France-Netherlands initiative to strengthen the link between trade policy and sustainable development (07 May 2020)


For over two years, the French government has been spearheading the objective of putting sustainable development at the heart of the European Union’s trade policy, particularly through implementing the CETA Action Plan. This has positioned France at the forefront of projects aimed at coordinating our international trade with the social and environmental objectives defended by the European Union and its Member States.

The serious health crisis caused by COVID-19, which has affected everyone worldwide, and its significant economic consequences, will require economic stimulus. The EU’s trade policy will be one of the tools required for the recovery.

To effectively support the recovery and meet the expectations of European citizens, it will have to fully address all aspects of sustainable development and confirm the ambition of the Green Deal proposed by the European Commission.
With this in mind, the French and Netherlands trade ministers have worked to produce operational proposals in order to better use the EU’s trade policy as a lever for our sustainable development ambitions.

These proposals, which have been sent to the European Commission and the other EU Member States, are focused on six main priorities:

  • Strengthening the chapters on trade and sustainable development in the EU’s trade agreements;
  • Improving the evaluation of their socio-economic and environmental impacts;
  • Harmonizing European goals regarding corporate social responsibility;
  • Including the Paris Agreement in the key elements of the EU’s trade agreements;
  • Proposals for EU carbon border adjustments;
  • Including sustainable development issues within the framework of the World Trade Organization’s work.

Jean-Baptiste Lemoyne, Minister of State attached to the Minister for Europe and Foreign Affairs, will have an opportunity to discuss the implementation of these proposals during the next Trade Policy Monitoring Committee.