EU trade ministers to discuss WTO and trade relations with United States
Finland’s Minister for Foreign Trade and Development Ville Tavio will attend a meeting of the EU Foreign Affairs Council in its trade configuration in Brussels on 27 November 2023. The trade ministers will discuss the preparations for the Ministerial Conference of the World Trade Organization, the EU’s trade agreement with Chile and the EU–US trade relations. The ministers will also discuss the EU’s ongoing bilateral trade negotiations.
The thirteenth Ministerial Conference of the World Trade Organization (WTO) will be held in the United Arab Emirates in February 2024. The Foreign Affairs Council will exchange views on the state of play of the preparations for the conference.
“The Ministerial Conference is significant for the future of the WTO. A key goal for Finland and the EU is to restore the functioning of the WTO dispute settlement system. A well-functioning dispute settlement system is necessary to monitor compliance with the common rules of international trade. It makes the business environment more predictable,” Minister Ville Tavio says.
The trade ministers will have an opportunity to review the state of affairs regarding the preparation for the signature of an interim trade agreement with Chile. Finland is in favour of swift signature and implementation of the agreement. The agreement will strengthen the EU’s partnership with Chile and position in the Latin America and the Caribbean.
The trade ministers will also discuss the trade relations between the EU and the United States. The next meeting of the EU–US Trade and Technology Council (TTC) is scheduled to be held within the next few months. The TTC, established in 2021, is a forum for the EU and the United States to coordinate approaches to key global trade and technology matters. Finland considers closer cooperation between the EU and the United States important.
“The United States is a key partner for us. The Trade and Technology Council allows us to strengthen our cooperation in concrete ways. Important questions for Finland include trade facilitation and technology cooperation,” Tavio says.
The ministers will also discuss the negotiations for a Critical Minerals Agreement (CMA) with the United States. Concluding the agreement would ensure that critical raw minerals extracted and processed in the EU could be used in vehicles eligible for the Clean Vehicle Credit subsidies under the US Inflation Reduction Act. Finland would welcome a speedy conclusion of the negotiations. The ministers will also be briefed of the negotiations to resolve the dispute on steel and aluminium tariffs.
Over lunch, the trade ministers will discuss the progress of the ongoing bilateral trade negotiations and the agreements already negotiated and still pending. In the current situation, it is particularly important for Finland that the EU is able to conclude new trade agreements and that the agreements already negotiated are implemented as quickly as possible.
“Free trade agreements benefit the exports of Finnish companies and also promote work and wellbeing in Finland. They are an important means of establishing strategic partnerships between the EU and partner countries. It would be important to achieve results in the ongoing negotiations with Mercosur, Mexico, India and Indonesia. We support the European Commission in resolving any pending questions so that these economically significant agreements can be concluded,” Tavio says.
In addition, the ministers will be informed of the implementation and enforcement of the EU’s trade policy on the basis of a new Commission report.
Reetta Härönoja, Diplomatic Adviser to the Minister for Foreign Trade and Development, tel. +358 295 350 740
Tuomas Tapio, Director General, Department for International Trade, tel. +358 295 350 918
The email addresses of the Ministry for Foreign Affairs are in the format firstname.lastname@example.org.