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European Commission Outlines Future Trade Policy

9 November 2010: The European Commission has released a Communication titled "Trade, Growth and World Affairs," which sets out the triple benefit of trade for Europe, namely stronger economic growth, more jobs and increased consumer choice at lower prices. The Communication also addresses green growth, energy and climate change.

According to the Communication, which constitutes the EU's blueprint for trade policy to help revitalize Europe's economy in the next five years, the Commission proposes to: complete its negotiating agenda at the World Trade Organization (WTO) and with major trading partners such as India and Mercosur; deepen trade relations with other strategic partners, such as the US, China, Russia and Japan; help European businesses access global markets; start negotiating comprehensive investment provisions with key trading partners; and ensure fair and inclusive trade that supports development.

The Communication notes that trade policy should continue to support green growth and climate change objectives, in particular reduced carbon emissions, based on the need to ensure that the European industry is able to compete in the sustainable economy of the future, including in the fisheries and agriculture sectors. On climate change, the Commission identifies as a priority reaching a global agreement, where reduction goals are set for all countries, indicating that the EU trade policy's support for action against climate change should be pursued through the elimination of barriers to trade in environmental goods and services. In addition, trade policy should continue to support and promote green growth around the globe in other areas, such as energy, resource efficiency and biodiversity protection, with particular attention to the implementation of sustainable development chapters in the EU bilateral trade agreements in close cooperation with civil society.

The Commission further notes that sustainable and undistorted supply of raw materials and energy is of strategic importance for the competitiveness of the EU economy, anticipating that the EU will use current trade rules to the maximum, pursue the establishment of a monitoring mechanism of export restrictions, and negotiate rules in ongoing bilateral and multilateral negotiations, based on dialogue with other countries, to ensure coherence with development objectives of poverty eradication and good governance.

On energy, the Commission anticipates that the EU will use both bilateral and multilateral negotiations to include trade provisions helping to diversify energy supplies (also in the interests of energy security), free transit, and promote trade in sustainable energy where barriers in third countries impede the rapid development of the EU's renewable energy industry. [EU Press Release][The Communication]