angle-left EU trade ministers to discuss the WTO, EU-US trade relations, and EU free trade agreements

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

An informal meeting of EU ministers responsible for trade will be held in Innsbruck on 4–5 October 2018. Finland's representative at the meeting will be Minister for Foreign Trade and Development Anne-Mari Virolainen.

The ministers will discuss the reform of the World Trade Organization (WTO), in which the EU has assumed a lead role and is actively trying to find means to develop the activities of the organization. Like many other WTO members, the EU considers that it is time to update the rules applying to international trade, to respond to the challenges of the dispute settlement mechanism, and to develop the organization's regular activities.

"Due to protectionist pressures, it is very important to maintain the multilateral, rules-based system. Securing the functioning of the WTO's dispute settlement mechanism, in particular, requires rapid action,” Minister Anne-Mari Virolainen says.

The trade ministers will also discuss the trade relations between the EU and the United States. The joint statement of President of the European Commission Jean-Claude Juncker and US President Donald Trump in July was a positive step in the transatlantic trade relations. Potential areas of future cooperation are being sought.

Minister Virolainen is pleased that the EU and the USA are cooperating to find solutions to the trade questions. Finland supports the strengthening of the transatlantic trade relations in a balanced manner that benefits both parties.

The ministers will also receive the Commission's update on the trade agreement negotiations currently under way in the EU.  Minister Virolainen regards that the EU trade agreements give a strong signal in favour of rules-based trade and against protectionism.

Inquiries: Tuuli-Maaria Aalto, Diplomatic Adviser to the Minister, tel. +358 295 350633, and Ilkka-Pekka Similä, Director General, tel. +358 295 350 257.

The Foreign Ministry’s email addresses are in the format