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Trade policy and you Bratislava, 22 September 2016

Conference: EU Trade Agreements in Practice – Making Trade Work for You

This page describes past events and is no longer updated.


EU Trade Agreements in Practice – Making Trade Work for You

On 22 September 2016, EU Commissioner for Trade Cecilia Malmström hosted a conference on ‘EU Trade Agreements in Practice – Making Trade Work for You’. The event brought together a broad spectrum of high-level speakers. Over 170 stakeholders from business, the European Parliament, trade unions and civil society exchanged ideas on EU trade and investment policy and what it means for growth and jobs. In the final session, Commissioner Malmström was joined by Canadian Minister for International Trade Chrystia Freeland for a discussion on putting progressive trade policy into practice.

EU Trade Agreements in Practice - Conference

Recordings of the conference

Watch the animation: Exporter's stories: how Europe's trade agreements benefit companies and communities NEW

Read Commissioner Malmström blog, 21/09/2016

About the conference

Trade policy is increasingly at the centre of public debate. To name a few, the EU’s negotiations for a Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) with the United States, its talks for a plurilateral agreement on trade in services (TiSA), and its comprehensive trade deal with Canada (CETA) have attracted an unprecedented level of interest.

With over 31 million jobs in the EU dependent on our trade with other countries, it is clear that the EU’s trade policy plays a key role in our continent’s economy, and in our ability to create jobs and generate the wealth to pay for public services.

In October 2015, the European Commission published its new trade and investment strategy – Trade for All. The strategy underlined the role of trade and investment as engines for growth. It recognised that an effective policy has to tackle the new economic realities, such as global value chains, and live up to its promises. That includes ensuring the EU’s free trade agreements are effectively implemented and the opportunities they present made known; that the EU’s trading partners play by the rules and live up to their commitments; and that particular attention is paid to the needs of small businesses and workers.

The strategy also recognises the increased public interest in EU trade and investment policy and its interaction with other EU policies and spheres of life. Recognising this, the Commission has committed itself to step up its efforts to promote an informed debate in the Member States and a deeper dialogue with civil society at large.

The conference ‘EU Trade Agreements in Practice – Making Trade Work for You’ was a direct response to that commitment. After an opening plenary session, four break-out sessions offered participants the opportunity to discuss a range of key issues:

  • Making your voice heard in the trade policy process – why it matters for your business and how to do it
  • Trade as a motor for job creation: the role of integrated value chains and spill-over effects
  • Making trade agreements work for you: seizing the opportunities
  • EU trade policy and small businesses – threat or opportunity for small businesses and workers?

In the final session, Commissioner Malmström was joined by Canadian Minister for International Trade Chrystia Freeland for a discussion on putting progressive trade policy into practice. Commissioner Malmström then wound up the conference with a closing address.

Programme