EU Trade package – a way forward for the European Union’s foreign trade.

The European Commission published a package of trade and investment proposals (the EU Trade package) – following President Jean – Claude Juncker’s speech on the state of the Union. The speech was delivered on 13 September before Members of the European Parliament in Strasbourg and addressed in particular: foreign trade, European industry, climate change, cybersecurity and migration issues. “I want us to strengthen our European trade agenda” – Juncker said. “We have to get what we give. Trade is not something abstract. Trade is about jobs, creating new opportunities for Europe’s businesses big and small. Every additional €1 billion in exports supports 14,000 extra jobs in Europe” -he argued.

New EU trade agenda

Following the President Juncker’s speech, the Commission has unveiled a package of legislative proposals that aim at implementation of the new EU trade agenda. The key proposals are in particular:

  • framework to screen foreign direct investments in EU–in order to ensure that foreign investments are the key source of growth while protecting the interests of the EU.
  • opening trade negotiations with Australia and New Zealand – these new trade agreements would follow successful trade agreements recently concluded i.a. with Canada, Singapore and Japan,
  • establishment of multilateral court for settlement of investment disputes – whereas the new court would deal with complaints that companies may raise under investment protection agreements.
  • creation of an Advisory Group on EU trade agreements. The group is to become a link between the Commission and particular groups of stakeholders such as: trade unions, employers’ organizations, consumer groups,. NGOs etc.- in the process of preparation of new EU’s trade agreements.

The proposals were summarized in the documentcalled”A Progressive Trade Policy to Harness Globalisation”.

Foreign trade – a motor of growth

Foreign trade topic was just a part of President Juncker’s speech but an important part since more than 30 million of jobs is currently supported by EU’s export to the third countries. “The wind is back in Europe’s sails. But we will go nowhere unless we catch that wind” – Mr. Juncker said in his last Wednesday’s speech. “Partners across the globe have started lining up at our door to conclude trade agreements with us. (…). We are not naïve free traders. Europe must always defend its strategic interests. This is why today we are proposing a new EU framework for investment screening”.