New EU anti-coercion instrument: Trade is an opportunity for the EU but only if it’s fair and rules-based, says Renew Europe

Author: Jennifer Emilie Richard

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Renew Europe welcomes the Commission’s proposal on a new instrument to respond to economic coercion by third countries presented today. Our group strongly believes trade is an opportunity to foster growth, create jobs and address current and global challenges. Of course, we support open and ambitious trade. But only if it’s fair trade and if all our trade partners respect the rules. If not, the EU has to be able to push back the coercive measures and show it is a trading power that can defend itself.

Renew Europe has worked a lot to strengthen the trade toolbox. Our group pushed for such an instrument that would be able to defend EU interests. Indeed, we cannot be naive. Therefore, we welcome that the Commission has taken into account our proposals. Now, our group is looking forward to work on this new instrument and improve it.

Marie-Pierre Vedrenne, who worked on this issue as the Renew Europe rapporteur on the Enforcement regulation, declared: "I sincerely welcome the Commission’s proposal for a strong and powerful anti-coercion instrument. It is a great victory for the Parliament and the Renew Europe group as it was our demand in my report on the Enforcement of trade rules. Completing our toolbox and filling the gaps were my priority. With his ACI, the European Union will be able to respond and to threaten to any illegal and unilateral measures against our interests and sovereignty. We are asserting our trade power, creating an instrument to play on equal terms with its partners. I have always said that it is not a question of launching trade wars, but rather of ensuring that everyone respects the rules. Dialogue first but with real means of action in our hands. With this instrument, we are concretely building our strategic autonomy, ensuring credibility and defending our interests. This is an excellent start. Now, let’s work to strengthen and maintain this ambition!"

Karin Karlsbro, Renew Europe coordinator in INTA committee added: “Trade policy remains the sharpest foreign policy tool of the European Union. The strength of the internal market will always be important to our trading partners. Armed with the new anti-coercion instrument the EU will enter the post-pandemic future as a strong defender of sustainable free trade with sharp tools to use against any country which does not respect the multilateral order or fundamental human rights