The European Parliament’s Committee on Foreign Affairs (or AFET Committee) adopted yesterday, 28 June 2018, its report on  “the state of EU-US relations”, prepared by MEP Elmar Brok. It received support from the Committee on International Trade (or INTA Committee), whose Chair, MEP Bernd Lange, provided specific insight on trade aspects through a so-called Opinion report (please find here and here the respective draft reports, as definitive versions taking into account adopted amendments are not yet available on the European Parliament’s website). Both reports are now expected to be adopted in the September plenary session of the European Parliament.

As a so-called Own-Initiative report, this report merely expresses the official position of the European Parliament on a topical matter – its added value being thus of political rather than legally binding nature. CEEP wholeheartedly endorses both reports’ shared core message: the EU-US relationship is at the forefront of efforts to further promote and develop the rights-based, multilateral international trade order which has been put under strain or even called into question since the election of US President Trump – in the mutual benefit of the European Union’s and the United States’ citizens and businesses.

As is stated in its Opinion on EU Trade Agreements, CEEP supports the development of international trade as a means to foster economic development. However, its vision of trade remains rooted in several core principles and goals, starting with sustainable development as an overarching trade framework (e.g. in the shape of integration or reference to the Sustainable Development Goals 2030). Through these reports, the EU co-legislator asserts the EU’s willingness to defend key principles that prove to be extremely close or identical to CEEP’s. In particular, CEEP agrees with the Brok report on stressing the importance of the “values-based overarching framework of [the EU-US] partnership”. At the same time, it rightfully avoids any frontal step by underlining that this partnership “is based on sharing and promoting together common values”. The Lange opinion report also implements this constructive attitude by highlighting examples of fruitful “bilateral cooperation on a wide range of regulatory issues” between EU and US in the past. The reports’ findings also prove to the point by recognising that the EU-US partnership “goes far beyond stricto sensu foreign policy and trade issues and also includes other topics […] [and] that these issues are closely interlinked”.

As the voice of SGI providers at EU level, CEEP finally endorses the reports’ approach in fostering an EU-US relationship on equal footing and in recognising the vital role of SGI and SGEI providers in every economic activity in general, making them particularly relevant stakeholders of in any debate relating to international trade. It also joins the report’s call for “a transatlantic trade agreement, balanced and mutually beneficial, [whose] impact […] would go far beyond trade and economic aspects”.

Should you have any questions on the current work of CEEP on the EU SME Definition, please feel free to contact Alexis Le Coutour, CEEP Policy Officer on Public Services and Trade issues.

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