European trade policy must reflect the EU’s environmental ambitions. The EU was a leader in the adoption of the Paris Agreement, and is promoting a Green Deal that contains ambitious objectives for ecological and social transition. This programme includes achieving climate neutrality by 2050 with an intermediate point of minus 55% of its GHG emissions by 2030. It also promotes a European economy “where economic growth is decoupled from resource use”.
The Green Deal is now reflected in numerous sectoral policies such as the "Farm to Fork" strategy, which includes ambitious objectives on environment and animal welfare. These new orientations have also been reflected in the new trade policy proposal presented by the European Commission in February 2021.
Yet, their operational implementation is still insufficient. The environmental transformation of our production methods and social justice must guide all public policies to meet the challenges of the 21st century.
It is essential to make trade policy consistent with climate and environmental policies, including on animal welfare.
The Commission announced in its new trade policy strategy communication an early review in 2021 of the 15-points action plan of 2019 on the implementation and enforcement of Trade and Sustainable Development (TSD) chapters of EU free trade agreements, “including the scope of commitments, monitoring mechanisms, the possibility of sanctions for non-compliance, the essential elements clause as well as the institutional set-up and resources required”.
ClientEarth, Eurogroup for Animals, Veblen Institute, Fern, EEB and Fondation Nicolas Hulot welcome this consultation to improve the implementation of TSD chapters. We wish to contribute to the review by identifying 10 key reforms necessary for a better incorporation of sustainability objectives and ambitious innovation, both within and beyond TSD chapters.
The proposals presented in this document have been selected in the framework of the consultation on the revision of TSD chapters in bilateral trade agreements. They do not reflect the full range of proposals that our organisations are working on to put trade policy at the service of the ecological and social transition. Our work also covers the introduction of unilateral market access measures or the revision of multilateral rules or investment protection agreements.