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

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

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PV 05/07/2016 - 4.5
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Texts adopted
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Tuesday, 5 July 2016 - Strasbourg
A forward-looking and innovative future strategy for trade and investment

European Parliament resolution of 5 July 2016 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(2) and 3 February 2016(3), respectively,

—  having regard to the Commission communication entitled ‘Trade for all – Towards a more responsible trade and investment policy’ (COM(2015)0497),

–   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(4),

—  having regard to its resolution of 9 June 2015 on Strategy for the protection and enforcement of intellectual property rights in third countries(5),

–   having regard to its resolution of 29 April 2015 on the second anniversary of the Rana Plaza building collapse and progress of the Bangladesh Sustainability Compact(6),

—  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(7),

—  having regard to its resolution of 17 February 2011 on Europe 2020(8),

—  having regard to its resolution of 25 November 2010 on international trade policy in the context of climate change imperatives(9),

—  having regard to its resolution of 25 November 2010 on human rights and social and environmental standards in international trade agreements(10),

—  having regard to its resolution of 25 November 2010 on corporate social responsibility in international trade agreements(11),

–   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 Regulation (EU) 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 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;

C.  whereas 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;

D.  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;

E.  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;

F.  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;

G.  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;

H.  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;

I.  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;

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

L.  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;

M.  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;

N.  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;

O.  whereas by 2050 the EU-28 was 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;

P.  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 %;

Q.  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;

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 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 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; 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 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)), offer 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, 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;

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 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;

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;


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 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 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; 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;

o   o

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)0252.
(3) Texts adopted, P8_TA(2016)0041.
(4) Texts adopted, P8_TA(2015)0250.
(5) Texts adopted, P8_TA(2015)0219.
(6) Texts adopted, P8_TA(2015)0175.
(7) OJ C 56 E, 26.2.2013, p. 87.
(8) OJ C 188 E, 28.6.2012, p. 42.
(9) OJ C 99 E, 3.4.2012, p. 94.
(10) OJ C 99 E, 3.4.2012, p. 31.
(11) OJ C 99 E, 3.4.2012, p. 101.

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