A summary of the reports back to the Committee is now available.
EP INTA Committee – 23 November 2017
Monitoring Groups Activities
– Reporting back to committee
The Chair Bernd Lange (S&D, DE)
- the monitoring groups activities were an important part of the work of the Committee;
- on 12 October, an exchange of views had been held with former TTIP negotiator Ignacio Garcia Bercero and John Clarke from DG AGRI, as there were some ongoing issues regarding agricultural matters which would also be raised at WTO level;
- the situation was still unclear and he was not sure about the direction the US was taking. He was also unsure about the steel industry situation;
- the US position in the run-up to the WTO Ministerial Conference was also being closely examined. He stated that overall, it was important not to allow any failures (in particular on the appeal procedure) at WTO-level;
- on 17 October, another monitoring group meeting had taken place regarding Japan. The group had met with the Chief Negotiator who had updated them on the latest state-of-play. The agreement was almost ready;
- on 18 October, the monitoring group on South Asia had addressed Pakistan and GSP+.
Sajjad Karim (ECR, UK)
- a meeting of the monitoring group had taken place with representatives from Pakistan present;
- the visit had taken place ahead of the discussions on the GSP+ implementation report which was currently being discussed by the Commission. The report would be presented to the Committee in early 2018;
- 70% of imports into the EU were under the GSP+ regime. He welcomed the significant progress made in Pakistan, but serious concerns remained concerning death penalty issues, children’s rights, torture, ill-treatment by law enforcement, corruption, misuse of blasphemy laws and freedom of expression;
- the Minister from Pakistan stressed that the GSP+ regime was not only about trade but also about delivering on commitments that would bring prosperity to the country. The delegation also stressed that the EU should be considering cooperation post-2023. GSP should not be the limit of ambitions on both sides;
- the delegation stressed that trade and human and social rights went hand-in-hand;
- federal oversight was mentioned as a particular challenge for Pakistan;
- there also needed to be increased monitoring of implementation of international commitments;
- exports needed to be diversified. Pakistan relied too much on textile exports;
- business-to-business links and cooperation also needed to be improved;
- the monitoring group stressed that enhanced cooperation wit GSP+ monitoring bodies as required;
- it had been a good opportunity for both sides to hold an exchange of views with a view to the Commission’s report next year;
- he raised the issue of Sri Lanka and stated that he had serious concerns regarding the direction of travel.
David Martin (S&D, UK)
- the monitoring group meeting on ASEAN had focused on Indonesia;
- a good exchange had taken place with the Commission but it the status of negotiations was still disappointing;
- the last round had taken place in Brussels from 11 to 15 September;
- it appeared that Indonesia was backtracking on a number of commitments they had made. Agreement would be difficult on SPS issues, market access to public procurement, services and investment;
- however there was openness on intellectual property rights and geographical indications from the Indonesian sights;
- he stated that a reason for a lack of progress could be the focus on the Australia-Indonesia free trade agreement;
- the Indonesian delegation stated that negotiations could be concluded by the end of 2018, although the Commission regarded this as “very, very optimistic”.
The Chair Bernd Lange (S&D, DE)
- the Commission had rejected the invitation by the Brexit monitoring group to discuss the WTO tariff rate quotas. However, a discussion would still take place in the Committee.
Source: One Policy Place