The European Commission recently launched a review of the EU’s trade and investment policy. The intention was to assess how trade policy can contribute to a sustainable socio-economic recovery from the COVID-19 crisis and to determine how trade policy could strengthen the EU based on an “Open Strategic Autonomy” model (i.e. how businesses could benefit from open trade while being protected from unfair practices).
The review is intended to set the future political direction for EU trade and investment policy in the years to come. As such, stakeholders were invited to respond to the review.
amfori has submitted its response. noting that:
- Open and sustainable trade will be an essential part of post-COVID-19 economic recovery
- The majority of businesses will continue to rely upon overseas supply chains
- Negotiations on bi-lateral agreements, particularly in the ASEAN region, should be finalised
- Meaningful sustainability chapters must continue to be included and third countries’ commitments monitored closely
- The WTO dispute mechanism should remain
- SMEs need better information about preferential trade arrangements
- Promoting women’s empowerment through trade instruments and via the UN is essential
- Transparency and traceability of timber supply chains is needed
- Mandatory human rights due diligence is encouraged
amfori President, Christian Ewert also highlighted some of the points during a panel discussion at the European Parliament’s Trade Policy Day on 12 October.
Stuart Newman, Senior Legal Advisor – Trade & Customs