On 9 November 2020, the Parliamentary Secretary of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Zanda Kalniņa-Lukaševica, took part in a video conference of the European Union’s Foreign Affairs Council (Trade). The meeting focused on the EU’s trade relations with the United States of America and China, and latest developments concerning the World Trade Organisation (WTO).
In trade relations with the United States, we must advance a positive agenda and work in the sectors where we have shared interests, for example, standards and conformity assessment for new technologies, the Parliamentary Secretary noted. She added that, by joining forces with the U.S., it will be easier for the EU to counter unfair Chinese trade practices such as industrial subsidies and forced technology transfers.
During the discussion, Zanda Kalniņa-Lukaševica underlined that the United States is a strategic partner to the EU and trade relations should be built in a pragmatic way. Further steps in the EU-U.S. aircraft industry dispute were also reviewed.
Attention wasthen focused on the important but complicated trade relations between the EU and China. The Parliamentary Secretary noted that progress concerning reciprocity and a level playing field on the part of China is too slow. China is developing more like a systemic rival rather than a partner.
The EU should seek ways to strengthen its positions in relations with China while bearing in mind our commitments to the WTO and a rules-based global trading system, said the Parliamentary Secretary. Special attention was given to current work on the EU-China Comprehensive Agreement on Investment and the possibility of concluding negotiations on the agreement before the end of this year.
The issue of the WTO reform is of special concern, and in that context the participants heard the European Commission’s perspective and ideas on how to strengthen the WTO in line with the modern challenges to trade. At this point in time, the main attention should be paid to the issues where the WTO could contribute helping to overcome problems posed by COVID-19, the Parliamentary Secretary underlined.
At the end of the meeting, the European Commission provided an overview of the state of play and progress related to ongoing legislative files. It is expected that in the very near future amendments will be approved to the Enforcement Regulation, which will enable the EU to better protect its trade interests and rights. Work will also be concluded soon on the modernisation of the Dual-Use Export Controls Regulation to prevent the misuse of cyber-surveillance technologies.
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