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France

Transparency in International Trade Commercial Negotiations (FR0011)

Overview

At-a-Glance

Action Plan: France, First Action Plan, 2015-17

Action Plan Cycle: 2015

Status: Inactive

Institutions

Lead Institution: Ministry of Ecology, Sustainable Development and Energy; Ministry of the Economy, Industry and the Digital sector; Ministry of the Economy, Industry and the Digital sector; Ministry of State for Foreign Trade, the Promotion of Tourism and French Nationals Abroad, attached to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Development

Support Institution(s): NA

Policy Areas

Labor, Open Data

IRM Review

IRM Report: France End-of-Term Report 2015-2017, France Mid-Term Progress Report 2015-2017

Starred: No

Early Results: Did Not Change

Design i

Verifiable: Yes

Relevant to OGP Values: Access to Information

Potential Impact:

Implementation i

Completion:

Description

STAKES France is engaged in numerous cycles of multilateral trade negotiations which have a strong economic impact. Establishing a dialogue with civil society and establishing transparency about French positions help companies, associations and citizens better understand the issues associated with these policies: public services, preservation of collective preferences (health, social and environmental standards), cultural diversity, non-tariff barriers, access to public contracts, mechanisms for settling disputes, etc.

CONTEXT & AIM Ministry of State for Foreign Trade, the Promotion of Tourism and French Nationals Abroad, attached to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Development is committed to implementing an agenda for transparency in international trade negotiations. A committee for the strategic monitoring of trade policy subjects, composed of two panels, one grouping civil society, non-governmental organizations, unions and professional federations, the second grouping members of Parliament (National Assembly, Senate and European Parliament), has been established in order to best respond to the democratic requirement for transparency in trade negotiations. In March 2015, this strategic monitoring committee was strengthened by the creation of a series of working groups covering a variety of trade policy subjects and open to all members of the committee. On December 2nd 2014, at the initiative of the Ministry of State for Foreign Trade, the Promotion of Tourism and French Nationals Abroad, a series of documents (negotiating mandates, treaties, minutes of the strategic monitoring committee) relating to the Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (CETA) and the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) were published on a dedicated page on diplomatie.gouv.fr and as open data on data.gouv.fr. They follow on from the declassification, by the European Commission, at French instigation, of its mandate for negotiation for the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP). This page is regularly updated and provides direct access to the position documents of the European Commission. All of the minutes of the committee for the strategic monitoring of trade policy subjects will be made available to the public, together with the annual reports to Parliament on trade negotiations. Additional elements, such as mandates, may be added according to the declassification decisions taken by the European Union. The stock of elements concerning past international trade negotiations will be added to this corpus: these are mainly negotiating mandates from the European Commission made public, official position documents made available to the public and the text of trade treaties ratified and made public. Studies and elements for the analysis and evaluation of trade agreements ex post and ex ante, whether they are transverse or sectorial, will also be added to the corpus.

ROADMAP
• Increase transparency on the content of international trade commercial negotiations
- The elements relating to each new international trade negotiation cycle will be made available to the public continuously on the dedicated page on diplomatie.gouv.fr and in open data format on data.gouv.fr
- Additional elements, such as mandates, may be added according to the declassification decisions taken by the European Union
- Elements from past international trade negotiations made available to the public will be added to this corpus, such as negotiating mandates from the European Commission, official position documents and the text of ratified trade treaties
• Ensure as much publicity as possible on evaluations and monitoring of international agreements
- Studies and elements used for the analysis and evaluation of trade agreements ex post and ex ante, whether transverse or sectorial, may also be added
- The Parliament may be informed through the presentation of an annual report on international trade negotiations
- All of the minutes of the committee for the strategic monitoring of trade policy subjects will be made available to the public, together with the annual reports on trade negotiations

IRM End of Term Status Summary

9. Increase Transparency in International Trade Commercial Negotiations

Commitment Text:

Roadmap

· Increase transparency on the content of international trade commercial negotiations

The elements relating to each new international trade negotiation cycle will be made available to the public continuously on the dedicated page on diplomatie.gouv.fr and in open data format on data.gouv.fr

Additional elements, such as mandates, may be added according to the declassification decisions taken by the European Union

Elements from past international trade negotiations made available to the public will be added to this corpus, such as negotiating mandates from the European Commission, official position documents and the text of ratified trade treaties

· Ensure as much publicity as possible on evaluations and monitoring of international agreements

Studies and elements used for the analysis and evaluation of trade agreements ex post and ex ante, whether transverse or sectorial, may also be added

The Parliament may be informed through the presentation of an annual report on international trade negotiations

All of the minutes of the committee for the strategic monitoring of trade policy subjects will be made available to the public, together with the annual reports on trade negotiations

Editorial Note: This is a partial version of the commitment text. For the full commitment text please see France's national action plan: https://bit.ly/2MTYhsR.

Responsible Institutions: Ministry of Ecology, Sustainable Development and Energy; Ministry of the Economy, Industry and the Digital sector; and Ministry of State for Foreign Trade, the Promotion of Tourism and French Nationals Abroad, attached to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Development

Supporting Institution(s): N/A

Start Date: Not Specified 

End Date: Not Specified

Commitment Aim

This commitment aimed to increase transparency in France's international trade policy negotiations by publishing information about past and current trade negotiations, evaluations, and monitoring of international agreements, including meeting minutes from the Committee for the Strategic Monitoring of Trade Policy Subjects. This commitment's objective was to improve access to information regarding commercial negotiations and their impact on national economic policies.

The significance of this commitment emerges in the context of a strong civil society movement opposing international treaties and the opacity of negotiations, shaped by the proliferation of citizen initiatives aimed at obtaining information on the content of the treaties and disseminating it to the general public. An example is the “Stop Tafta” movement which opposes the Transatlantic Free Trade Agreement, otherwise known as the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP). The organisation “La Quadrature du Net” publishes on its website comprehensive information regarding the TTIP and CETA treaties[Note75: CETA, the Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement, is a free-trade agreement between Canada and the EU] including official and leaked documents, translations of the treaties, official communications, and more.

Status

Midterm: Limited

The completion of this commitment was considered limited at the midterm. Twenty documents had been published in PDF format on the open data portal data.gouv.fr on a page dedicated to the TTIP, CETA and TiSA (the Trade in Services Agreement) treaties. Available documents included five of 14 TTIP negotiation cycle reports and six of eight sets of meeting minutes from the committee for the strategic monitoring of trade policy (the rest of the minutes were found on the Ministry of Foreign Affairs website). Overall, few documents were available on the open data portal and the page had not been regularly updated. Regarding evaluations and monitoring of international agreements, a page had been created on the website of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (diplomatie.gouv.fr) to provide information on the committee for the strategic monitoring of trade policy. The page shows the minutes of the committee's meetings from October 2014 until July 2016. It also includes seven thematic group reports. However, the annual report evaluating international trade agreements had not been published. For more information, please see the IRM midterm report.[Note76: Independent Reporting Mechanism, France Rapport D'ètape (OGP, 2017), https://www.opengovpartnership.org/sites/default/files/France_Progress-Report_2015-2017.pdf.%5D

End of Term: Limited

The government self-assessment codes this commitment as substantially complete but does not provide any evidence of new activities implemented since the midterm. The IRM researcher therefore finds completion of this commitment remains limited. The dedicated page for data on trade negotiations on data.gouv.fr still contains twenty documents and nothing indicates that the page had been updated since 2 December 2015.

The government-self assessment does not provide any new information regarding the publicity of evaluations and monitoring of agreements. The dedicated page for MEAE contains links to the minutes of meetings that took place in 2014. The IRM researcher did not find any information about current activities of the monitoring committee.

Did It Open Government?

Access to Information: Did Not Change

Under the leadership of then Secretary of State Matthias Fekl, France committed to making trade negotiations more transparent.[Note77: France Diplomatie, “Politique commerciale - Transparence - Entretiens de Matthias Fekl avec le comité de suivi stratégique (28 au 30 octobre 2014)” (France Diplomatie, 2014), https://www.diplomatie.gouv.fr/fr/politique-etrangere-de-la-france/diplomatie-economique-et-commerce-exterieur/accords-de-libre-echange/comite-de-suivi-strategique-des-sujets-de-politique-commerciale/article/politique-commerciale-transparence-116729; “OGP in the News - Week of November 7, 2016” (OGP, 11 Nov. 2016), https://www.opengovpartnership.org/stories/ogp-news-week-of-november-7-2016.

] Etalab noted that since Mr. Fekl left the Secretariat of External Commerce in March 2017, the issue of transparency of trade negotiations lost traction despite France's international commitments.

The lack of transparency in trade negotiation content and the lack of sustained publicity of trade agreement monitoring and evaluations lead the IRM researcher to conclude that it did not contribute to open government with respect to access to information.

Carried Forward?

This commitment was not carried over to the next action plan.

Theme II: Consult, Debate and Co-create

France's Commitments

  1. Transparency of Public Services

    FR0030, 2018, E-Government

  2. Transparency of Public Procurement

    FR0031, 2018, E-Government

  3. Transparency of Development Aid

    FR0032, 2018, Aid

  4. Expand Open Data

    FR0033, 2018, E-Government

  5. Improved Data Policies and Administration

    FR0034, 2018, Capacity Building

  6. Transparency of Public Algorithms

    FR0035, 2018, E-Government

  7. Open Data at Sub-National Level

    FR0036, 2018, Capacity Building

  8. State AI Lab

    FR0037, 2018, Capacity Building

  9. Administrative Capacity-Building

    FR0038, 2018, Capacity Building

  10. Public Service Incubators

    FR0039, 2018, Capacity Building

  11. Streamline Data Flows

    FR0040, 2018, E-Government

  12. Open Etat Forum

    FR0041, 2018, E-Government

  13. Online Procedures Dashboard

    FR0042, 2018, E-Government

  14. Govtech Summit

    FR0043, 2018, Capacity Building

  15. Imrove Public Consultation Mechanisms

    FR0044, 2018, E-Government

  16. International Transparency and Citizen Participation

    FR0045, 2018, Aid

  17. Public Pariticipation in Sustainable Development

    FR0046, 2018, Capacity Building

  18. Open Science

    FR0047, 2018, E-Government

  19. Citizen Involvement in Cour Des Comptes

    FR0048, 2018, Capacity Building

  20. Private Sector Transparency

    FR0049, 2018, Asset Disclosure

  21. Access to Information on Public Officials

    FR0050, 2018, Asset Disclosure

  22. Open Regional and Local Authorities' Data

    FR0001, 2015, Fiscal Transparency

  23. Publish Municipal Council Decisions and Reports Online

    FR0002, 2015, E-Government

  24. Publish Building Permits in Open Data Format

    FR0003, 2015, Open Data

  25. Starred commitment Increase Transparency in Public Procurement

    FR0004, 2015, Open Contracting and Procurement

  26. Improve Transparency in International Development Aid

    FR0005, 2015, Aid

  27. Open Access to Public Policy Evaluations

    FR0006, 2015, E-Government

  28. Involve Citizens in Cour Des Comptes Work

    FR0007, 2015, Fiscal Transparency

  29. Access to Public Officials Transparency Obligations

    FR0008, 2015, E-Government

  30. Starred commitment Beneficial Ownership

    FR0009, 2015, Beneficial Ownership

  31. Transparency in Extractive Industries

    FR0010, 2015, Extractive Industries

  32. Transparency in International Trade Commercial Negotiations

    FR0011, 2015, Labor

  33. Fix My Neighborhood

    FR0012, 2015, E-Government

  34. Digital Fix-It

    FR0013, 2015, Open Data

  35. Co-Produce Data Infrastructure with Civil Society

    FR0014, 2015, Open Data

  36. Starred commitment Open Legal Resources

    FR0015, 2015, Legislation & Regulation

  37. Reform Participatory Mechanisms

    FR0016, 2015, Public Participation

  38. Mediation and Justice

    FR0017, 2015, Judiciary

  39. Starred commitment Open and Circulate Data

    FR0018, 2015, Land & Spatial Planning

  40. Open Calculation Models and Simulators

    FR0019, 2015, Open Data

  41. Open Platform for Government Resources

    FR0020, 2015, E-Government

  42. Improve Public Services Through E-Government and User Interaction

    FR0021, 2015, E-Government

  43. Empower Civil Society to Support Schools

    FR0022, 2015, E-Government

  44. Diversify Recruitment Within Public Institutions

    FR0023, 2015, Capacity Building

  45. Culture Change

    FR0024, 2015, Capacity Building

  46. Spread Public Innovation

    FR0025, 2015, Capacity Building

  47. Starred commitment Protect Against Conflicts of Interest

    FR0026, 2015, Conflicts of Interest

  48. Civil Society & Transparency in COP21 Conference Planning

    FR0027, 2015, Environment and Climate

  49. Open Data and Climate/Sustainable Development

    FR0028, 2015, Open Data

  50. Collaborate with Civil Society on Climate and Sustainable Development

    FR0029, 2015, Environment and Climate