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Policy | Brussels, 16 June 2020

European Commission kicks off major EU trade policy review

Today, the European Commission launched a major review of the European Union’s trade policy, including a public consultation seeking input from the European Parliament, Member States, stakeholders and civil society. The Commission’s objective is to build a consensus around a fresh medium-term direction for EU trade policy, responding to a variety of new global challenges and taking into account the lessons learned from the coronavirus crisis.

A strong European Union needs a strong trade and investment policy to support economic recovery, create quality jobs, protect European companies from unfair practices at home and abroad, and ensure coherence with broader priorities in the areas of sustainability, climate change, the digital economy and security.

Valdis Dombrovskis, Executive Vice-President for an Economy that Works for People, said: "To help repair the economic and social damage brought by the coronavirus pandemic, kick-start European recovery, and protect and create jobs, we have recently proposed a major recovery plan for Europe based on harnessing the full potential of the EU budget. The European Union is the world's trading superpower. Open and rules-based trade will contribute significantly to the global recovery. We need to make sure that trade policy serves our citizens and companies. Today, we launch a trade policy review in order to adjust the EU's approach to the global trade at this critical moment for the global economy."

Phil Hogan, Commissioner for Trade, commented: “The current pandemic is reshaping the world as we know it, and our trade policy must adapt to be more effective in pursuing European interests.So today we are asking for the views of our citizens and stakeholders to help us develop a bespoke EU trade policy approach for the post-coronavirus world. We want our policy to continue benefiting our people and our companies, enhancing our global leadership ambitions across a range of areas while taking a tougher approach to defend ourselves from any hostile or abusive actions. We must keep trade free and fair, underpinned by appropriate rules both within the EU27 and globally. With this review, we will listen to everyone who has a stake.”

The results of this consultation will feed into a communication to be published towards the end of the year. The final review will be the result of a transparent and inclusive process including the online public consultation, discussions with the European Parliament and Member States, as well as engagement with relevant stakeholders and civil society representatives.

The consultation covers all relevant topics to the EU trade policy, with a special focus on the following:

  • Building a resilient and sustainable EU economy after the coronavirus
  • Reforming the World Trade Organization
  • Creating global trade opportunities for businesses and in particular small and medium sized enterprises.
  • Maximising the contribution of trade policy to addressing key global challenges such as climate change, sustainable development or the digital transition
  • Strengthening of trade and investment relationships with key trading partners
  • Improving the level playing field and protecting EU business and citizens

More information is available in a consultation note published today. Written comments can be submitted by 15 September 2020.


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