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THE ECONOMIC AND SOCIAL COUNCIL ADOPTED AN OPINION ON CETA

The Economic and Social Council (ESC) passed late last night at its plenary session an opinion on the following subject: "Potential social, economic, environmental and consumer effects of the Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (CETA) between Canada and the European Union ".

In its opinion, ESC emphasizes its principle position for encouragement and development of the trade relations of Bulgaria and the EU with other developed economies in the world   as a positive policy that the ESC fully supports. At the same time, according to the ESC, the potential risks to the competitiveness of Bulgarian and European businesses, as well as to the introduction of practices that would not be in line with EU social and economic achievements, should be carefully considered. Evaluating the scope of CETA, ESC draws attention in its document to its most important characteristics: the substance of the agreement, country investor dispute settlement mechanisms, defence of foreign investment, the impact of the agreement on public services, the labour market and employment, as well as on environmental standards, food safety and GMOs.

The document ends with ESC recommendations to the Bulgarian Government for a constructive approach and positions for participating in negotiations for such comprehensive trade agreements. Some of them concern the importance of public debates, full transparency of the negotiation process, observance of the interests of Bulgarian producers, protection of sectors of national importance, etc.

In conclusion, ESC stresses that the efforts of the EU institutions and the states should be directed towards the proper implementation of the negotiated agreement.

The ESC opinion on CETA was elaborated by the Commission for Social Policy, the Commission for Labour, Incomes, Living Standards and Industrial Relations and the Commission for International Cooperation and European Integration and it was discussed at several committees’ meetings. A number of state institutions took part with their own positions in the work of these committees, such as the Ministry of the economy, the Ministry of Finance, the Ministry of Labour and Social Policy, The Commission for the Protection of Competition, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the Ministry of Agriculture and Food, the Ministry of Environment and Water, the Executive Agency for Small and Medium-Sized Enterprises.

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