EU: Green Deal meets Trade Compliance

On 14 January 2020, the has unveiled its financial plan for moving to a green economy and making the EU climate neutral. "The transformation ahead of us is unprecedented," said EU chief Ursula von der Leyen.

While the Green Deal is aiming to achieve carbon neutrality in the European Union by 2050, the EU also recently increased its emissions reductions target for 2030 to between 50% and 55% compared with 1990 levels.

The European Green Deal covers all sectors of the economy, notably transport, energy, agriculture, buildings, and industries such as steel, cement, ICT, textiles and chemicals.

To set into legislation the political ambition of being the world's first climate neutral continent by 2050, the Commission will present within 100 days the first ‘European Climate Law'.

To reach the climate and environmental ambition, the Commission will also present the Biodiversity Strategy for 2030, the new Industrial Strategy and Circular Economy Action Plan, the Farm to Fork Strategy for sustainable food and proposals for pollution-free Europe. Work will immediately start for upping Europe's 2030 emissions targets, setting a realistic path to the 2050 goal.

Some noteworthy elements of recent communication:

A carbon border adjustment mechanism

Should differences in levels of ambition worldwide persist, as the EU increases its climate ambition, the Commission will propose a carbon border adjustment mechanism, for selected sectors, to reduce the risk of carbon leakage. This would ensure that the price of imports reflect more accurately their carbon content. This measure will be designed to comply with World Trade Organization rules and other international obligations of the EU. It would be an alternative to the measures that address the risk of carbon leakage in the EU’s Emissions Trading System. Announced for 2021.

EU Trade Policy & the Green Deal

Trade policy can support the EU’s ecological transition. It serves as a platform to engage with trading partners on climate and environmental action. Commitments to sustainability have been continuously strengthened in EU trade agreements, in particular with regard to enhancing climate change action.

Chief Enforcement Officer

The Commission has also been stepping up efforts to implement and enforce the sustainable development commitments of EU trade agreements, and these efforts will be further enhanced with the appointment of a Chief Trade Enforcement Officer.

Paris agreement as an essential element of future comprehensive trade agreements

On climate change more specifically, the EU’s most recent agreements all include a binding commitment of the Parties to ratify and effectively implement the Paris Agreement. The Commission will propose to make the respect of the Paris agreement an essential element for all future comprehensive trade agreements.

Full compliance

All chemicals, materials, food and other products that are placed on the European market must fully comply with relevant EU regulations and standards.


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