;

90.  Insists that consumers must be given accurate information on the characteristics of the products traded;

Trade for all: flanking policies in open trade and investment policies needed to maximise the gains and minimise the losses

91.  Shares the OECD’s view that ‘open and fair trade’ and investment policies need a range of effective flanking policies in order to maximise the gains and minimise the losses of trade liberalisation for the EU and for third countries' populations and economies; urges the Members States and the Commission to do much more to complement trade opening by means of a range of supporting measures in order to ensure sustainable development – such as in the areas of public services and investments, education and health, active labour market policies, research and development, infrastructure development and adequate rules to guarantee social and environmental protection;

92.  Calls on the Commission and the Member States to conduct thorough, ex-ante and ex-post analyses on the basis of sector-by-sector and regional impact assessments for relevant trade agreements and legislative files, anticipating possible adverse impacts on the labour market within the EU, and finding more sophisticated ways of introducing mitigating measures to redevelop industries and regions that lose out, with a view to achieving a more equitable distribution and ensuring broad-based gains from trade; emphasises that, in this respect, the European Structural and Investment Funds, and, in particular, both the European Regional Development Fund and the European Social Fund, can play an outstanding role; points out that the European Globalisation Adjustment Fund could also be an important instrument, if reformed and shaped in a way that it is adequately funded for providing assistance to EU companies and producers affected by trade-related sanctions vis-à-vis third countries, and assistance to employees of SMEs directly hurt by the effect of globalisation;

°

°  °

93.  Instructs its President to forward this resolution to the Council, the Commission, the European Economic and Social Committee the Committee of the Regions, to UNCTAD and to the WTO.

(1)

Texts adopted, P8_TA(2015)0415.

(2)

Texts adopted, P8_TA(2015)0250.

(3)

Texts adopted, P8_TA(2015)0219.

(4)

Texts adopted, P8_TA(2015)0175.

(5)

OJ C 56E , 26.2.2013, p. 87.

(6)

OJ C 188E , 28.6.2012, p. 42.

(7)

OJ C 99E , 3.4.2012, p. 94.

(8)

OJ C 99E , 3.4.2012, p. 31.

(9)

OJ C 99E , 3.4.2012, p. 101.


EXPLANATORY STATEMENT

Trade negotiations such as ACTA, TTIP, CETA and TiSA have brought the attention of the public to focus on European trade policy. Many EU citizens equate globalisation with job losses and are worried that European regulation and standards could possibly be undermined by the Union´s trade and investment policy. At the same time the contribution of foreign trade to the development of the European economy is of fundamental importance.

Today, the EU is the wealthiest economy worldwide. The economic importance of the EU will decline: by 2050, the EU-28 will represent only 15% of the world’s GDP, down from 23.7% in 2013. The centre of wealth generation is shifting eastwards, towards the Asia-Pacific-Region and the demographic development will also have a negative impact on the EU´s position in the world trade scene.

An effective, comprehensive and forward-looking trade and investment strategy is therefore of vital importance for the European Union.

The Commission proposed on 14 October 2015 a new trade and investment strategy for the European Union, entitled ‘Trade for All: Towards a more responsible trade and investment policy’. The rapporteur welcomes that the Commission adopted a new trade and investment strategy as Parliament already demanded in 2011 in its resolution ‘on a New Trade Policy for Europe under the Europe 2020 Strategy' a forward-looking and innovative future strategy on trade and investment taking into account the new challenges of the EU. The rapporteur regrets that the strategy has not an important focus on the manufacturing sector and on trade challenges to tackle migration.

As the attention of the public to trade agreements has increased and more citizens are worried with regards globalisation, your rapporteur stresses the importance that trade policy in the 21st century needs to respond to people`s concerns. We need more transparency, engagement and accountability towards all stakeholders involved. Additionally, the rapporteur would like to remind that the access to certain information strengthens Parliamentary scrutiny and, therefore, calls on the Commission to extend the transparency Initiative to all future negotiations as well as calling on the Council to publish all negotiating mandates.

In its Trade for All-strategy the Commission is setting the clear objective to quickly increase trade liberalisation and to integrate the EU even further into the global value chains. Therefore, it is of fundamental importance to your rapporteur that the Union’s trade defence system needs to be modernised urgently especially as China is firmly requesting the recognition of Market Economic Status (MES).

Given the external challenges the EU is facing in the 21st century (such as migration) for the rapporteur the coherence between the Union’s commercial objectives and other aspects of its external policy is a priority. We need to shape trade and investment agreements in such a way that they are powerful means to strengthen sustainable development, promote human rights, labour and social standards and environmental sustainability worldwide.

As the global trade scene is changing quickly the rapporteur calls on the Commission to regularly up-date the trade strategy and to present a detailed annual implementation report in order to enable the European citizens to verify if the Commission is delivering on the promises made.


OPINION of the Committee on Foreign Affairs (18.4.2016)

for the Committee on International Trade

on a new forward-looking and innovative future strategy on trade and investment

(2015/2105(INI))

Rapporteur: Tokia Saïfi

SUGGESTIONS

The Committee on Foreign Affairs calls on the Committee on International Trade, as the committee responsible, to incorporate the following suggestions into its motion for a resolution:

1.  Takes note of the EU’s new strategy on trade and investment entitled ‘Trade for All - Towards a more responsible trade and investment policy’ and stresses the fundamental role of trade in the areas of peace, sustainable growth, development and employment; recognises therefore the EU’s growing responsibility to contribute to achieving these goals in its global trade and external relations;

2.  Recalls the need for consistency in the EU’s external policies and with other policies with an external dimension, such as trade, development, human rights, agricultural, environmental, energy and migration policy, and to pursue the objectives set out in Article 21 of the Treaty on European Union (TEU); stresses that EU trade policy, and trade and investment agreements are an integral part of the EU’s external policy and calls in this connection on the European Union and its Member States to adopt an EU Global Strategy on Foreign and Security Policy; underlines in this context the central coordinating role of the Vice-President/High Representative, the European External Action Service (EEAS) and EU delegations in third countries which can play an important facilitation role on the ground, in order to promote respect for EU fundamental values and rights; calls on the Member States to speak with one voice;

3.  Recalls that trade policy contributes to protecting and promoting the values upheld by the EU, as defined in Article 2 of the TEU, such as democracy, the rule of law, respect of human rights, fundamental rights and freedoms, solidarity, equality, the respect of human dignity and the protection of the environment and social rights; considers that upholding these values would make it possible to end bad practices, and that trade policy will be effective if all the major players in world trade abide by the same rules, including on public procurement; underlines the need for the EU trade policy to be consistent with and contribute to the Sustainable Development Goals in the context of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development; welcomes the Commission’s announcement regarding the incorporation in trade agreements of tools aimed at fighting corruption and will remain attentive to the measures proposed;

4.  Stresses that all EU trade agreements should contain binding human rights clauses, which allow the EU to enforce and promote universal values in third countries; notes that political will is needed to be able to actually use these clauses and hold third countries to commitments made; calls for improved consultation with Parliament in the early stages of the negotiation process for trade and investment agreements, for effective implementation of human rights clauses and for reporting back to Parliament on the human rights aspects of the agreements;

5.  Stresses that the GSP, GSP+ and EBA systems can be essential tools which enable these values to be upheld and insists on the importance of their effective implementation and monitoring; welcomes the publication of the Commission’s first biennial status report on the implementation of the GSP+ and the previous dialogue on this report with Parliament before its publication;

6.  Stresses that EU trade policy is an instrument of economic diplomacy that could also make a contribution to tackling the root causes of terrorism;

7.  Emphasises the need for trade to be sustainable and responsible; underlines the importance of implementing chapters on sustainable development in trade agreements which will enable tough social and environmental standards to be put in place throughout the supply chain, in accordance with existing international conventions and, notably in cooperation with the International Labour Organisation (ILO); calls on the Commission to take greater account of these issues when carrying out ex-ante and ex-post evaluations of such agreements;

8.  Welcomes the Commission’s announcements of several initiatives supporting fair trade and encourages the Commission to continue to propose such measures in the framework of the common trade policy;

9.  Points out that trade negotiations should not lead to the watering down of European standards and must protect European citizens and safeguard our social choices and the right to regulate; stresses that trade agreements and EU trade policy are a key tool to strengthen the global rules-based trading system, which is increasingly coming under pressure; notes that this is especially crucial for the EU, given its heavily trade-dependent economy; underlines that the EU needs to aim towards setting high global standards through its trade policy;

10.  Calls on the Commission to ensure the proper implementation of trade agreements by increasing the involvement of Parliament, stakeholders and civil society in a transparent way and making sure that the benefits of concluded agreements are actually felt by all sides; stresses the importance of placing greater emphasis on mutual compliance with and implementation of the agreements; calls in particular on the Commission to ensure commitments on human rights and core labour rights;

11.  Recalls that multilateral trade negotiations, the strengthening of the multilateral trade architecture, and engagement with the WTO, remain a priority for the EU, which is also conducting bilateral negotiations in an ambitious spirit of reciprocity and mutual benefit; welcomes the achievement of an agreement during the WTO Ministerial Conference in Nairobi under the Doha Round; regrets its lack of scope and ambition but underlines the chance to move beyond the Doha Development Agenda, and the possibility to finally make the WTO more reflective of the current global economic situation, and the respective economic weight of its member countries; also asks the Commission to develop specific trade strategies tailored to certain regions, particularly Asia, in the light of the recent conclusion of the Trans-Pacific Partnership;

12.  Reiterates the importance of respecting European and international rules on the arms trade, notably the United Nations Arms Trade Treaty and the EU Code of Conduct on Arms Exports;

13.  Underlines that effective export control legislation is also a key aspect of EU trade policy; calls in this regard on the Commission to update the EU dual-use export control legislation, in order to pursue the EU’s strategic goals and universal values;

14.  Recalls the need for the EU to ensure stability in its neighbourhood and calls for greater economic integration between its eastern and Mediterranean neighbours, particularly by fostering trade relations;

15.  Encourages the Commission to continue and to step up its efforts in the fields of communication, transparency and access to negotiation documents and to improve coordination and information exchange between the Commissioners and the Directorates-General, the EEAS, the Council, Parliament, as well as the consultation with social partners and civil society; stresses that the improved access to documents related to the TTIP negotiations should be equally granted for documents related to all other ongoing negotiations of trade agreements.RESULT OF FINAL VOTE IN COMMITTEE ASKED FOR OPINION

Date adopted

11.4.2016

 

 

 

Result of final vote

+:

–:

0:

46

3

7

Members present for the final vote

Lars Adaktusson, Michèle Alliot-Marie, Nikos Androulakis, Francisco Assis, Petras Auštrevičius, Amjad Bashir, Bas Belder, Goffredo Maria Bettini, Klaus Buchner, James Carver, Fabio Massimo Castaldo, Lorenzo Cesa, Javier Couso Permuy, Andi Cristea, Arnaud Danjean, Georgios Epitideios, Knut Fleckenstein, Eugen Freund, Iveta Grigule, Richard Howitt, Sandra Kalniete, Tunne Kelam, Afzal Khan, Eduard Kukan, Ilhan Kyuchyuk, Ryszard Antoni Legutko, Arne Lietz, Barbara Lochbihler, Sabine Lösing, Andrejs Mamikins, Ramona Nicole Mănescu, David McAllister, Demetris Papadakis, Alojz Peterle, Tonino Picula, Kati Piri, Andrej Plenković, Cristian Dan Preda, Jozo Radoš, Sofia Sakorafa, Jaromír Štětina, Miguel Urbán Crespo, Ivo Vajgl, Elena Valenciano, Geoffrey Van Orden, Hilde Vautmans, Boris Zala

Substitutes present for the final vote

Antonio López-Istúriz White, Tokia Saïfi, Jean-Luc Schaffhauser, Helmut Scholz, György Schöpflin, Igor Šoltes, Bodil Valero

Substitutes under Rule 200(2) present for the final vote

Beatriz Becerra Basterrechea, Claudiu Ciprian Tănăsescu


OPINION of the Committee on Development (16.3.2016)

for the Committee on International Trade

on a new forward-looking and innovative future strategy on trade and investment

(2015/2105(INI))

Rapporteur: Jan Zahradil

SUGGESTIONS

The Committee on Development calls on the Committee on International Trade, as the committee responsible, to incorporate the following suggestions into its motion for a resolution:

1.  Emphasises that open trade must be an engine for regional integration and economic growth, sustainable development, wealth and job creation; recalls that the countries most integrated into the world economy are also among the richest and that trade has helped to lift hundreds of millions of people out of poverty; recognises, however, that not all developing countries have enjoyed such gains and that the least developed countries (LDCs) in particular remain marginalised in global trade; welcomes, in this context, the Commission’s new approach which involves using trade and investment agreements as a leverage to promote values like sustainable development, human rights, fair and ethical trade and the fight against corruption in the long run;

2.  Recalls that only fair and properly regulated trade, if aligned with Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), could have the potential for development;

3.  Welcomes, in particular, the Commission’s pledge that no trade agreement will ever lower levels of regulatory protection, that any change in terms of levels of protection can only be upward and that the right to regulate will always be protected;

4.  Calls on the Commission to strengthen the binding enforceability of SDGs and to include comprehensive sustainable development chapters in all trade agreements;

5.  Stresses that the importance of the potential contribution of trade policy to sustainable development was recently reaffirmed in the outcome document of the Addis Ababa Action Agenda and in the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development; recalls that the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) include several trade-related targets across a number of policy areas, one of the most concrete targets being aimed at increasing exports from developing countries with a view to doubling the LDCs’ share of global exports by 2020; invites the Commission to make use of the full potential for cooperation with developing countries in order to reinforce their market economies;

6.  Welcomes the fact that the communication ‘Trade for All’ reaffirms the principle of policy coherence for development, and aims at a more responsible trade and investment policy, including by reinforcing corporate social responsibility initiatives and due diligence across the supply chain, and thereby contributing to the SDGs and inclusive growth in developing countries; welcomes in addition the commitment to undertake an in-depth analysis of the potential effects of new free trade agreements on LDCs; regrets that the communication ‘Trade for All’ does not make any reference to the Cotonou Agreement, which expires in 2020; calls on the EU to engage in a broad consultation and dialogue process, including with our ACP countries, about the post-Cotonou framework;

7.  Believes that human rights should take precedence over the provisions of trade and investment agreements;

8.  Acknowledges that the EU’s trade and investment policy must respond to consumer’s concerns by reinforcing corporate social responsibility initiatives and due diligence across the production chain; urges the Commission however and the Member States to move beyond the existing non-binding voluntary approach and to strive instead for mandatory due diligence;

9.  Welcomes a renewed commitment to inclusive multilateralism and the advances made at the World Trade Organisation’s Ministerial Conference in Nairobi, in particular in the area of agriculture (e.g. the elimination of trade-distorting agriculture export subsidies, and progress on market access for the LDCs); welcomes, in this context, the EU commitment to EUR 400 million target in funding over 5 years to support and provide technical assistance to developing countries, especially LDCs, in their efforts to implement the WTO Trade Facilitation Agreement; underlines also the necessity of enriching the Doha Round by e-commerce and digital trade agenda, in order to share technological advances more quickly and more equally with developing countries while helping to get around the lack of infrastructures especially in remote rural areas;

10.  Recognises the increasing diversity among developing countries as regards their integration into the multilateral trade system and the respective benefits thereof; calls for specific regimes for LDCs in particular, whose share of global trade is marginal; welcomes, therefore, the revision of the Generalised Scheme of Preferences (GSP);

11.  Recalls the crucial role of Aid for Trade (AfT) in trade-related capacity-building, technical assistance, business support policies and regional integration; calls on the EU and its Member States to commit to increase AfT support for developing countries and LDCs in particular, with the aim of supporting local micro and small enterprises, production diversification, technology transfer, development of domestic production capacity, transport and other infrastructure, women’s empowerment and cooperatives in the upcoming revision of its AfT strategy; notes, however, that without serious efforts by the countries directly concerned and significant improvements in governance, trade cannot – in isolation – help countries to overcome development constraints; emphasises, in this regard, the importance of focusing on pursuing targets under the SDG Goal 16 in particular in the areas of good governance and fiscality; calls on the Commission to address fair and ethical trade in the upcoming revision of its AfT strategy, as announced in the communication ‘Trade for All’;

12.  Points to the role of banking services in the development of trade and investment; calls on the EU to support action to foster access to banking services in developing countries;

13.  Recalls that Economic Partnership Agreements (EPAs) can be a key development instrument for helping to alleviate poverty and contribute to the promotion of human rights in the long run, as well as to further regional economic integration; calls on the EU to establish specific monitoring structures in the EPAs dedicated to sustainable development and human rights that ensure the proper and transparent involvement of civil society organisations and trade unions; invites the EU to encourage the signing of the final EPAs; calls on the Commission to include strong and comprehensive sustainable development chapters, which are effectively implemented and enforced, in the EU’s trade and investment agreements;

14.  Recalls that EU investment policy, especially when involving public money, must contribute to the realisation of the SDGs; recalls the need to enhance the transparency and accountability of development finance institutions (DFIs), public-private partnerships (PPPs) to effectively track and monitor the money flows, debt sustainability and the added value for the sustainable development of their projects;

15.  Calls on the Commission to improve policy coherence for development in trade policy in particular as it relates to public health; asks the Commission to support developing countries in making effective use of the flexibilities built into the Agreement on Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS) and recognised by the Doha Declaration on the TRIPS Agreement and Public Health adopted on 14 November 2001, in order to be able to provide essential medicines at affordable prices under their domestic public health programmes; calls on the Commission to provide full transparency of the content of its intellectual property related assistance programmes for low- and middle- income countries and ensure that parallel assistance on intellectual property does not undermine other health-related development projects;

16.  Emphasises that in line with SDG Goal 16 it is of utmost importance to foster good governance structures throughout the world in order to create fair access to justice for all and to build effective and accountable institutions at all levels; underlines that trade agreements and foreign direct investments could be a decisive tool in setting the right incentives to ensure the realisation of this goal; stresses, in this context, that corruption is a major non-tariff barrier in developed and developing countries; welcomes the Commission’s intention to include ambitious anti-corruption provisions in all future trade agreements; invites the Commission to introduce new measures aimed at reinforcing the legal security of investments;

17.  Emphasises that in order for developing countries to take full advantage of trade and investment opportunities, it is necessary to continue supporting domestic revenue mobilisation (DRM) reforms in developing countries so as to help improve their capacity to increase revenues and to tackle tax evasion and avoidance by supporting the design of efficient, effective, fair and transparent tax systems in line with the principles of good governance;

18.  Calls on the EU and its Member States to follow the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development’s (UNCTAD) Comprehensive Investment Policy Framework for Sustainable Development recommendations to stimulate more responsible, transparent and accountable investments.

RESULT OF FINAL VOTE IN COMMITTEE ASKED FOR OPINION

Date adopted

15.3.2016

 

 

 

Result of final vote

+:

–:

0:

14

6

4

Members present for the final vote

Louis Aliot, Nicolas Bay, Ignazio Corrao, Doru-Claudian Frunzulică, Nathan Gill, Maria Heubuch, Teresa Jiménez-Becerril Barrio, Linda McAvan, Norbert Neuser, Maurice Ponga, Cristian Dan Preda, Lola Sánchez Caldentey, Elly Schlein, Pedro Silva Pereira, Eleni Theocharous, Paavo Väyrynen, Bogdan Brunon Wenta

Substitutes present for the final vote

Juan Fernando López Aguilar, Louis-Joseph Manscour, Paul Rübig, Jan Zahradil, Joachim Zeller

Substitutes under Rule 200(2) present for the final vote

Michèle Rivasi, Estefanía Torres Martínez


OPINION of the Committee on Employment and Social Affairs (26.5.2016)

for the Committee on International Trade

on a new forward-looking and innovative future strategy on trade and investment

(2015/2105(INI))

Rapporteur: Joachim Schuster

SUGGESTIONS

The Committee on Employment and Social Affairs calls on the Committee on International Trade, as the committee responsible, to incorporate the following suggestions into its motion for a resolution:

1.  Welcomes the general thrust of the future trade strategy presented by the Commission in its communication of 14 October 2015 to the European Parliament, the Council, the European Economic and Social Committee and the Committee of the Regions entitled ‘Trade for all. Towards a more responsible trade and investment policy’(1), and in particular its focus on a value-based approach aiming at safeguarding the European social and regulatory model at home and using trade agreements and preference programmes as levers to promote, around the world, European values such as sustainable development, human rights, fair and ethical trade and the fight against corruption; encourages the Commission to expand and modernise the EU’s free trade agreements with non-EU countries in line with a value-based approach, given that EU exports provide roughly 31 million jobs in the Union, or in other words, every seventh job in the EU depends on exports; calls on the Commission to ensure a global leadership role for the EU in the development of a new fair-trade agreement culture; underlines the importance of ambitious, balanced and comprehensive agreements which address long-standing unnecessary market barriers to the benefit of consumers, citizens, employees and businesses;

2.  Emphasises that future trade agreements should take into account Parliament’s resolutions on the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) and on the Trade in Services Agreement, which remain valid for future trade negotiations, in particular as regards the exclusion of Services of General Interest and Services of General Economic Interest (which include but are not limited to water, health, social services, social security systems and education) and the protection of workers’ rights; reiterates that the quality, availability, affordability and accessibility of these services and non-discriminatory and equal access to them must not be compromised by trade agreements;

3.  Insists that the Commission should engage in a genuine democratic debate with Parliament and should consult the social partners and civil society to a greater extent in order to improve clarity in, lay down the framework for, and guarantee the transparency of the negotiating mandate for all trade agreements; calls for transparent negotiation and for the European Parliament, the national parliaments, the European social partners and civil society to be enabled to contribute to the negotiating process in a meaningful way;

4.  Considers that negotiations on further market liberalisation should bear in mind the need for EU-wide cooperation in order to maintain working conditions in accordance with the relevant laws on labour and social matters and collective agreements existing in the EU;

5.  Encourages the negotiation of trade agreements on a multilateral rather than a bilateral level;

6.  Stresses the need for an effective mechanism to protect European investment abroad; calls for an assessment to evaluate the existing framework in order to ensure efficiency and correct implementation;

7.  Insists, in line with the Interinstitutional Agreement on Better Lawmaking agreed recently by the European Parliament and the Member States, that the Commission must ensure that impact assessments, including sustainability impact assessments, are conducted in the course of trade negotiations in order to evaluate the social, economic, environmental and human rights impact of future trade agreements while distinguishing the impacts on different sectors, regions and nations; calls for the publication of statistical projections in order to ensure that each agreement contributes fairly and significantly to job creation; calls on the Commission to monitor the impact of trade agreements, allowing for both ex ante and ex post evaluation; demands that the social partners and civil society be given the opportunity to participate in the design and implementation of sustainability impact assessments; recalls that the future trade strategy must also respect regional production structures in developing countries in cases where the sustainable impact assessment indicates that these might be endangered as a consequence of trade agreements;

8.  Calls on the Commission to ensure that possible adjustment costs in the EU labour market are countered by timely intervention on its part in support of the sectors, regions or Member States affected; considers that this support could be provided by means of EU funding, including an adapted European Globalisation Adjustment Fund (EGF) with an adequate budget;

9.  Believes that the Commission’s proposal to use the EGF to tame the adverse impacts resulting from international trade agreements is not satisfactory. given the fund’s low financial capacity and its lack of competence to prevent and fight the negative effects of globalisation;

10.  Stresses that it is crucial to extend the prerogatives of the EGF and thus provide a mechanism for risks anticipation and adaptation of sectoral, regional and national production structures in cases where the sustainable impact assessment indicates that these might be endangered as a consequence of trade agreements;

11.  Calls on the Commission to guarantee fair competition in the case of third-country service suppliers of trade partners entering the EU labour market, by ensuring that all workers, irrespective of their home country, enjoy the same labour rights as nationals of their host country and that the principle of equal treatment and non-discrimination is respected; considers this to be without prejudice to more favourable provisions in legislation or agreements in the home country; emphasises that the provisions of social and employment legislation at both Union and national levels, as well as of collective agreements, must be guaranteed;

12.  Calls for safeguards to ensure as a matter of principle that trade agreements will not, under any circumstances, serve to weaken, circumvent, or invalidate Member States’ or EU standards in the following areas: workers’ rights, working conditions including wages, social security, social inclusion and social protection, health and safety in the workplace, professional training, professional qualifications, free movement of workers and pensioners, social dialogue, and anti-discrimination in the workplace and on the employment market; urges the Commission to ensure that the right to industrial action is not undermined by companies using workers from third countries during negotiations on collective agreements and labour disputes; calls on the Commission to ensure that labour standards are excluded from the concepts of non-tariff barriers and technical barriers; requests the Commission to ensure the utmost transparency and to be vigilant over ensuring a balanced involvement of stakeholders in regulatory cooperation bodies, and also to make sure that regulatory cooperation does not restrict the right of governments and the European Parliament to legislate in the public interest and does not lead to regulatory chill or to the weakening of labour standards, including health and safety standards;

13.  Notes the high levels of outward mobility from EU Member States of highly skilled professionals; believes that trade policies should remain cautious with regard to labour mobility; calls on the Commission to ensure that GATS Mode 4 commitments only apply to the movements of highly-skilled professionals, such as persons who hold a master’s degree from a university or equivalent institution or are employed in a senior managerial role, for a specific purpose, for a limited period of time and under precise conditions stipulated by the domestic legislation of the country where the service is performed and by a contract respecting such domestic legislation; underlines the importance of monitoring the GATS Mode 4 category of service providers in order to avoid abuse and exploitation of third-country workers; requests, in any event, that trade agreements contain clauses maintaining the legal obligation of foreign service providers to comply with EU and Member States’ social and labour legislation;

14.  Calls for Parliament’s Committee on Employment and Social Affairs to be informed without delay, so as to allow an opportunity for discussion and decision-taking, should any provisions of trade agreements be such as to jeopardise or conflict with standards in the areas referred to in paragraph 12;

15.  Notes with satisfaction that recent EU trade agreements include a specific chapter on sustainable development; expects the EU to play a leading role in reaching the objective that all parties should ratify, implement and enforce the eight fundamental ILO conventions; urges the Commission to promote further labour provisions, in particular the ILO’s Decent Work Agenda aiming at improving levels of protection of labour; stresses that labour and environmental standards should not be limited to the trade and sustainable development chapters, but should also be included under other chapters of trade agreements, such as those concerning investment, trade in services, regulatory cooperation and public procurement; calls on the Commission to ensure that implementation of and compliance with labour provisions is subjected to an effective monitoring process, involving social partners and civil society representatives; considers that disputes arising regarding labour provisions should be subject to a dispute settlement mechanism, including the possibility of imposing deterrent measures, with due consideration by the ILO supervisory bodies and with reference to ILO jurisdiction; urges the Commission to include, firstly, a revision clause establishing a mechanism that would allow a party to leave the agreement or to suspend or reverse commitments, particularly in the event of infringements of social standards and human and labour rights and, and secondly, a social safeguard clause ensuring that the dismantling of social and labour legislation is prevented;

16.  Believes that, with particular regard to maintaining high social standards in international trade, appropriate international and extrajudicial mediation centres subject to the principles of transparency and democratic scrutiny must be developed;

17.  Recommends that the Domestic Advisory Groups (DAGs), whose tasks include dealing with infringements of social clauses under trade agreements and failures to uphold labour law and social standards, should receive sufficient financing to enable them to work effectively and should have a membership ensuring a balanced representation of labour and business organisations as well as other civil society organisations, that joint meetings of the DAGs from both sides of the trade agreement should be institutionalised, that each DAG should have its own secretariat, and that the DAGs should have the possibility of using more advanced media in order to facilitate participation by civil society;

18.  Emphasises the need to increase the efficacy of Member States’ labour and social inspectorates, to step up cooperation between the Member States and the European Platform against Undeclared Work, to increase the inspectorates’ resources where needed in order to allow an effective monitoring of labour standards in line with ILO recommendations, to ensure that labour law is applied, to guarantee essential protection for workers in exercising their professions, and to prevent or limit all infringements wherever possible in this area;

19.  Stresses the importance of measures for due diligence in the global production chain and for these to be sustainable and transparent; underlines the importance of encouraging measures of a voluntary nature in the area of corporate social responsibility (CSR), and calls on the Commission to propose legislation, where appropriate and feasible, to improve due diligence in the global production chain; notes, however, that SMEs could be exempted from compulsory CSR initiatives; takes the view that CSR requires a fair tax policy and is therefore incompatible with tax evasion strategies;

20.  Emphasises that trade defence instruments make it possible to tackle all forms of unfair competition; calls on the Council and the Commission, accordingly, to unblock the reform of trade defence instruments, while not weakening them, with a view to making them speedier, more effective and more accessible for SMEs; stresses the need to ensure that any changes to EU anti-dumping law retain the ability of the Union to take timely, necessary and effective action in order to tackle anti-competitive market practices on the part of its trading partners and ensure that EU companies continue to operate in a global level playing field; notes that China does not fulfil, for the time being, the EU’s five technical criteria for defining a market economy, and therefore opposes granting China market economy status (MES), given the need to tackle unfair competition practices on the part of China;

21.  Deplores the fact that only 13 % of European SMEs have been operating internationally outside the EU, and points out that many of them are being prevented from doing so by non-tariff barriers; expects that particular obstacles faced by SMEs are taken into account when negotiating new agreements, in order to ensure that SMEs can benefit from new trade agreements;

22.  Calls on the Commission to step up ex ante coordination between its respective services dealing with trade and with employment and social affairs;

23.  Calls on the Commission to ensure that governments have the opportunity to adopt socially and environmentally responsible procurement policies; stresses that procurement provisions should not prevent governments from addressing societal and environmental needs and that agreements must not restrict the ability to make social demands, as stated in the new EU directives on public procurement; believes, in addition, that public procurement policies should be in line with ILO Convention 94 regarding labour clauses in public contracts;

24.  Calls on the Commission to make only very limited commitments regarding future provisions concerning services provided digitally or by electronic means, so as not to undermine the high labour standards and working conditions now existing in the EU in the context of an increasingly digitalised economy.

RESULT OF FINAL VOTE IN COMMITTEE ASKED FOR OPINION

Date adopted

24.5.2016

 

 

 

Result of final vote

+:

–:

0:

42

8

0

Members present for the final vote

Laura Agea, Tiziana Beghin, Vilija Blinkevičiūtė, Enrique Calvet Chambon, Ole Christensen, Martina Dlabajová, Lampros Fountoulis, Elena Gentile, Arne Gericke, Thomas Händel, Marian Harkin, Danuta Jazłowiecka, Agnes Jongerius, Jan Keller, Kostadinka Kuneva, Jean Lambert, Jérôme Lavrilleux, Jeroen Lenaers, Javi López, Morten Løkkegaard, Thomas Mann, Dominique Martin, Anthea McIntyre, Joëlle Mélin, Georgi Pirinski, Marek Plura, Terry Reintke, Maria João Rodrigues, Claude Rolin, Anne Sander, Siôn Simon, Jutta Steinruck, Romana Tomc, Ulrike Trebesius, Marita Ulvskog, Tatjana Ždanoka

Substitutes present for the final vote

Michèle Alliot-Marie, Maria Arena, Amjad Bashir, Lynn Boylan, Rosa Estaràs Ferragut, Paloma López Bermejo, Edouard Martin, Joachim Schuster, Csaba Sógor, Helga Stevens, Ivo Vajgl, Tom Vandenkendelaere, Gabriele Zimmer

Substitutes under Rule 200(2) present for the final vote

Fernando Ruas

(1)

COM(2015)0497


OPINION of the Committee on Industry, Research and Energy (7.4.2016)

for the Committee on International Trade

on a new forward-looking and innovative future strategy on trade and investment

(2015/2105(INI))

Rapporteur: Theresa Griffin

SUGGESTIONS

The Committee on Industry, Research and Energy calls on the Committee on International Trade, as the committee responsible, to incorporate the following suggestions into its motion for a resolution:

1.  Welcomes the Commission’s ‘Trade for All: Towards a more responsible trade and investment policy’ initiative; notes that 90 % of world economic growth over the next 10-15 years will come from outside the EU and that large emerging economies will play a major role in this; considers trade and investment in goods and services to be of critical importance in driving the EU’s economic growth by opening up new export markets for EU industry, creating high-quality jobs and sustainable, environment-friendly growth and boosting EU competitiveness; underlines therefore the need for Europe to have a solid forward-looking strategy that builds on a coherent industrial policy, research and innovation and the digital agenda;

2.  Emphasises that trade and investment policies must be aimed at opening up new market access for EU businesses in order to contribute to sustainable economic growth and to the creation of high-quality jobs with decent working conditions, and that these policies should be drawn up in such a way as to be in line with a reindustrialisation strategy based on fair competition and reciprocity and to ensure a level playing field for EU industries;

3.  Notes the growing importance of services for international trade and the stronger interlinkages between services, manufacturing and foreign direct investment as global value chains become ever more significant; believes that this interconnectivity has to be considered in all trade negotiations for European industry to enjoy the full benefits;

4.  Stresses the importance of SMEs and start-ups to trade and investment, in parallel to their strategic industrial importance, given that there are more than 600 000 SMEs which engage in trade outside the EU, accounting for one third of EU exports, employing more than 6 million people and representing the majority of job creation in Europe; stresses the importance of transition periods to allow industry and SMEs to adjust to the impacts of new trade agreements; calls for future trade agreements to systematically devote specific chapters to SMEs; calls on the Commission to provide user-friendly information on trade opportunities for SMEs and to provide them with support to benefit from these opportunities, including through EU structural funds;

5.  Recalls that trade policy is a tool for promoting sustainable development, including through the promotion of high work, environmental, social and labour standards, as defined by the ILO Conventions, which should be incorporated into all trade agreements, and that their adequate application should be closely monitored; welcomes the Commission’s call to promote an ambitious and innovative sustainable development chapter in all trade and investment agreements;

6.  Stresses the importance of maintaining the high standards in terms of health and safety legislation and environmental standards in EU industry and manufacturing; calls on the Commission to ensure that trade agreements consolidate these standards and help create a level playing field internationally;

7.  Calls on the Commission to take action to ensure compliance with European standards in trade with third countries;

8.  Highlights the EU’s leadership in climate action and considers it crucial that ambition is maintained in this regard; stresses, therefore, the importance of including safeguards in trade agreements that prevent carbon leakage, given that the displacement of efficient EU processes to less sustainable systems could lead to increases in overall global emissions, which would be counterproductive to meeting the objectives outlined at COP21;

9.  Stresses the need to prevent the EU’s trading partners from engaging in anti-competitive practices, including social or environmental dumping, in particular the dumping of cheap products in Europe, and protectionist and discriminatory measures that put EU standards at risk and destabilise European industry, and the need for the EU to take all necessary measures to defend itself against unfair trading practices; is concerned, in this context, about the possible granting of market economy status (MES) to China, and asks the Commission for a detailed and comprehensive impact assessment evaluating the possible scenarios in the context of the MES for China, paying special attention to its effects on the EU’s manufacturing sectors, consumers, investment policies and competitiveness, including as regards SMEs; urges the Commission to include in its Work Programme the development of effective, updated legislative tools allowing the EU to prevent such practices, which are heavily affecting our industrial recovery and our capacity to invest, innovate and compete;

10.  Urges the Commission and the Council, in the light of the rapidly deteriorating situation in crucial industrial sectors, such as steel or ceramics, to expedite as a matter of priority the reform of the EU’s trade defence instruments initiated in 2013 in order to improve their reactivity and effectiveness and to tackle unfair competition; stresses that Parliament adopted its position on this reform on 5 February 2014 (2013/0103(COD)), which called in particular for shortening the duration of anti-dumping investigations, in full compliance with WTO rules;

11.  Recalls that China’s gaining market economy status would under the current conditions make it more difficult to launch anti-dumping procedures directed at Chinese exports;

12.  Calls on the Commission, in the development of its trade and investment policies, to avoid the delocalisation of European manufacturing facilities to outside the EU, in order to maintain jobs in the EU Member States;

13.  Considers that the Commission, when negotiating free trade agreements, should ensure that distortive practices such as dual pricing mechanisms and export restrictions on raw materials are prohibited;

14.  Points out that, in the case of all the base metal industries that are strategic to our economy, there is a situation of global competition; considers it urgent for the Commission, when defining relevant markets, to take the global market as a reference and not to limit its analysis simply to the internal market;

15.  Notes the requirement in the Commission’s ‘Investment Plan for Europe’ to boost investment within the EU, and considers trade strategies to be an essential means of achieving this goal;

16.  Believes that forward-looking trade and investment policies play a significant role in the development of the telecoms market, copyright and the digital economy in Europe and bring clear benefits to EU consumers and businesses, including SMEs; emphasises that a Digital Single Market is vital to boosting EU competitiveness and economic growth; stresses that a level playing field must be ensured in terms of reciprocity in market access and that non-EU market actors must comply with European industry and consumer standards; calls on the Commission to address existing trade barriers in the digital economy, cross-border data flows, data storage and data and consumer protection in future trade and investment agreements, so as to ensure that the digital economy can continue to adapt and grow for the benefit of consumers; calls on the Commission to ensure that European data protection legislation is not affected by current and future trade agreements;

17.  Calls on the Commission to ensure that the right to enforce existing intellectual property legislation is preserved in future trade agreements, particularly in the area of technology transfer;

18.  Calls on the Commission to encourage European research bodies to engage more actively with potential partners outside the EU in order to optimise investment in research and innovation and avoid a brain drain; calls on the Commission to enhance regional cooperation in research;

19.  Emphasises the need to step up global efforts to further develop clean energy technologies in the move towards a low-carbon economy, and therefore encourages the Commission to enhance cooperation on energy research, development and innovation activities with trading partners;

20.  Calls on the Commission to promote the diversification of energy suppliers, routes and sources through the identification of new energy trading partners and through regional cooperation, thereby creating increased competition and bringing about lower prices for European energy consumers; stresses that the development of renewables and the promotion of energy efficiency are crucial to increasing energy security and reducing import dependency; highlights the importance of including in free trade agreements provisions aimed at building sustainable energy partnerships and enhancing technological cooperation, especially in the field of renewables and energy efficiency; recommends that new trade agreements should include a chapter on energy and raw materials;

21.  Welcomes the Commission communication on an EU strategy for liquefied natural gas (LNG) and gas storage; considers the recent global natural gas market developments to represent an enormous opportunity for Europe to increase security of energy supply and create a more competitive market; calls for the swift completion of the projects of common interest (PCI) so as to ensure that the correct infrastructure is in place to benefit from these increased gas trade opportunities;

22.  Highlights the importance of reaching a ‘dynamic’ agreement on the environmental (green) goods currently under negotiation, ensuring that the agreement can later be opened for more WTO partners to join and in the future include green services, thus promoting the European green tech industry, helping to meet the climate and energy targets agreed in the Paris 2015 climate agreement, strengthening security of energy supply in the EU and reducing dependency on fossil fuels;

23.  Calls on the Commission to promote gender equality and black, Asian and minority ethnic (BAME) equality in the development of trade and investment policies.

RESULT OF FINAL VOTE IN COMMITTEE ASKED FOR OPINION

Date adopted

7.4.2016

 

 

 

Result of final vote

+:

–:

0:

48

6

3

Members present for the final vote

Bendt Bendtsen, Xabier Benito Ziluaga, José Blanco López, David Borrelli, Reinhard Bütikofer, Jerzy Buzek, Edward Czesak, Philippe De Backer, Fredrick Federley, Theresa Griffin, Roger Helmer, Hans-Olaf Henkel, Kaja Kallas, Krišjānis Kariņš, Seán Kelly, Jeppe Kofod, Janusz Lewandowski, Paloma López Bermejo, Ernest Maragall, Edouard Martin, Nadine Morano, Angelika Niebler, Morten Helveg Petersen, Miroslav Poche, Carolina Punset, Herbert Reul, Paul Rübig, Algirdas Saudargas, Jean-Luc Schaffhauser, Neoklis Sylikiotis, Antonio Tajani, Dario Tamburrano, Patrizia Toia, Vladimir Urutchev, Kathleen Van Brempt, Martina Werner, Anna Záborská, Flavio Zanonato, Carlos Zorrinho

Substitutes present for the final vote

Amjad Bashir, Michał Boni, Eugen Freund, Françoise Grossetête, Benedek Jávor, Jude Kirton-Darling, Werner Langen, Svetoslav Hristov Malinov, Marian-Jean Marinescu, Marisa Matias, Sorin Moisă, Clare Moody, Dominique Riquet, Massimiliano Salini, Maria Spyraki, Anneleen Van Bossuyt

Substitutes under Rule 200(2) present for the final vote

Momchil Nekov, Jana Žitňanská


OPINION of the Committee on the Internal Market and Consumer Protection (2.5.2016)

for the Committee on International Trade

on a new forward-looking and innovative future strategy on trade and investment

(2015/2105(INI))

Rapporteur: Dita Charanzová

SUGGESTIONS

The Committee on the Internal Market and Consumer Protection calls on the Committee on International Trade, as the committee responsible, to incorporate the following suggestions into its motion for a resolution:

1.  Welcomes the Commission communication entitled ‘Trade for all – Towards a more responsible trade and investment policy’ (COM(2015)0497);

2.  Stresses the link between the single market and EU trade policy, which should be fully compatible with each other and with the wider policies and values of the Union; believes that open, responsible and free global trade, based on effective, transparent and strong global rules, is essential to making the single market realise its full potential by functioning, growing and working for the mutual benefit of citizens, consumers and businesses, in particular small and medium-sized enterprises;

3.  Emphasises that, given the EU’s status as the largest economy in the world, sustainable and responsible trade is its strongest policy tool for both supporting European interests, investment and business and promoting European values abroad while fostering economic growth and investment and creating jobs at home; supports the Commission’s aim to enhance synergies between trade and internal market policies and recommends that these policies award priority to measures aimed at creating jobs;

4.  Recalls that the opening-up of trade leads to higher productivity, encourages increased external competitiveness and already supports almost one in seven jobs in the single market as well as bringing significant consumer benefits;

5.  Considers that, in the current economic and commercial context, protectionist measures have become obsolete and even self-defeating in some cases since European goods and services are part of global value chains; considers, however, that the current trade defence system in the EU needs to be updated to provide a suitable answer to unfair behaviour which affects international trade in a globalised world; calls on the Commission and the Member States to strengthen cross-border value chains of goods and services by enhancing the competitiveness of our economies and economic growth by reducing unjustified trade barriers;

6.  Stresses the importance of ensuring that the EU and its trading partners play by equal rules; recalls that the EU must use all tools at its disposal to stand firm against unfair competition and non-compliance with both WTO principles and commitments made by its trading partners;

7.  Considers that the participation of European SMEs in global value chains is directly linked to the internationalisation process; requests, in the light of this, that the Commission take more measures in order to facilitate SMEs’ access to third markets;

8.  Welcomes the strategy’s comments on the role which foreign direct investment plays in the Member States and the single market, and supports all efforts towards encouraging greater FDIs in Europe;

9.  Recognising that public procurement accounts for 15-20 % of global GDP, agrees with the Commission on the need to take a holistic and ambitious approach to public procurement, especially within TTIP, where only 32 % of the US market is currently open to EU business; notes that the EU has already opened up its public procurement markets to a large extent, but that European companies still face restrictions abroad and a lack of reciprocity; calls on the Commission, as a matter of urgency, to work towards substantially improving reciprocal and transparent market access for European companies abroad while maintaining open access to the single market; notes the amended proposal from the Commission on an International Procurement Instrument (IPI);

10.  Calls on the Commission to ensure that the new public procurement and concession directives are complied with in all trade negotiations, in particular as regards the definition of public-public cooperation, exclusions, SME access and the use of the MEAT criteria; asks for a faster transition to e-procurement in order to facilitate access for companies, in particular SMEs, to public procurement;

11.  Believes that it is in keeping with sound legal and logical principles for complainants in investigations to have to substantiate their allegations and prove that the measures concerned are in the broader Community interest;

12.  Welcomes the Commission’s pledge that no trade agreement will lower the achievements of European consumer protection standards, including in the context of the digital revolution; stresses that Parliament will continue to closely check that the ongoing negotiations respect this pledge;

13.  Calls for measures to support consumers in the context of cross-border trade in goods and services with third countries, for example in the form of online help desks which provide information or advice in connection with disputes;

14.  Agrees with the Commission that trade policy can work only if Europe continues its focus on removing obstacles to the completion of the single market, tackling the fragmentation of the regulation, cutting red tape and promoting increased competition within the single market, particularly in the service sector; asks the Commission to take into account Parliament’s recommendations as to how to remove non-tariff barriers within the single market in order to ensure free trade both inside and outside the Union’s borders; welcomes the Commission´s commitments to making all significant trade initiatives subject to full impact assessments and also encourages ex post evaluations; supports better mutual transparency and improvement of regulatory processes within trade agreements without infringing on the national right to regulate;

15.  Takes note of the negotiations on a Trade in Services agreement (TiSA) and underlines the fact that, as services already account for 70 % of the EU’s GDP and employment, service providers must be given greater access to markets beyond Europe; calls for progress in the negotiations on TiSA to be consistent with the positions set out in Parliament’s resolution; recalls that the Commission should take the different Member States’ interests into account when negotiating commitment schedules in TiSA and TTIP; welcomes, at the same time, the commitment not to require governments to change how they regulate or fund public services;

16.  Takes note of the TTIP negotiations and emphasises that their successful conclusion is of major political importance; asks the Commission to take into account Parliament’s report and, in particular, the opinion of its Committee on the Internal Market and Consumer Protection; calls for the negotiations to be completed as soon as possible, while still leading to an ambitious, comprehensive and balanced agreement; asks the Commission to apply greater pressure on its American counterparts to make proposals and commitments in order to move negotiations forward;

17.  Acknowledges that transparency in trade policy is important to consumers’ trust in better regulation and in the legitimacy of EU trade policy abroad; asks the Commission, therefore, to maintain the highest possible level of transparency in trade negotiations, including through access to negotiating texts and consultations with civil society throughout these processes;

18.  Calls for greater international regulatory cooperation, especially with the United States and Japan;

19.  Welcomes the focus placed on the Digital Single Market as part of the global digital market and to preventing the development of new barriers to trade in digital goods and services and e-commerce; supports all measures to increase the free flow of data, provided that EU data protection rules are adhered to, and all efforts to achieve improved facilitation of online trade on a multilateral level and, in parallel, with the WTO; underlines the importance of respecting EU data protection rules; fully agrees with the statement that regulatory cooperation, mutual recognition and harmonisation of standards are the best tools to address the challenges of the digital economy;

20.  Draws attention to the high level of external competitiveness of European services providers; calls on the Commission to pursue, in trade negotiations, both the progressive and reciprocal liberalisation of services and a policy of increased transparency and predictability of rules and regulations, so that citizens and entrepreneurs in developing countries can have access to a wider range of services, some of which may be provided by highly competitive European services providers;

21.  Calls for negotiations – within or in parallel with trade agreements – on greater mobility for professionals, workers and students, and on mutual recognition of professional qualifications; invites the Commission to ensure that such measures comply with the principles set out in the Services Directive, in particular Article 16 thereof; asks the Commission to inform Parliament of the current state of implementation of the Blue Card Directive and whether it is working in practice;

22.  Encourages the use and creation of further international technical standards based on impact assessments, and all efforts aimed at ensuring the full engagement of our trading partners in international standardisation bodies; does not believe, however, that the lack of a common international standard should prevent mutual recognition of equivalence, where appropriate, or efforts towards common transatlantic technical standards;

23.  Stresses that a digitised customs control system in addition to improved cooperation between Member State customs and market surveillance authorities is needed in order to speed up transfers of goods and tackle counterfeits within global supply chains while ensuring the quality of control and consumer protection with regard to imported goods and services; supports the Commission’s initiative to strengthen international customs cooperation and encourages the Commission and the Member States to work together towards the prevention of IPR infringing goods entering the EU and towards IPR enforcement in all trade partners;

24.  Highlights the importance of promoting innovation and quality as an added value of European products; notes that the recognition of geographical indications in trade agreements should be a priority;

25.  Welcomes the Commission’s actions towards fighting corruption through international trade;

26.  Invites the Commission and the Member States to give serious consideration to the idea of setting up a unified EU customs service for more effective application of custom rules and procedures throughout the customs territory of the EU;

27.  Stresses that the EU´s new trade strategy cannot be limited to opening new negotiations but must also ensure the proper implementation of negotiated agreements and combat the rise of new unjustified non-tariff barriers between the EU and its trading partners, which limit the effective access of companies to foreign markets.

RESULT OF FINAL VOTE IN COMMITTEE ASKED FOR OPINION

Date adopted

21.4.2016

 

 

 

Result of final vote

+:

–:

0:

30

5

0

Members present for the final vote

Dita Charanzová, Carlos Coelho, Sergio Gaetano Cofferati, Lara Comi, Anna Maria Corazza Bildt, Daniel Dalton, Nicola Danti, Dennis de Jong, Vicky Ford, Ildikó Gáll-Pelcz, Evelyne Gebhardt, Antanas Guoga, Sergio Gutiérrez Prieto, Robert Jarosław Iwaszkiewicz, Liisa Jaakonsaari, Philippe Juvin, Antonio López-Istúriz White, Marlene Mizzi, Robert Rochefort, Virginie Rozière, Christel Schaldemose, Andreas Schwab, Olga Sehnalová, Igor Šoltes, Ivan Štefanec, Mylène Troszczynski, Anneleen Van Bossuyt, Marco Zullo

Substitutes present for the final vote

Lucy Anderson, Edward Czesak, Julia Reda, Dariusz Rosati, Lambert van Nistelrooij, Sabine Verheyen, Kerstin Westphal


OPINION of the Committee on Agriculture and Rural Development (7.6.2016)

for the Committee on International Trade

on a new forward-looking and innovative future strategy on trade and investment

(2015/2105(INI))

Rapporteur: Esther Herranz García

SUGGESTIONS

The Committee on Agriculture and Rural Development calls on the Committee on International Trade, as the committee responsible, to incorporate the following suggestions into its motion for a resolution:

1.  Takes the view that the common agricultural policy has been a pillar of European policy since its introduction in 1962; recalls that, ever since the creation of the CAP, the EU has insisted on ‘Community preference’, which means giving priority to products from the Member States;

2.  Points out that the EU’s common agricultural policy runs counter to the major agricultural policies in the rest of the world, under which agricultural support is directly linked to prices or production volume and is counter-cyclical in nature; takes the view that it is important under these circumstances to negotiate agricultural free trade agreements that do not destabilise the European agricultural and rural sector;

3.  Stresses that agricultural trade and the agri-food sector play a key role in driving economic growth and job creation, particularly in rural areas, highlights that investment in the sector and advancing the EU’s position as a key player on the global market are essential for the future of farming in the Union;

4.  Is aware that EU farmers will face major challenges in the future, and considers that this is why a stable common European framework to support EU farmers via the CAP is indispensable for encouraging investment and boosting growth in the agri-food sector;

5.  Welcomes the reference in the Commission communication ‘Trade for all’ to the agri-food industry as a sector in which export opportunities are of crucial importance and should be actively promoted through a new Community strategy for trade and investment;

6.  Stresses the importance of ensuring greater coherence between the measures proposed as part of the Union’s new commercial strategy and those adopted as part of the CAP, in order to guarantee an adequate income for farmers and preserve a European production model that respects the environment, animals, food safety and regional balance; recalls the need, as already highlighted by Parliament in its resolution of 8 July 2015 on the TTIP, to guarantee the economic and social viability of the European agricultural model;

7.  Deplores the failure of the communication ‘Trade for all’ to explicitly recognise the multifunctional nature and the particular sensitivities of the farming sector, as a key element to be taken into account in developing the EU’s trade policy;

8.  Considers the opening of new markets for EU agricultural production, such as dairy products, meat and live animals and fruits and vegetables, to be important in the context of the current farming crisis; stresses the need to identify new market outlets with a high purchasing potential;

9.  Encourages negotiation and approval of only those bilateral or multilateral agreements with third countries that are balanced and are likely to provide special safeguards for sensitive sectors and adequate protection for all European agricultural producers; strongly supports the exclusion of sectors that could be seriously affected;

10.  Is of the opinion that the traceability of agricultural products and effective rules of origin must be defended in FTA negotiations, thereby avoiding the situation where those rules are undermined by other agreements between the EU’s FTA partners and other third countries; calls, in this respect, on the Commission to exclude sensitive agricultural products from all type of cumulation of origin rules; reminds the Commission that the purpose of FTA negotiations is to facilitate trade in genuine EU products and in products of the EU’s FTA partners;

11.  Considers it necessary to take into account the specific disadvantages of small farmers and vulnerable areas; believes that the EU must maintain its powerful marketing brand of high-quality production; is in favour of engaging comprehensively with stakeholders in the European agri-food sector before entering into any new free trade negotiations;

12.  Considers that the FTA about to be concluded with Canada and those currently under negotiation with the USA and Mercosur or envisaged with Australia and New Zealand will open up the EU market to the most competitive agricultural producers in the world and to those with the greatest export potential; calls on the Commission, therefore, to defend sensitive agricultural products in an appropriate fashion;

13.  Recalls that the US continues to be the EU’s biggest market for agricultural exports; calls on the Commission to ensure that the TTIP negotiations result in an ambitious, comprehensive and balanced trade and investment agreement of a high standard that promotes sustainable and inclusive growth, as well as increased trade flows, for the EU´s agricultural sector;

14.  Considers it necessary to enhance the added value of farming and to run promotion campaigns with a view to opening up new markets; stresses above all that it is essential to strengthen EU-level quality schemes, since they ensure the best possible brand image for EU products on the world market, providing indirect benefits for European farming as a whole;

15.  Considers it vital, however, to encourage domestic demand in relation to fruit and vegetable consumption in particular, since 24 of the 28 Member States consume less than the daily portion of 400 grammes recommended by the World Health Organisation;

16.  Welcomes the realistic assessment of the Commission concerning the persistent lack of progress on the Doha Development Agenda (DDA); believes that, even if multilateral negotiations are indispensable, the DDA has clearly not met the expectations of the European agri-food sector, despite unilateral concessions by the EU such as those made at the 10th Ministerial Conference in Nairobi; calls, therefore, for the EU to define a new and more effective strategy for multilateral negotiations at the WTO;

17.  Underlines the importance of the association agreements (AAs) / Deep and Comprehensive Free Trade Agreements (DCFTAs) with Georgia, Moldova and Ukraine for the EU´s agricultural sector, and calls on the Commission and the Member States to rapidly ensure the full implementation of these agreements;

18.  Believes that, in the conduct of trade negotiations directly affecting European agricultural interests, the Commissioner responsible for agriculture should be recognised as playing a leading role on all agricultural aspects; considers that, as regards the functioning of collegiality in the Commission, no decision concerning the conclusion of trade agreements should ever be taken against that Commissioner’s assessment of the fundamental interests of EU agriculture;

19.  Stresses that agriculture is a highly strategic political issue, that food security and the way of life of all Europeans depend on agriculture, and the EU’s trade strategy should be coherent with the objectives of the CAP as set out in Article 39 TFEU; opposes, therefore, any form of negotiation liable to jeopardise the investment efforts of the European agri-food sector or to involve treating European agriculture as an expendable bargaining chip; calls on the Commission to stop placing the interests of industry and services before those of agriculture;

20.  Deplores, furthermore, situations in which farmers experience the consequences of political conflicts that do not originate in agriculture;

21.  Emphasises the threats posed by the cumulative effect of tariff concessions, whether resulting from multilateral or bilateral negotiations or from autonomous schemes such as the GSP; points out that a zero rate of duty is imposed on 71 % of all EU agri-food imports;

22.  Considers that trade agreements must include safeguard clauses in respect of provisions to be activated by simplified and flexible mechanisms;

23.  Urges the Commission to exercise the utmost caution when preparing or reviewing offers for market access in trade negotiations, and to establish a strategy to protect sensitive sectors; calls for such offers to be systematically based on an exhaustive independent assessment of the impact on the EU’s agricultural sector of fresh trade concessions to third countries;

24.  Recalls that the Commission must present an individual impact evaluation for any new proposal for a trade agreement, including analysis of the effects on local and regional markets; looks forward to the results of the impact assessment on the cumulative effect of the various sensitive product quotas already granted to our partners (under negotiation or planned), as promised by the Commission at the Agriculture and Fisheries Council meeting on 11 April 2016;

25.  Urges the Commission to forward its findings in good time to Parliament and to await Parliament´s position before accepting or proposing any commercial offer, and to amend or withdraw commercial offers already on the table or in preparation if an evaluation of their effects reveals adverse consequences for sensitive products; asks the Commission to conduct an evaluation of the EU’s opening-up to the global market in farming products;

26.  Stresses that the EU’s agri-food industry is an efficient sector of the Union economy, which is distinguished by quality, diversity and innovation in production and makes a vital contribution to food security;

27.  Believes that particular attention should be paid to the protection of small and medium-sized agricultural enterprises, both in negotiating agreements and in analysing their impact;

28.  Considers that the Commission must submit to Parliament clear and reliable customs information regarding goods entering the Union, and that those goods should be monitored;

29.  Stresses that Europe’s high standards concerning the environment, food safety, animal welfare and social conditions, which reflects our societal values and are demanded by European consumers, put EU farmers at an economic disadvantage with respect to their counterparts in third countries owing to the latter’s production models, size of production structures and usually lower standards; takes the view that trade agreements should promote fair competition between the different trading partners so as to ensure that EU farmers are able to benefit fully from tariff concessions without being exposed to unfair competition;

30.  Underlines the need to guarantee that EU standards on food safety and the environment are protected by applying reciprocity mechanisms and preserving fundamental values such as the precautionary principle, sustainable agriculture and a high level of traceability and product labelling; notes the wide differential in animal welfare standards internationally, and condemns using the lowest common denominator in trade agreements;

31.  Stresses the need for tighter import controls at borders and for more stringent inspections by the Food and Veterinary Office relating to production and marketing conditions in countries exporting to the EU, in order to ensure compliance with Union rules;

32.  Notes the poor protection of animal welfare in many of the EU’s advanced trading partners, as in the case of the US, which lacks federal legislation protecting farm animals before slaughter; demands that the Commission include animal welfare as a trade concern in all ongoing and future bilateral and multilateral trade negotiations, with all imports of animal products from developed countries being required to comply with EU laws on animal welfare, and imports from developing countries being required to meet equivalent standards;

33.  Stresses that particular attention should be paid in trade negotiations between the EU and third countries to the use of pesticides, particularly to the different approaches to their use, as standards relating to the use of pesticides are significantly higher in the EU than in third countries;

34.  Stresses the importance of ensuring that in negotiating agreements with third countries no provisions are included that could reduce or weaken the guarantees currently provided by the Union to consumers concerning the agri-food industry, particularly as regards the use of products derived from GMOs or cloning;

35.  Calls for agricultural imports into the EU to be permitted only if the imported products meet European standards of consumer protection, animal welfare and environmental protection and comply with minimum social standards;

36.  Calls on the Commission to outlaw imports of any agricultural product sold to the public at below its real production cost, thus preventing social, economic and environmental dumping of all kinds;

37.  Insists that consumers must be given accurate information on the characteristics of the products traded;

38.  Given that protected geographical indications offer European agriculture one of its biggest competitive advantages and that products from third countries can also apply to be protected by the EU geographical indications scheme, urges the Commission to continue to hold a firm position in this respect in all ongoing negotiations, including the TTIP negotiations; considers furthermore that any agreement which would not protect geographical indications should not be signed;

39.  Regrets that under recently concluded or ongoing trade negotiations, only a ‘short list’ of EU geographical indications is protected by our trading partners; asks the Commission, therefore, to establish rules ensuring a high level of protection for all EU geographical indications on the markets of third countries with which negotiations are under way, together with suitable implementing measures;

40.  Notes that the protection and recognition of geographical indicators in third countries is potentially of great value to the entire EU agri-food sector, and considers that all trade agreements should include protective measures and actions to combat counterfeiting;

41.  Regrets, in this connection, that under the trade agreement with Canada, a number of major denominations that enjoy protection at European level have been treated as generic or semi-generic; urges the Commission in this regard to give support during trade negotiations to those countries that have not yet introduced arrangements for the protection of geographical designations, so as to create effective systems compatible with existing EU provisions;

42.  Stresses the importance of progress regarding health, phytosanitary and other non-tariff barriers to agricultural trade, in all free trade negotiations, especially regarding the red lines drawn by the EU that might have implications for the health of consumers;

43.  Emphasises that trade negotiations must under no circumstances be used to alter EU legislation;

44.  Stresses that, in the context of TTIP and other ongoing negotiations on regulatory issues, broader international regulatory cooperation in agricultural matters should be reinforced and should also have positive spillovers in third countries, in particular in developing countries;

45.  Stresses that the EU should promote innovation to enhance productivity as a way of coping with the ever-increasing global population, by supporting initiatives to address issues such as climate change and help farmers adapt to environmental challenges of all kinds.

RESULT OF FINAL VOTE IN COMMITTEE ASKED FOR OPINION

Date adopted

6.6.2016

 

 

 

Result of final vote

+:

–:

0:

36

2

4

Members present for the final vote

Clara Eugenia Aguilera García, Eric Andrieu, Paul Brannen, Daniel Buda, Nicola Caputo, Matt Carthy, Viorica Dăncilă, Albert Deß, Diane Dodds, Herbert Dorfmann, Norbert Erdős, Edouard Ferrand, Luke Ming Flanagan, Beata Gosiewska, Martin Häusling, Anja Hazekamp, Esther Herranz García, Jan Huitema, Peter Jahr, Jarosław Kalinowski, Elisabeth Köstinger, Zbigniew Kuźmiuk, Philippe Loiseau, Giulia Moi, Ulrike Müller, James Nicholson, Maria Noichl, Marijana Petir, Laurenţiu Rebega, Jordi Sebastià, Jasenko Selimovic, Maria Lidia Senra Rodríguez, Czesław Adam Siekierski, Marc Tarabella, Marco Zullo

Substitutes present for the final vote

Jean Arthuis, Bas Belder, Franc Bogovič, Angélique Delahaye, Jean-Paul Denanot, Michela Giuffrida, Manolis Kefalogiannis, Norbert Lins, Stanislav Polčák, Annie Schreijer-Pierik, Tibor Szanyi, Hannu Takkula

Substitutes under Rule 200(2) present for the final vote

Stanisław Ożóg


RESULT OF FINAL VOTE IN COMMITTEE RESPONSIBLE

Date adopted

16.6.2016

 

 

 

Result of final vote

+:

–:

0:

30

2

4

Members present for the final vote

Laima Liucija Andrikienė, Tiziana Beghin, Daniel Caspary, Santiago Fisas Ayxelà, Christofer Fjellner, Eleonora Forenza, Yannick Jadot, Ska Keller, Alexander Graf Lambsdorff, Bernd Lange, David Martin, Emmanuel Maurel, Emma McClarkin, Anne-Marie Mineur, Alessia Maria Mosca, Franck Proust, Tokia Saïfi, Marietje Schaake, Helmut Scholz, Adam Szejnfeld, Iuliu Winkler, Jan Zahradil

Substitutes present for the final vote

Goffredo Maria Bettini, Agnes Jongerius, Sander Loones, Bolesław G. Piecha, Fernando Ruas, Jarosław Wałęsa

Substitutes under Rule 200(2) present for the final vote

Georges Bach, Eider Gardiazabal Rubial, Jan Keller, Dominique Martin, Giulia Moi, Jozo Radoš, Dario Tamburrano, Hermann Winkler

Last updated: 28 June 2016Legal notice