EU trade policy - Towards global leadership?

23 March 2015

In this policy briefing, the European Union’s Commissioner for Trade Cecilia Malmström set out the main elements of the EU’s trade policy. Among other things, she argued that there was a need for more transparency in trade talks as people want to be informed about what is going on. The debate on the EU’s Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) with the US, which takes up around 80% of her time as commissioner, shows that there are lots of concerns and these concerns must be addressed. Acknowledging that there was strong opposition to TTIP in three or four countries, she argued that the way to address that was via increased transparency and meeting groups to listen to their concerns. EU member states also need to engage with their national citizens, she added, pointing out that if one EU country says ‘no’, there will be no TTIP agreement. She was not sure if a TTIP deal could be reached before the next presidential elections in the US. She was also cautiously optimistic that an agreement on the Doha round of negotiations at the World Trade Organisation might be reached at the end of the year.