The European Union has been confronted with a drawn-out and painful recession during the last years, making it a big challenge now to boost jobs, growth and investment. Thus the Rapporteur expressly welcomes the Commission’s communication, recognising the important potential that trade can unveil. He stresses that the territorial dimension of the strategy should ensure that local and regional authorities across the EU will fairly benefit from growth and investment opportunities expected to be generated by free trade agreements and trade agreements in general and thus also welcomes the European Commission’s commitment to transparency measures. Nevertheless the CoR opinion also critises the European Commission for failing to address more fundamental problems with transparency on trade policy, e.g. in regard to how trade policy objectives are formulated. It also notes that it is necessary that trade agreements, even after having been agreed and ratified, have a mechanism that allows technical adjustments, a revision clause allowing for a possible fresh review of the agreement in question and a clause allowing decisions on liberalisation measures to be reversed at any time.
Trade is the cheapest stimulus package for the EU’s economy. Bringing down both trade and non-trade barriers abroad helps our companies grow, thus creating new jobs. In order to make a genuine trade policy become reality, the pace of the ongoing negotiations has to speed up. As the largest economy in the world, Europe has the weight to shape an open global trading system based on fair rules. We want improved access to markets while remaining vigilant about safeguarding our high standards.