Transitioning to greener practices was more sustainable – Valdis Dombrovskis

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Mr Valdis Dombrovskis, Executive Vice-President of the European Commission for an Economy that Works for People and Commissioner for Trade, says that transitioning to greener practices was more sustainable and would help everyone.

That, he said, was part of the EU’s resolve to strike the right balance between building a more sustainable future and pursuing trade policy to accomplish that broad objective, promote innovation, and create market access opportunities for green goods and services.

Mr Dombrovskis made the remarks at the end of a two-day seminar on Sustainability Policies and International Trade organized by the EU in Brussels for 20 journalists from across the world.

He pointed out that the EU, for instance, accepts that trade could and should be used to accelerate a fair transition to a low-carbon, climate-resilient economy.

The European Commission’s Executive Vice-President stated that the EU had changed its approach to Free Trade Agreements to make them more conducive to the green transition.

“All modern EU trade agreements contain rules on trade and sustainable development, having so-called Trade and Sustainability Development Chapters.

“We also mainstream sustainability throughout our trade agreements to prioritise the liberalisation of green goods and services, liberalise trade in raw materials and energy goods for the climate transition, promote sustainable public procurement and remove barriers to trade and investment in renewable energy,” he said.

Mr Dombrovskis said the EU’s Green Deal aims to achieve climate neutrality by 2050 and a 55 per cent reduction in greenhouse gas emissions by 2030.

“It is clear that the introduction of these measures will impact how we produce, consume, and invest, and also on our relationship with our international partners.

“But we all need to step up our efforts and actions both internationally and domestically. The question is not if we introduce measures, but how we design and implement them”.

Mr Dombrovskis stated that the EU was committed to continuous transparency and active involvement, as well as genuine consideration of concerns, during both the design and implementation phases of its measures.

He said that the EU would continue to work with third-country partners to develop and implement measures such as EU Deforestation Regulation implementation guidelines and the Carbon Border Adjustment Mechanism.

Mr Dombrovskis assured that the EU would facilitate implementation using all available tools and mechanisms, including operator guidelines, third-country stakeholder involvement in the development of implementation tools, and capacity building to help countries meet EU requirements.

“So, the aim is not just to minimise negative impacts on trade, but to create opportunities for third countries’ green economy to emerge and flourish.

“All these elements are part of our overall external strategy aiming to place our necessary sustainability measures within a wider, collaborative, international context that responds to climate change in a decisive manner,” he said.

By Albert Oppong-Ansah, Courtesy European Union

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