Brussels, 19 July 2019
NOTE TO THE FILE
Subject: summary of the 13th meeting of the ESF Policy Committee
The main issues discussed during the ESF meeting as of 18 July 2019 were the following ones:
1. ESF missions
The ESF sent a mission to Geneva at the beginning of May in order to meet various trade diplomats, including from developing countries. One participant suggested that business people should be allowed to attend official Geneva meetings. This idea was strongly opposed by the Commission (Dietrich) and did not receive any support from ESF members. Mr. Kerneis thought that the close co-operation with the Commission was sufficient to be informed and to channel the ESF positions. For instance, ESF people will be included in the Commission's official delegation in Doha. Moreover, he thought that such a move would lead to have the ESF quite isolated among a large number of NGOs.
The ESF attended the NGO conference on GATS, which took place in Bonn on 21 and 22 May 2019. They did not find it very fruitful. NGOs' main concern pertained to the preservation of public services.
2. ESF position papers
A draft third position paper on the temporary movement of key business personnel was discussed. The definition of key business personnel was controversial. A participant proposed to use the definition set in the European Agreement between the EU and Poland, which is restrictive. A new draft shall be prepared and discussed.
A second position paper on GATS and subsidies is being prepared. Since there is no emergency to tackle this issue and there are uncertainties as to the effect of subsidies on trade, the discussion of the paper is postponed sine diem.
3. Commission's briefings
The Commission (Dietrich and Sergio) reported on various issues, including the latest CTS sessions, Qatar preparation and China. The participants agreed that the quality of the deal with China could be used to ask a lot to other developing countries.
The Commission (Dietrich) confirmed that the ESF members would be consulted after the summer break to review the requests.
Distribution: all in D2
GATSwatch is a joint project of Corporate Europe Observatory and Transnational Institute