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On 13 September, in his annual State of the Union address, European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker stated that he wants to "strengthen our European trade agenda. Yes, Europe is open for business. But there must be reciprocity. We have to get what we give. Trade is not something abstract. Trade is about jobs, creating new opportunities for Europe's businesses big and small. Every additional €1 billion in exports supports 14,000 extra jobs in Europe. Trade is about exporting our standards, be they social or environmental standards, data protection or food safety requirements. And today, we are proposing to open trade negotiations with Australia and New Zealand. I want all of these agreements to be finalised by the end of this mandate. And I want them negotiated in the fullest transparency. Open trade must go hand in hand with open policy making."
Following the State of the Union speech by President Jean-Claude Juncker, the Commission has unveiled a weighty package of trade and investment proposals for a progressive and ambitious trade agenda. The proposals include the creation of a European screening framework to ensure that foreign direct investment does not compromise the EU's strategic interests when it comes to security and public order, as well as draft mandates to open trade negotiations with Australia and New Zealand. In a move to make the EU's trade policy the most transparent and inclusive in the world, the Commission has decided to set up an Advisory Group on EU trade agreements and to publish as of today any new proposal for negotiating mandates. Finally, today's proposals include a draft mandate to start negotiations towards the creation of a multilateral investment court.
EU Trade Commissioner Cecilia Malmström said: "The world needs leaders in trade. The EU continues to champion free and fair trade, at the forefront of a group of like-minded countries. Today's package of proposals shows this leadership in action. It also demonstrates our determination to develop EU trade policy in a way that's as open and inclusive as possible. And in the coming weeks I will be working closely with the European Parliament and EU governments, through the Council of the EU, to move these proposals forward as quickly as possible."
Read here the Factsheet on the launch of the EU's trade negotiations with Australia as well as the latest Factsheet on transparent and inclusive trade negotiations.