Ended with Response
Ended with Response

A renewed Trade Policy for a stronger Europe – Consultation note

About this consultation

In June 2020, the European Commission launched a major review of EU Trade Policy, including a public consultation seeking input from the European Parliament, Member States, stakeholders and civil society. It provides a paper ‘A renewed trade policy for a stronger Europe – consultation note', which includes 13 consultation questions. The results of the consultation will feed into a communication, to be published towards the end of the year.


The European Commission aims to build consensus around fresh medium-term direction for EU trade policy, responding to a variety of new global challenges and taking into account the lessons learned from the coronavirus crisis.

Proposed changes

The European Commission’s aims include a trade and investment policy that supports economic recovery, the creation of quality jobs, protection from unfair practices and coherence related to sustainability, climate change, the digital economy and security. The consultation covers all relevant topics to EU trade policy, with a stated special focus on the following:

  • Building a resilient and sustainable EU economy after the coronavirus
  • Reforming the World Trade Organisation
  • Creating global trade opportunities for businesses and in particular SMEs
  • Maximising the contribution of trade policy to addressing key global challenges, such as climate change, sustainable development or the digital transition
  • Strengthening of trade and investment relationships with key trading partners
  • Improving the level playing field and protecting EU business and citizens

Consultation questions

There are 13 consultation questions from the European Commission, as follows:

  1. How can trade policy help to improve the EU’s resilience and build a model of open strategic autonomy?
  2. What initiatives should the EU take – alone or with other trading partners - to support businesses, including SMEs, to assess risks as well as solidifying and diversifying supply chains?
  3. How should the multilateral trade framework (WTO) be strengthened to ensure stability, predictability and a rules-based environment for fair and sustainable trade and investment?
  4. How can we use our broad network of existing FTAs or new FTAs to improve market access for EU exporters and investors, and promote international regulatory cooperation ̶ particularly in relation to digital and green technologies and standards in order to maximise their potential?
  5. With which partners and regions should the EU prioritise its engagement? In particular, how can we strengthen our trade and investment relationships with the neighbouring countries and Africa to our mutual
  6. How can trade policy support the European renewed industrial policy?
  7. What more can be done to help SMEs benefit from the opportunities of international trade and investment? Where do they have specific needs or particular challenges that could be addressed by trade and investment policy measures and support?
  8. How can trade policy facilitate the transition to a greener, fairer and more responsible economy at home and abroad? How can trade policy further promote the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs)? How should implementation and enforcement support these objectives?
  9. How can trade policy help to foster more responsible business conduct? What role should trade policy play in promoting transparent, responsible and sustainable supply chains?
  10. How can digital trade rules benefit EU businesses, including SMEs? How could the digital transition, within the EU but also in developing country trade partners, be supported by trade policy, in particular when it comes to key digital technologies and major developments (e.g. block chain, artificial intelligence, big data flows)?
  11. What are the biggest barriers and opportunities for European businesses engaging in digital trade in third countries or for consumers when engaging in e-commerce?
  12. In addition to existing instruments, such as trade defence, how should the EU address coercive, distortive and unfair trading practices by third countries? Should existing instruments be further improved or additional instruments be considered?
  13. What other important topics not covered by the questions above should the Trade Policy Review address?

IOSH has been pleased to respond, based on our recent submission to the UN-WTO Policy Hackathon on Trade. 

Read IOSH's response