The art of the trade deal includes cities

  • economy

Ruptures in large-scale trade negotiations, and differences in trade outlook with the current US administration, risk weakening the delivery of public services to EU citizens. A spate of bilateral trade agreements, including with Japan, have followed. However, these only address delivery of essential services and citizens’ concerns on an ad hoc basis.

As such, EUROCITIES calls for cities to provide input on ongoing EU trade negotiations to ensure the best outcome for all people.

Anna Lisa Boni, secretary general, EUROCITIES, said:

“We need more, and different, voices included in the negotiating phase of trade agreements. Cities need to be able to give their input on the content and throughout the implementation of EU trade agreements, because of their role in delivering essential services to EU citizens, such as providing clean water or delivering social, health and employment services."

EU trade agreements directly affect cities as they have an impact on regulations related not only to the delivery of public services, but to other areas such as public procurement, and labour and environmental standards.

Boni continued, “The EU-Japan agreement establishes a number of regulatory bodies that may take binding decisions, after the entry into force of the agreement. EUROCITIES, as the network of major cities in Europe, is ready to contribute to the committees on services and investment, and on procurement.”

The recent change in US trade strategy has put TiSA, the Trade in Services Agreement, on hold. Current EU trade agreements being negotiated by the European Commission go far beyond tariffs and trade in goods to cover services, public procurement, and standards. The outcome of negotiations on these aspects will have a huge impact on how cities are able to deliver public services to EU citizens. To ensure quality of delivery, cities’ expertise and knowledge need to be taken into account during ongoing negotiations, such as with Australia and New Zealand. 

City authorities should be recognised for their ability to give specific input and evaluate real impacts on the ground. The bottom line is ensuring the best outcome for European citizens, and cities are best placed to do that.