Minister Virolainen and other EU trade ministers to discuss the WTO, EU-US trade relations, and free trade agreements

The EU Foreign Affairs Council will meet to discuss trade issues on 27 May in Brussels. Finland’s representative at the meeting will be Minister for Foreign Trade and Development Anne-Mari Virolainen.

The meeting will discuss the current developments in the World Trade Organization (WTO), which  continue to cause concern. The impending deadlock of the WTO dispute settlement mechanism at the end of the year, in particular, is a real risk for the multilateral trading system. Finland and the EU are actively promoting the WTO’s modernisation. The key priority is to ensure that the dispute settlement mechanism remains effective.

Minister Anne-Mari Virolainen is satisfied with the positive progress made within the WTO in that the negotiations on e-commerce have been started. Virolainen hopes that the negotiations will support the wider target concerning the WTO reform.

Trade ministers will also discuss the trade relations between the EU and the United States. Based on the negotiating directives adopted in April, the EU is ready to open negotiations on tariffs on industrial goods and on conformity assessment.  There is still much tension in the transatlantic trade relations.

“It is important that every effort be made to maintain dialogue between the parties and that solutions be sought through cooperation in the first place,” Minister Virolainen says.

The Council will also discuss the free trade agreement and the investment protection agreement with Vietnam, which will be signed soon.

Ministers will receive the Commission's update on the trade agreement negotiations currently under way in the EU. 

Inquiries: Tuuli-Maaria Aalto, Diplomatic Adviser to the Minister, tel. +358 295 350 633, and Ilkka-Pekka Similä, Director General, tel. +358 295 350 257.

The Foreign Ministry’s email addresses are in the format