Brussels, 7 October 2020

EaP Trade Panel, September 2020

During the latest meeting of the EaP Trade Panel, EaP CSF representatives Natalia Harbuz (PPD-Network, Belarus) and Viorel Chivriga (IDIS Viitorul, Moldova)  recommended EU stakeholders to continue to involve EaP trade organisations working with SMEs in their planned capacity building and awareness raising actions.

The Trade Panel agenda covered new IT solutions to facilitate trade flows, the EU’s Authorised Economic Operator (AEO) programme, and preparations for the post-2020 EaP trade deliverables.

With a view to support intra-regional trade among partner countries and the EU, as defined by deliverable 8 of the ‘20 Deliverables for 2020’, the EU has commissioned two new websites to provide businesses in the EaP countries and the EU with the essential information they require when making decisions on the exportation of their goods.

The first such tool, expected to be launched in the first half of 2021, is the EaP Trade Helpdesk, which is tailored specifically to the six EaP countries (including through full accessibility in local languages). The second tool, Access-2-Markets, provides similar information, but with a more global scope. This site is due to go live later this year. EaP CSF representative, Natalia Harbuz highlighted that interested CSOs could play a multiplying role in disseminating information and further training local and regional SMEs in using the two tools in their work.

The EU’s Authorised Economic Operators (AEO) system has the potential to facilitate greater trade flows to and from the partner countries. However, before this can happen, the signature of Mutual Recognition Agreements is indispensable.

Turning to the post-2020 EaP deliverables, the European Commission representatives mentioned that several ideas widely emerging from the Structured Consultation such as – the full implementation of the DCFTAs and trade agreements, mutual recognition of AEOs, increasing border crossing points and customs cooperation – will most likely be suggested to be included in the new set of deliverables. More information about the deliverables will be offered at the upcoming Platform and Panel meetings.