In this special briefing, Joanna Sopinska – Trade reporter for EU Trade Insights – picks out the Top 5 Trade priorities that will be discussed by the European institutions under the Dutch Presidency:
- Steering TTIP talks towards conclusion in 2016. Next EU-US negotiating round is expected to take place in early February and will focus on public procurement. A positive outcome on this highly important issue for the EU might pave the way for the launch of end-game talks yet under the Dutch Presidency.
- The conclusion of the EU-Japan free trade talks. The Hague is determined to move the negotiations forward under its term in office. But delicate issues are still on the negotiating table, including trade in agricultural and industrial goods as well as public procurement and non-tariff measures (NTMs). It remains to be seen if six months will be enough for the two teams to reach an agreement on these few outstanding issues.
- The formal conclusion of the CETA agreement. The Dutch Presidency hopes for the successful conclusion of the ongoing legal scrubbing of the CETA in coming months, which is a pre-condition for the formal signing of the agreement scheduled for the second quarter of 2016. This is turn would pave the way for the ratification process to start before the end of the Dutch Presidency. The CETA agreement is expected to enter into force in 2017.
- Steering talks on Market Economy Status (MES) for China. The Commission is expected to come up with a concrete proposal on this issue yet under the Dutch Presidency. However, the final decision on how to address Chinese plea for MES is expected to be taken under the next, Slovenian Presidency. The two Presidencies will have a difficult task to broker a compromise on this highly divisive issue in the Council and later with the European Parliament and the Commission. They have time until 11 December 2016.
- The Dutch Presidency intends to achieve progress on two pending legislative files: a proposal for a regulation on conflict minerals and a proposal for a set of amendments to the 2005 anti-torture regulation.