21 Nov 2014
COUNCIL CONCLUSIONS ON TTIP AND TRADEBrussels Daily
Council conclusions on TTIP – Foreign Affairs Council (Trade) – Brussels, 21 November 2014
The Council adopted the following conclusions:
“1. Enhancing sustainable growth and jobs is a key priority for the EU. Trade in goods and services and investment can make a significant contribution in this respect. In this context, the Council reiterates the fundamental role of a deep, ambitious, balanced and mutually beneficial TTIP Agreement with the United States, which will provide significant new opportunities for citizens and companies in the EU and the US. This will help boost job creation and economic growth by enhancing trade and investment between the two sides of the Atlantic, while ensuring our right to regulate and maintaining a high level of standards consistent with the EU acquis and Member States’ legislation. The Council also recognises the importance of TTIP as a strategic cornerstone of our transatlantic partnership, which will make a valuable contribution to shaping globalisation and the international trading system and to supporting sustainable development.
- The Council underlines the importance to better communicate the scope and the benefits of the agreement and to enhance transparency and dialogue with civil society in order to highlight the benefits for European citizens and the opportunities it would create for EU companies, in particular small and medium sized businesses. The Council underlines the importance of maintaining the positive efforts undertaken so far and the need to approach the US side to discuss meaningful possibilities to improve transparency, including the access to all negotiating documents in order to let Member States develop constructive discussions with civil society.
- The Council reconfirms its strong expectation of concluding a deep, ambitious, balanced and mutually beneficial agreement on all three pillars of the negotiations as soon as feasible, according to the Council mandate. To achieve this aim, it is essential to have clear and strong political support for the negotiations by both parties which will boost TTIP talks and facilitate the conclusion of the agreement according to a positive timeline.”
Council conclusions on trade – Foreign Affairs Council (Trade) – Brussels, 21 November 2014
The Council adopted the following conclusions:
- “The Council met today for the first time with the new Commissioner for Trade, Cecilia Malmström, and in this context, the Council:
- Recalls the conclusions of the European Council of February 2013
- Recalls the conclusions of the European Council of June 2014
- Recalls the Global Europe: Competing in the World strategy, and the Europe 2020 strategy “Trade, Growth and World Affairs”;
- Warmly welcomes the progress made since it last met on a range of important bilateral, plurilateral and legislative dossiers.
- The Council reiterates the EU’s determination to promote free, fair and open trade in a spirit of reciprocity and mutual benefit. The natural framework in which we will continue to reaffirm these principles is the WTO. The Council welcomes the breakthrough that should lead to full implementation of the Bali package, including the Trade Facilitation Agreement, and open the way for moving forward towards the conclusion of the DDA. Plurilateral and sectorial agreements can also contribute to the EU’s growth agenda. While remaining committed to further strengthening the multilateral trading system, the EU will continue to focus on the development of its bilateral trade relations. These can and should be a positive contribution to the multilateral system. Building on the tangible progress made in the EU’s bilateral trade agenda, efforts should be devoted to pursuing agreements with key partners, prioritising those negotiations that will provide the most benefit in terms of growth and jobs. Effective implementation of existing Agreements and rules enforcement are also key to promote growth and jobs.
- Even though there are signs of economic recovery in Europe, unemployment remains a major concern, especially for young people. Therefore, the Union needs to take further steps to promote sustainable growth, increase investment, create more and better jobs: trade in goods, services and investment can make a significant contribution to achieve the aims at the core of the “Strategic Agenda for the Union in times of change”.
- The trade agenda, which is also a tool of external relations, should therefore be fully coherent with other relevant EU policies, including through the right interaction between Commission departments. We encourage the Commission to continue improving all the “ex-ante” impact assessments that are produced for free trade negotiations, as well as producing “ex-post” impact evaluations for implemented agreements.
- To let trade develop its untapped potential in the agricultural, industrial and services’ sector, some structural problems have to be addressed: energy costs; access to raw materials (primarily through the removal of export duties and restrictions); internationalisation of SMEs; technical barriers and other non-tariff barriers. It is key to promoting favourable investment conditions and better market access. Respect for intellectual property rights (including geographical indications, patents, trademarks and copyright), open government procurement markets, as well as support of sustainable development (including the need to address challenges such as climate change and adherence to labour standards) must also remain in the centre of our trade negotiations. Finally, trade negotiations should additionally consider global value chains in light of their capacity to help promote growth, internationalise SMEs, increase investment and create more and better jobs in Europe.
- The Council underlines the need to better communicate the advantages of trade. Transparency around trade negotiations should continue to be improved in order to enhance dialogue with European citizens, in a spirit of democratic accountability.
- Therefore, the Council, taking into account the views expressed during today’s meeting and recalling the above mentioned European Council Conclusions, invites the Commission to consider updating its strategic document on “Trade, Growth and World Affairs” presented in 2010 and to come back to the Council in an appropriate timeframe.”