As the proposed new EU Trade Commissioner, Cecilia Malmström, prepares for her hearing with the International Trade Committee this afternoon, Trade Out of Poverty have published 10 policy priorities asking her to recognise that trade policy is not just about promoting the EU’s direct commercial interests: it is also a key tool to stimulate economic growth in the developing world.
Our priorities, produced in collaboration with the Overseas Development Institute, show how the incoming EU Trade Commissioner could make the biggest impact in terms of development and help the World’s poorest nations to trade out of poverty.
In light of the continued failure of the WTO to make serious headway on the Doha Round, the EU should lead by example and start implementing the development aspects of Doha unilaterally.
Trade Out of Poverty Co-Chair Peter Lilley said:
“It is both hypocritical and self-defeating for the EU to give aid to developing countries while simultaneously blocking their trade – especially as trade is such a crucial part of the route from poverty to prosperity.
The EU has taken welcome steps to remove barriers facing poor countries’ exports, but there is still much to be done. The EU’s trade with the poorest countries remains pitifully low and largely stagnant. They account for a seventh of the world’s population but only one fortieth of EU imports. The scope for growth is immense. The EU must recognise that expanding trade is a “win-win” tool that benefits rich and poor countries alike – the more the poorest countries can export to us the more they will buy from us.”
ODI lead researcher Dr Yurendra Basnett said:
“EU trade policy lacks development and EU development policy lacks trade. While Europe continues to grapple with the effects of the economic crisis, there is a natural temptation for countries to turn in on themselves, but this would be a profound mistake – damaging to the EU, but devastating to the poorest countries.
The new EU Trade Commissioner must not lose sight of the development dimension in conducting Europe’s trade policy. Trade and development policy are not separate agendas and a Commission that works in silos makes no sense in a world where poverty, prosperity and trade are so interconnected. No country has gone from poverty to prosperity without engaging in trade and Europe will prosper if the world is prospering”
10 Policy Priorities for the EU Trade Commissioner:
- Strengthen the link between development and trade in EU policy-making
- Ensure developing-country voices are heard in making trade rules
- Diversify trade with developing countries
- Abolish tariff peaks
- Revise rules of origin for 21st century trade
- Protect poor countries from trade defence measures
- Provide a level playing field for agricultural trade
- Promote environmentally-friendly trade with developing countries
- Build the capacity of developing countries to meet EU trade standards
- Increase business networks between EU and developing countries
As the proposed new EU Trade Commissioner, Cecilia Malmström, prepares for her hearing with the International Trade Committee this afternoon, Trade Out of Poverty have published 10 policy priorities asking her to recognise that trade policy is not just about promoting the EU’s direct commercial interests: it is also a key tool to stimulate economic growth in the developing world