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Following about seven years of negotiations, the EU and China reached an agreement in principle on investment shortly before the end of 2020. However, it will take a while until the agreement, which is supposed to facilitate EU investors’ access to the Chinese Market and to ensure sustainable development, will come into force.

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If the EU wants to achieve its goal of climate neutrality by 2050 and not jeopardise the implementation of the Green Deal, trade policy will also have to make a contribution. Afterall, international trade with its global net of value chains and long transport routes, increasingly adds to the rise in greenhouse gas emissions.  

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Trade Commissioner Valdis Dombrovskis plans for EU trade policy to place more focus on the subject of sustainability. Apart from a future initiative at WTO level, a new EU complaint mechanism shall also lead to improvements. However, looking at the Commission’s past initiatives, expectations are rather low. a

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For two years now, negotiations have been ongoing at WTO level concerning new rules for electronic commerce. As one of 42 civil society organisations, the Chamber of Labour has issued a declaration insisting that the protection of the fundamental right to data protection and privacy will take top priority.

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With a Comprehensive Agreement on Investment, the EU seeks to herald the start of a new era of cooperation with China before the end of 2020. However, this is proving to be difficult – not least because China shows (too) little willingness to improve the human rights and labour law situation in the country.

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Already before the crisis, discussions were going on as to which opportunities and risks trade agreements (might) bring for women. Now, the COVID-19 crisis has a particular serious impact on women – also in respect of international trade.

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On 12 October 2020, the European Parliament's Committee on International Trade for the fifth time invited guests to the Trade Policy Day. Within the scope of this event, MEPs, scientists and stakeholders discussed what a new EU trade policy should look like after the Coronavirus crisis.

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Following the resignation of former Trade Commissioner Phil Hogan, the Commission has reassigned two portfolios. Whilst in future, Vice Commission President Valdis Dombrovskis will also be responsible for trade policy, the Irish politician Mairead McGuinness will assume the financial services portfolio.

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The so-called “Golfgate” scandal has terminated the tenure of EU Trade Commissioner Phil Hogan following his appointment only just a year earlier. His responsibilities will be assumed by Executive Vice President Valdis Dombrovskis. However, it is currently uncertain, what will happen to the two major Free Trade Agreements EU-Mercosur and CETA.