EU Foreign Affairs Council to discuss the Union’s investment policy

EU Foreign Affairs Council to discuss the Union’s investment policy

Press Release 251/2010
8 September 2010

The EU Foreign Affairs Council will meet in Brussels on 10 September. The main topic of the meeting is the European Union’s new international investment policy. Minister for Foreign Trade and Development Paavo Väyrynen will attend the meeting for Finland.

The Foreign Affairs Council will discuss the transfer of competence concerning foreign direct investments to the European Union. The transfer of investment policy to the EU, brought on by the Lisbon Treaty, has highlighted several issues. The Council will discuss the basic principles of the future investment policy as well as the fate of the Member States’ approximately 1,200 existing bilateral investment protection agreements. The right of Member States to negotiate new bilateral agreements in cases where it is not possible for the Union to do so will also be discussed. Finland actively supports creation of the EU’s new investment policy so that it would promote European investments better than agreements of Member States with third countries.

The Council is due to sign a free trade agreement between the EU and South Korea, which is the most comprehensive free trade agreement negotiated by the EU so far. Finland supports signing of the agreement because it will also mean considerable benefits for Finnish companies and consumers. Duties on Finland’s most important export products will fall and benefits are also anticipated in service sectors and investments. In addition, the Council will discuss entering into bilateral negotiations on a free trade agreement with Malaysia.

Economic partnership negotiations between the EU and African, Caribbean and Pacific countries, which have proved to be challenging, are also on the agenda. Finland encourages the Commission to begin actions with a view to creating a realistic assessment of the situation and clear negotiation tactics. Furthermore, Finland considers that the EU must be able to offer these countries development financing that supports trade.

Another item to be discussed is support for trade with Pakistan, as the record flooding has caused a humanitarian crisis there and has weakened the economic situation. The EU is Pakistan’s largest trade partner, and Finland considers it important that efforts are made to support Pakistan also through trade arrangements.

Additional information: Ilkka-Pekka Similä, Head of the Unit for the EU’s Trade Policy and Economic Relations, tel. +358 9 1605 5530 or mobile tel. +358 40 356 3783, and Päivi Nevala, Adviser to the Minister for Foreign Trade and Development, tel. +358 9 1605 6171 or mobile tel. +358 40 753 4375