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Trade

Domestic Advisory Groups

Domestic Advisory Groups advise on the implementation of trade agreements.

Trade topics
  • Negotiations and agreements
  • Trade policy

Domestic Advisory Groups: mandate and selection process

For most trade agreements since the 2011 EU-Korea Free Trade Agreement, a Domestic Advisory Group (DAG) is set up in the EU and in the partner country or countries to advise on the implementation of the trade agreement or parts of it.

The DAGs seek to advise the parties to trade agreements, on the basis of information they obtain from their members or partner organisations in the countries concerned, to help improve implementation of the agreements.

Starting with the EU-United Kingdom Trade and Cooperation Agreement, the DAG mandate was widened to cover agreements in their entirety.

The DAGs seek to achieve balanced representation of business organisations, trade unions, environmental and other organisations. To become a member of an EU DAG, an EU organisation must:

    • Be an independent and not-for-profit civil society organisation;
    • Represent or promote EU interests;
    • Have specific expertise or competence on areas covered by the mandate of the DAG, and;
    • Be registered in both the Transparency Register of the European Commission/European Parliament/Council of the EU and in the Civil Society Dialogue database of DG Trade.
    • Some members are designated by the European Economic and Social Committee (EESC).

Civil society meetings and involvement in trade agreements

DAG members meet several times a year to discuss issues under their mandate in the framework of a trade agreement. They advise the EU and its trade partners, who discuss the issues raised at their annual meeting. Once per year, a joint civil society meeting is organised under each trade agreement. This meeting is generally open to all civil society organisations beyond DAG members. The DAGs from the EU and from the partner country or countries also meet in a back-to-back session alongside the joint meeting.

Trade and Sustainable Development (TSD) Review

In DG Trade’s TSD Review of June 2022, the Commission outlined several measures to ensure more participation and support for civil society:

  • Make it easier for civil society and DAGs to lodge complaints on violations of sustainability commitments in trade agreements
  • Introduce timelines for the Commission to follow as a general rule when dealing with TSD complaints, by updating the Operating Guidelines for the Single Entry Point on trade agreements;
  • Better involve DAGs in technical assistance projects and in meetings with EU Member States;
  • Ensure more transparency regarding the work of the DAGs, including publishing the lists of participating organisations, and promoting interaction between DAGs, and;
  • Further strengthen the role of EU DAGs by providing resources for their functioning.

Further information on involving civil society organisations

Any EU civil society organisation can file a complaint on sustainability issues in EU trade agreements. Consultation with civil society begins long before an agreement enters into force. The EU engages with civil society before negotiations for an agreement have even begun. The Commission keeps receiving input throughout the process via Civil Society Dialogue meetings and regular contact with stakeholders. It also publishes negotiation round reports and other relevant documents.

The Commission conducts Sustainability Impact Assessments (SIAs), which are in-depth analyses of the potential economic, social, human rights and environmental impacts of ongoing trade negotiations, as well as ex-post evaluations to assess whether trade agreements are working as expected in achieving their objectives and why. These assessments are an opportunity for stakeholders in both the EU and in the partner countries to share their views with the Commission.

Find below the list of EU DAGs information on joint meetings between DAG members from both parties, and on Trade and Sustainable Development Committees between the EU and partner countries.

CANADA

CARIFORUM

CENTRAL AMERICA

COLOMBIA/ECUADOR/PERU – ANDEAN COMMUNITY

GEORGIA

JAPAN

MOLDOVA

REPUBLIC OF KOREA

SINGAPORE

UKRAINE

UNITED KINGDOM

VIETNAM

More information

2023 call for the renewal of Domestic Advisory Groups (closed on 9 May 2023)

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