Minister Skinnari invites EU trade ministers to an informal lunch discussion in Brussels

Minister Skinnari invites EU trade ministers to an informal lunch discussion in Brussels

Minister Ville Skinnari will chair an informal lunch meeting of EU trade ministers in Brussels on 1 October and attend the Trade for Her conference on 30 September.

Minister for Development Cooperation and Foreign Trade Ville Skinnari has invited the EU trade ministers to the informal lunch meeting to discuss topical trade policy issues.

The situation at the World Trade Organization (WTO) remains difficult. The WTO’s dispute settlement system will be paralysed at the end of the year, which will undermine the multilateral trading system. According to the Minister, it important for the EU to continue its efforts to maintain a multilateral rules-based system and for the WTO’s dispute settlement system to be preserved.

During its Presidency of the Council of the EU, Finland is emphasising the implementation of free trade agreements, and the ministers will discuss this as well. The European Commission’s annual report on the subject is currently under preparation.

The EU and Mercosur (Argentina, Brazil, Paraguay and Uruguay) were able to reach a political agreement on their free trade deal at the end of June. The meeting will discuss the next steps.

“The agreement itself is an important achievement and opens doors to a relatively closed market. We’re still finalising the technical details, but the economic and geopolitical significance of the agreement is already evident at this stage. And I am sure that the situation in Amazon will come up as well,” Skinnari says.

The ministers will also have the opportunity to exchange views on the current situation in EU–US trade relations and to raise other trade policy issues that they consider important.

Strengthening the role of women in international trade

On the day before the meeting of the trade ministers, Skinnari will attend the Trade for Her conference, which will address the empowerment of women in international trade.

International trade creates and helps to maintain tens of millions of jobs in the EU and elsewhere in the world every year. Men are employed in these jobs considerably more often than women.

EU Trade Commissioner Cecilia Malmström will lead a prestigious discussion forum that aims to propose ways to strengthen the role of women in international trade.

“Supporting women’s entrepreneurship and livelihoods will have far-reaching positive welfare impacts for the society as a whole. When women’s incomes rise and when they have more decision-making power, their children are healthier and they have a better chance of going to school, for example,” Malmström says.

Inquiries: Juha Niemi, Diplomatic Adviser to the Minister for Development Cooperation and Foreign Trade, tel. +358 50 478 1387, and Ilkka-Pekka Similä, Director General, Department for External Economic Relations, tel. +358 50 336 3856.

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