EU trade ministers to prepare for WTO Ministerial Conference
Minister for Foreign Trade and Development Ville Tavio will attend an informal meeting of EU trade ministers in Brussels on 22–23 January. The meeting will focus on preparations for the World Trade Organization’s (WTO) Ministerial Conference, and the ministers will also discuss the matter with WTO Director-General. Further, the ministers will discuss the contribution of trade policy to the prosperity and resilience of the EU. A meeting with the Chair of the Committee on International Trade of the European Parliament will also be on the agenda.
EU trade ministers will discuss preparations for the next WTO Ministerial Conference. The WTO’s 13th Ministerial Conference will take place in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates, from 26 to 29 February 2024.
According to Minister for Foreign Trade and Development Ville Tavio, the key goal for Finland and the EU in the upcoming Ministerial Conference is to restore the functioning of the WTO’s dispute settlement.
“Our companies need predictability. A well-functioning dispute settlement mechanism is necessary to ensure that the common rules of international trade are complied with,” says Minister Tavio.
Two new countries, the Comoros and East Timor, are to be accepted as WTO members at the Abu Dhabi Ministerial Conference. This will increase the number of WTO members to 166.
“The desire of new countries to join the WTO demonstrates the world organisation’s appeal. At the same time, wider geographic coverage will strengthen the WTO as an organisation,” says Tavio.
The trade ministers will also exchange views on the objectives of the WTO Ministerial Conference over dinner with WTO Director-General Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala.
The meeting will discuss the EU’s open strategic autonomy from the perspective of trade policy. The ministers will talk about the contribution of trade policy to the prosperity and resilience of the EU. Tavio considers it important that the ongoing EU trade agreement negotiations will be concluded.
“The EU should pursue an active trade policy that opens up new export markets for our companies and supports the diversification of sources of production. This way we can bolster our competitiveness and resilience to crises and reduce our critical dependencies,” Tavio says.
The trade ministers will exchange views with Bernd Lange, Chair of the Committee on International Trade of the European Parliament, over lunch.
- Reetta Härönoja, Diplomatic Adviser to the Minister for Foreign Trade and Development, tel. +358 295 350 740
- Tuomas Tapio, Director General, tel. +358 295 350 918.
- The email addresses of the Ministry for Foreign Affairs are in the format [email protected].