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European Commission releases new trade strategy

On 18 February, the Commission announced its new trade strategy, one that is “open, strategic and assertive, emphasising the EU’s ability to make its own choices and shape the world around it”, according to Trade Commissioner Valdis Dombrovskis. The strategy was drafted after a wide public consultation, which included input from EBI based on its position paper on international trade.

The strategy contains several key themes. Firstly, there will be a focus on the EU’s green and digital transitions: the new trade policy will contribute to the objectives of the European Green Deal and will remove unjustified trade barriers in the digital economy. Secondly, it will prioritise the reform of the World Trade Organisation, for instance through restoring the WTO’s dispute settlement system.

Furthermore, the EU’s trade strategy will become more assertive, namely regarding the implementation and enforcement of its trade agreements. In that respect, it will fight unfair trade, address sustainability issues and ensure agreements deliver on benefits to EU stakeholders. Finally, the strategy mentions the need to reinforce the EU’s alliances, both with its neighbours and with the US. Related to the US, the strategy will aim at enhancing regulatory dialogue and developing a closer transatlantic partnership on the green and digital transformation including through the EU-US Trade and Technology Council.

Other actions envisaged are the conclusion of bilateral agreements with key growth markets, such as in Asia Pacific and Latin America regions. New tools will be developed to support EU businesses, in particular SMEs.

More information together with the full strategy can be found here.