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Transparency in EU trade policy: 2021 statistics for DG TRADE

The European Commission’s Directorate-General for Trade (DG TRADE) continues to attach great importance to transparency and public access to documents. The following statistics provide an indication of the resources and efforts put into this in 2021.

Trade topics
Negotiations and agreementsTrade policy

Access to Documents

In 2021, DG TRADE:

  • handled a total of 291 requests for Access to Documents, and;
  • identified and assessed more than 1,200 documents in response to such requests, amounting to approximately 11,750 pages.
  • The largest number of requests was categorised as originating from law firms (about 33%), followed by citizens (17%), journalists (17%), NGOs (12%), academic institutions (12%), companies and associations (7%), and others (2%).

In 76% of the cases, DG TRADE granted full or partial access to the documents concerned (partial access means certain content needed to be redacted to protect personal data or due to the application of relevant exceptions to protect, for example, the EU’s international relations or commercially sensitive information). Only in 11% of replies were the documents withheld based on the exceptions of the Regulation. 13% of the cases were closed for other reasons (of a different nature: e.g. in cases where the scope of the request did not fall under the remit of DG TRADE, or where the request was in fact not an application for Access to Documents, but a request for information, requiring handling under a different type of procedure). 

Proactive transparency

In 2021 DG TRADE proactively published:

  • information on 73 meetings of committees and dialogues set up in the framework of EU trade agreements;
  • 15 negotiation round reports (covering all ongoing negotiations with third countries including New Zealand, Australia, Chile, etc.);
  • information on 13 meetings of trade-related Expert Groups;
  • all six Commission decisions on Member States’ Bilateral Investment Treaties, and;
  • non-sensitive summary records of the Trade Defence Instruments committee;

In addition, DG TRADE

  • organised 22 Civil Society Dialogue meetings and four events with stakeholders to update on ongoing individual negotiations and the overall trade agenda;
  • launched six own-initiative public consultations and published another two as part of the better regulation process, and;
  • replied to more than 360 questions forwarded by the Europe Direct Contact Centre (EDCC). Overall, the EDCC received and handled more than 2,160 trade-related questions received from all parts of society (citizens, academics, students, etc.).

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