At an official meeting on Friday, EU trade ministers said that ongoing trade negotiations must be moved forward quickly while taking into consideration the interests of all parties involved.
The trade ministers on Friday discussed preparations for the meeting of the World Trade Organization (WTO) ministers to be held in December, and European Commissioner for Trade Cecilia Malmström gave an overview of the current status of negotiations with Mexico and Mercosur, the sub-regional bloc promoting free trade between South American countries.
Minister of Entrepreneurship and Information Technology Urve Palo (SDE), who chaired the ministerial meeting, said that the conference of WTO ministers is an opportunity to move toward free and fairer trade on the global level. "The EU must and is prepared to make efforts toward this," she added.
Palo said that in negotiations with Mexico and Mercosur, there opportunity currently still exists to conclude negotiations this year. "Both the EU and the association of Mexico and Mercosur have clear economic and geopolitical interests to progress with negotiations," she noted.
The minister clarified that the association of Mercosur countries means a market with a population of 250 million where the EU is already currently exporting €46 billion worth of good every year, and noted that this figure could increase significantly as a result of a free trade agreement.
Topics on the agenda of the ministerial meeting also included the current status of the EU-Japan free trade agreement and how to better and more effectively implement the provisions of sustainable development in free trade deals.
European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker said in October that he will do all he can to ensure that the trade agreement between the EU and Mercosur is concluded before the end of the year.
Full members of Mercosur include Argentina, Brazil, Paraguay and Uruguay. Venezuela's membership in the sub-regional bloc has been suspended since December 2016.
Editor: Aili Vahtla