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Trade ministers discussed WTO reform, EU-US trade relations and implementation of free trade agreements

EU2019FIMinistry for Foreign Affairs
Publication date 20.11.2019 16.13
News item
Photo: European Union

The Foreign Affairs Council met in the configuration of trade ministers in Brussels on 21 November. Finland’s Minister for Development Cooperation and Foreign Trade Ville Skinnari chaired the meeting.

The trade ministers discussed the state of play of the reform of the World Trade Organization (WTO) and sent a strong message in favour of the multilateral trading system and dispute settlement.

The ministers discussed recent developments in the trade relations between the European Union and the United States. The policy debate on the implementation of free trade agreements was based on the European Commission’s annual report on the matter, presented by Commissioner for Trade Cecilia Malmström.

The EU has the largest network of trade agreements in the world, and numerous negotiations are under way. The Finnish Presidency has emphasised the importance of implementing trade agreements. This will bring the best benefits to EU companies and citizens.

– Ville Skinnari, Minister for Development Cooperation and Foreign Trade

Under other issues, the Commission presented the results of a Eurobarometer survey on international trade, published the day before the meeting.

Over lunch, the ministers had a discussion about the EU’s trade relations with China. Commissioner Malmstöm gave an overview of the EU’s ongoing trade negotiations.