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Committee on International Trade

16 February 2010
by Ina Dimireva -- last modified 17 February 2010

Responsibilities, contacts and latest studies of the Committee on International Trade


The Committee is responsible for:

matters relating to the establishment and implementation of the Union's common commercial policy and its external economic relations, in particular:

  1. financial, economic and trade relations with third countries and regional organisations;
  2. measures of technical harmonisation or standardisation in fields covered by instruments of international law;
  3. relations with the relevant international organisations and with organisations promoting regional economic and commercial integration outside the Union;
  4. relations with the WTO, including its parliamentary dimension.

The committee liaises with the relevant interparliamentary and ad hoc delegations for the economic and trade aspects of relations with third countries.

Secretariat contact

Fax (Brussels): + 32.2.28-31251
Fax (Strasbourg): + 33.3.881-73909


Meeting documents

Plenary Conference with the WTO

The European Parliament was invited to participate in the 2008 Session of the Parliamentary Conference on the WTO on the following topics:

1. Looking beyond Doha

2. Can international trade help mitigate climate change?

3. Trade in the era of digital revolution (Interactive Panel Discussion)

Final Declaration

Latest studies of the committee

Study on SMEs and International Trade from 28.10.2008

Recent empirical evidence on the international activities of European firms shows that efficiency gains from exporting seem to accrue only to medium and large exporters, due to the presence of relevant fixed costs in the exporting activity. The surveyed policies on the status of SMEs in international trade practices have shown that fixed costs are likely to persist in the future, due to the increasing complexity of international trade operations, and the lack of a systematic policy related to SMEs within the multilateral negotiating framework. Even within a regional approach to economic integration (regionalism), the existence of significant costs of implementation in the rules of origin act as an important obstacle for the access of SMEs to the integrating area. Some proposals specifically related to SMEs start being discussed in international fora (specific provisions for SMEs within FTAs, or a special clause on SMEs needs within the WTO negotiations), but practical actions are still lacking. The same discussed changes to provisions on geographical indications of products or public procurement do not seem to be specifically centred on the needs of SMEs, and thus are not likely to significantly foster their involvement in international trade activities.
In the absence of policies aimed at a systemic reduction of fixed costs for SMEs within the working of international markets, Governments have been trying to reduce the fixed costs of their international involvement via a number of export promotion policies. However, the results of these policy actions are not clear-cut, with the surveyed evidence pointing to mixed results obtained in terms of effective support for the internationalization of SMEs.

Full Report

Study on the Trade and Economic Relations between the EU and the Western Balkans from 01.09.2008

This paper presents an overview of the current state (mid2008) of the economic relations between the EU and the Western Balkan countries. The text starts with a description of bilateral relationships, followed by recent data on trade and investment. Then follows a brief description of intraBalkan integration. After that, each Western Balkan countrys integration into the global economy is discussed. The last section concludes. The paper argues that integration has proved to be a successful tool in support of the economic development and also, to some extent, in stabilising a politically sensitive region. Therefore, for the EU, it is worth pushing for the next steps in bilateral and regional integration as strongly as possible and thus enhancing stability and sustainable growth. The EU is in an ideal position to press on reforming Western Balkan institutions and condition its assistance in fighting corruption. Within the traderelated measures, the focus should be on the effective reduction of nontariff barriers to trade, as this may strongly accelerate catchup processes in the region. Given the economic recovery so far and the earlier experience of the current new member countries, it can be foreseen that the returns to unskilled labour in the region will gradually decrease over time. Therefore, it is desirable to support actions which may increase the skills of the whole workingage population in the Western Balkans and help to lessen current and future social pressures. Although EU–Western Balkan relations have been dominated by the concern of enhancing security in the region, the paper does not address this issue, at least not directly.

Source: European Parliament

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