This week, the European Parliament adopted the INI report on the trade-related aspects and implications of COVID-19. Samira Rafaela was the shadow rapporteur on behalf of Renew. With the report, the Parliament sends a clear message on international trade, emphasizing that Post-Covid-19 trade must be green, fair, and based on cooperation with our global partners. 

Key in this regard is the enforceability of TSD chapters of Free Trade Agreements. An important step in this regard is making TSD more robust, with the possibility of sanctions if a partner does not comply with standards within an FTA. To ensure compliance in trade policy, the Commission must develop a comprehensive framework for trade agreements with concrete targets to advance a wide range of TSD measures. Parliament must in turn have a bigger role in scrutinizing trade policy, based on coherent, clear, measurable, and objective criteria for trade agreements.

Global trade must be based on rules, fair competition, and a level playing field, working for all actors involved. Fair and green trade also means that businesses in Europe should have responsibility for their value chains. Trade needs to be able to address issues such as forced labour through mandatory due diligence legislation. Additionally, the EU must specifically contribute to women empowerment through trade. For example, by developing instruments such as chapters on gender and trade in our trade agreements, and gender mainstreaming of trade policy.

Effectively achieving our goals means that the EU must cooperate with partners to achieve its goals. This includes advancing our green and digital ambitions, WTO reform, and vaccine solidarity. This also means that the EU must remain committed to the Overseas Countries and Territories, and the role they have within the European Union. They are an important part of our European family and deserve our fullest attention.

The Parliament is clear in its report. By working with our partners, the EU can shape the future of trade to become more sustainable, fair, and open.

“The EU’s trade policy has the potential to contribute not only to the EU’s goals, but also to the advancement of green and fair trade worldwide. Strengthening trade agreements and enforcing them effectively can contribute to the advancement of our policy goals globally in a cooperative manner.

– Samira Rafaela MEP, D66/Renew Europe