Opinion Factsheet  

Wdrażanie umów o wolnym handlu - perspektywa regionalna i lokalna

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Opinion Number: CDR 4764/2019
Rapporteur: MURPHY Michael
Commission: ECON
Status: Adopted
Date: 02/07/2020
 
Highlight the challenges SMEs face in utilising the growh opportunities of FTAs.
Put forward concrete proposals on whant needs to be done to increase the uptake of FTAs by SMEs.
Bring up the vital role local and regional authorities play in translating FTAs to SMEs due to their knowledge of and proximity to SMEs on the ground.
Stress the strong regional dimension of FTAs, since thier impact in the EU is felt at regional level and despite the overall economic growth triggered by FTAs, there are some economic sectors, along with the regions hosting them, which are likely to be negatively affected.
Highlight the key role of cohesion policy in enhancing regional competitiveness and help all regions reap the benefits of international trade.
Repeat its lognstanding position that territorial impact assessments can be powerful tools to identify and quantify the possible asymmetric impacts of trade deals on European regions early on.
Express the CoR position on global challenges such as WTO reform, distorted competition caused by foreign subsidies, the role of trade in sustainable development, the link between the Green Deal and trade policy.
THE EUROPEAN COMMITTEE OF THE REGIONS



- welcomes the Commission's annual report on the implementation of FTAs; considers it not only as a crucial step towards increased transparency but also as an effective instrument for providing the public with objective background information about trade agreements negotiated by the EU;

- is of the opinion that more needs to be done to disseminate information about the functioning of international trade, particularly at the level of Member States and their local and regional authorities, which have a key role to play due to their knowledge of and proximity to SMEs on the ground;

- notes with concern that the complexity of rules of origin and of administrative forms required by EU trade partners for granting preferences to EU companies, as well as the effort involved in proving preferential origin, seems to be disproportionate for EU SMEs as they do not have the same resources as big companies;

- holds the view that despite the overall economic growth triggered by FTAs, there are some economic sectors, along with the regions hosting them, which are likely to be negatively affected;

- strongly believes that territorial impact assessments can be powerful tools to identify and quantify the possible asymmetric impacts of trade deals on European regions early on;

- understands that the COVID-19 crisis is a major shock for European and global economies and will distort opportunities from global trade for European SMEs.

- welcomes additional funds assigned for Cohesion Policy, which can be used to fight the economic impact of the crisis, including by provision of investment and liquidity into affected SMEs on ground, particularly those in the hardest hit sectors. This will ensure that as many businesses and employment places are rescued

Importance

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Michael Murphy Interview on the benefits of a sustainable trade policy for local and regional economies

In this interview, Michael Murphy (IE/EPP), Member of Tipperary County Council, CoR Rapporteur on the 'Implementation of Free Trade Agreement (FTAs): the regional and local perspective', and Chair of the CoR ECON commission answers five questions on the importance of global trade for Europe's local economies, both in tackling the consequences of the pandemic and in promoting sustainability.

 
26 Jun
 

The CoR rapporteur, Michael Murphy, meets with DG TRADE

On 12 March 2021, Michael Murphy discussed the implementation of FTAs with
Ms Geraldine Emberger, Senior Advisor on FTA Implementation, Directorate G - Trade Strategy and Analysis, Market Access, DG Trade. The meeting served to raise some points from the local and regional perspective and to gather the COM views on these.

 
12 Mar
 

Trade Commissioner Phil Hogan takes part in the ECON meeting

Trade Commissioner Phil Hogan joined the members of the European Committee of the Regions' (CoR) commission for economic policy (ECON) on 2 March to discuss the opportunities and obstacles of implementing EU Free Trade Agreements (FTAs) on local and regional level. In his opening statement he stressed that “The voice of our regions will be crucially important if we are to shape EU policies that are effective as well as accepted. This is where the Committee of the Regions brings such huge added value. Your members have their ear to the ground across Europe and, in this way, you add democratic legitimacy to EU policies”.

 
02 Mar
 

Stakeholders consultation on Implementation of Free Trade Agreements

Mr Michael Murphy met with key stakeholders to discuss practical aspects of the implementation of FTAs and possible to enhance the take-up of FTAs at regional level:
Ms. Eleonora Catella, Senior Adviser, BusinessEurope
Mr. Pekka Pesonen, Secretary General, Copa and Cogeca
Ms. Léa Auffret, Senior Trade Policy Officer, Team Leader, BEUC
Mr. Luc Hendrickx, Director, Competitiveness of Enterprises - External Relations - Legal Affairs, SME-united
Mr. Dominic Boucsein, Head of International Trade and Foreign Policy, Eurochambres
Ms. Denise Ho, Junior Policy Advisor, Eurochambres
Mr. Louis Hinzen - Senior Manager Economic Affairs, fooddrinkeurope
Mr. Laurens van Delft - in replacement of the chair of our Trade Working Group, fooddrinkeurope
Ms. Marie Audren - Vice-Chair of Trade Working Group, fooddrinkeurope

 
06 Feb
 

EPRS In-Depth Analysis of CETA implementation: SMEs and Regions in focus

This in depth analysis was requested by the CoR and the findings fed into the CoR opinion. The analysis was presented at the CoR-EUROCHAMBRES workshop by Ms Monika Nogaj, Head of Unit, External Policies Unit, EPRS and by the two authors of the analysis, Ms Jana Titievskaia, Trade Analyst, External Policies Unit, EPRS, and Mr Ioannis Zachariadis, Economic Policies Unit, EPRS.

 
18 Nov
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