EU trade ministers to discuss the WTO, free trade agreements and trade relations with the United States

EU trade ministers to discuss the WTO, free trade agreements and trade relations with the United States

The EU’s Foreign Affairs Council will meet on 22 May in Brussels with EU trade ministers playing a key role. In Brussels, Finland will be represented by Minister for Foreign Trade and Development Anne-Mari Virolainen.

The council will discuss continuing work by the World Trade Organization (WTO), as well as exchange views on the EU’s current trade agreements. As the results achieved at last year’s WTO Ministerial Conference were so meagre, the EU’s trade ministers will discuss policies for developing the organisation’s continued work. 

“Finland feels it is important that the WTO is able to continue efficient multilateral negotiations and that the functioning capacity of its dispute resolution system is secured,” Minister Anne-Mari Virolainen states.

The trade ministers will discuss agreements between Japan and the EU and Singapore and the EU, which Member States are currently reviewing.

“I hope that the agreements will be brought into force as swiftly as possible. It is important that our companies are able to make use of the market entry opportunities and competitive advantage provided by these agreements,” Virolainen describes.

Virolainen also feels it is important that free trade negotiations with Australia and New Zealand could be initiated as soon as possible. The negotiation mandates that apply to these countries are to be approved at the meeting.

The Commission will also briefly detail the current status of other trade negotiations. A common understanding has been reached with Mexico at policy level, and negotiations with Mercosur will continue.

Minister Virolainen emphasises that with its trade agreements the EU is sending a strong signal in favour of free trade and in opposition of protectionism.

At the lunch, the ministers will discuss trade relations between the EU and the United States.

Inquiries: Diplomatic adviser to the minister Tuuli-Maaria Aalto, tel. 0295 350 633 and Director General of Department Ilkka-Pekka Similä, tel. +358 (0)295 350 257.

The Ministry for Foreign Affairs’ email addresses follow the format [email protected]