Minister Skinnari to chair EU trade ministers meeting in Brussels
Minister for Development Cooperation and Foreign Trade Ville Skinnari will chair Foreign Affairs Council meeting on trade issues in Brussels on 21 November. EU trade ministers will discuss the WTO, EU-US trade relations, and the report on the implementation of EU free trade agreements.
Decisive changes have not taken place in the WTO’s situation. The WTO dispute settlement system will be paralysed in December, undermining the multilateral trade system. The outlook for the WTO Ministerial Conference to be held in June 2020 is not very promising. Minister Ville Skinnari considers it important that the trade ministers’ meeting send a strong message in favour of the multilateral trading system and dispute settlement.
Tensions lay their mark on the EU-US trade relations. Minister Skinnari continues to hope that the United States will not impose any car tariffs or other import restrictions on the EU. However, he considers it unfortunate that uncertainty about possible measures is continuing.
“It is clear that the European car industry does not threaten the US economy, let alone national security. Transatlantic cooperation is of mutual benefit. I hope that we can continue to develop our trade relations. The EU's proposal for an agreement on conformity assessment is a concrete step towards deepening relations,” Minister Skinnari says.
During its Presidency of the Council of the EU, Finland has emphasised the effective implementation of free trade agreements, the annual report of which will be presented by Commissioner for Trade Cecilia Malmström. In the Minister's view, it is very important that EU companies and consumers can make the best possible use of trade agreements.
Under other issues, the Commission will present the results of a Eurobarometer survey on international trade, published the day before the meeting.
Over lunch, the ministers will have a discussion about the EU’s trade relations with China. Commissioner Malmström is expected to give an overview of the EU’s ongoing trade negotiations.
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, tel. +358 50 336 3856.
The Foreign Ministry’s email addresses are in the format [email protected]