3 February 2016
Emma McClarkin MEP, Conservative spokesman for International Trade, today welcomed the adoption of a report containing the European Parliament’s recommendations to the European Commission on negotiations for the Trade in Services Agreement (TiSA), while noting caution regarding some of the Parliaments demands.
The report itself was agreed upon in the committee vote in the trade committee two weeks ago and has now been given the green light by a large majority of the Parliament.
TiSA is being negotiated between 23 countries, including the European Union bloc, encompassing 70% of world trade in services. It looks to build upon the existing General Agreement on Trade in Services (GATS) by improving rules such as those on licensing, financial services and telecoms, while updating GATS to include 21st century issues such as digital services, e-commerce and help for SMEs.
The European Commission acts as the European Union’s negotiator in trade deals such as these, taking it’s mandate from the European Council. The Parliament feeds into the process throughout by way of reports such as that adopted today before a vote on the final deal once negotiations are concluded.
Speaking after the vote, Emma said:
“The European Parliament has now given a clear signal to the European Commission that it supports it’s negotiating mandate, while emphasising areas where the Commission should be cautious, such as ensuring that Europe’s public services are protected. Todays vote should be seen as a push to the Commission to deliver on it’s trade strategy.
Ms McClarkin did however, highlight some problems with some of the asks from the Parliament. She continued:
“The report emphasises that this should be an ambitious trade deal and I fully agree. That is why I believe that the Commission should continue to aim towards guarantees that European businesses will be treated equally to national businesses in third countries, rather than taking on board calls to drop standstill and ratchet clauses from market access and national treatment commitments which could open the way for trade partners to discriminate against our companies.
We must also be careful about using labour and social standards to suspend or reverse the deal which will lead to the exclusion of developing countries, who may struggle to meet the standards that we in the developed world take for granted. Instead, we should engage with the developing world through trade, which will leave it better off and in turn better prepared to comply with the standards we hold dear.
“I look forward to more progress in these negotiations in the hope that TiSA becomes a reality as soon as possible, which estimates suggest could add 26 billion Euros to the EUs annual GDP. Europe is a leader in the export of quality services and we must play our role at the top table to ensure the rules match our interests.”
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