What is it?
In addition to multilateral trade negotiations within the WTO, the EU conducts a number of negotiations with countries and regions around the world. Bilateral trade and investment agreements can complement WTO agreements to provide new market access for engineering companies. Orgalime’s view is that the EU should continue to conclude bilateral free trade and political agreements with the EU’s main trading partners.
Access to fast-growing markets such as the US, China, Russia, India, Brazil and other emerging markets should be a priority for bilateral trade negotiations. These agreements should cover a broad range of issues, focusing on tariff reduction, technical barriers to trade such as standards and certification requirements, labour mobility, investment rules, the protection of intellectual property rights (IPR), and easier and fairer access to public procurement markets.
Why is it important?
Orgalime represents a fundamentally healthy industry that is a major export sector (over a third of EU manufacturing exports) and also a significant importer, thanks to its extensive supply chain. European engineering is world-leading in many areas of technology and manufacturing. Our companies need access to the world’s largest and most dynamic economies. We therefore expect and count on the Commission to be a key driver of international cooperation and to push for further international trade and economic agreements.
The EU’s trade strategy should focus on shaping globalisation and improving the international competitiveness of the EU’s industrial base. Europe’s success depends to a major degree on the openness of the international economy. Orgalime is carefully monitoring the negotiations for the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) agreement. We believe that it is an important, positive step that would allow both sides to further strengthen the most integrated commercial artery in the world. The EU-South Korea Free Trade Agreement (FTA) entered into force in 2011 and we continue to monitor it. We insist that an agreement with India, whose negotiations were launched in 2007, should have broad product coverage, with no exemptions. A deal must not foresee a negative list permitting India to maintain tariffs on specific products. Orgalime has been engaged for years in the EU-China regulatory dialogue and conformity assessment working group. However, further simplification of the Chinese Compulsory Certification (CCC) procedure is needed. We are monitoring enforcement to make sure it is conducted diligently. The interest of the engineering industry in an FTA with Japan – negotiations of which are foreseen to be completed by the end of 2016 – lies in non-tariff barriers, since tariffs are already practically completely abolished. Orgalime has monitored developments in the negotiations, with the last round taking place in October 2016.
How we’ve been engaged
Orgalime continues to inform the European Commission (DG TRADE) on our views on current free trade agreement negotiations, explaining our positions, concerns and requests. We also initiate meetings with representatives of the European Commission on issues of trade negotiations. Orgalime is involved in various working groups and business platforms that communicate to institutions their priorities for bilateral and multilateral trade deals.