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S&Ds welcome Commission’s yielding to their demands for stronger and more enforceable TSD chapters as an important step towards a fairer and more sustainable EU trade policy


23 Jun 2022


Trade & Society

The Socialists and Democrats have been spearheading calls for including ambitious sustainable development chapters in all trade agreements for many years. Today’s Commission proposal incorporates many core S&D demands, and MEPs welcome it as it sets EU trade policy on a new, progressive path.

Inmaculada Rodríguez-Piñero, S&D spokesperson on trade, said:

“Trade should benefit both the people and the planet through ambitious Trade and Sustainable Development (TSD) chapters being fully implemented, using sanctions when necessary in case of non-compliance. We want to ensure that all our trade partners, countries and companies share with us the need to abide by social and environmental standards. Non-compliance with the International Labour Organization (ILO) fundamental labour conventions and the Paris Agreement must be sanctioned.

“This is a great step forward. This time, the Commission appears to have taken up our demands. Ambitious Sustainable Development chapters, including sanctions as a last resort, in all future and modernised trade agreements are crucial tools for achieving the goal of trade that benefits the people and the environment. Adding clear and detailed country-specific roadmaps for implementation and involving civil society actors is crucial for driving this change.”

Bernd Lange, S&D MEP and negotiator of the upcoming resolution on the TSD chapters, said:

“The Commission today announced a paradigm shift in EU trade policy, and aligns its overall direction with our demands. Trade must not be conducted at the expense of workers and the environment, but ensures that they benefit from closer ties between countries. To ensure the effective enforceability of provisions on workers’ rights and environmental standards in our trade agreements, we have been calling for a strong sanctions-based mechanism - and our calls have been heard. Including a sanctions-based enforcement mechanism in trade deals will substantially change EU trade policy.

“Today’s paradigm shift is the fruit of many years of hard work in the European Parliament and I am proud of what we have achieved together. This proposal also builds on our successful engagement with the EU-Vietnam trade deal.”