Malta: Trade Discussions A High Priority During Presidency
Last Updated: 17 November 2016

"Malta ready to work towards fair and balanced EU trade policies during Presidency" - Minister Chris Cardona in Brussels

The Minister for the Economy, Investment and Small Business Chris Cardona has welcomed EU efforts to bring forward ideas on how to improve and strengthen mechanisms against unfair trade practices in the overall context of EU economic interests.

Speaking at a meeting of EU ministers on the Union's trade policies, Minister Cardona stressed the importance of creating a level playing field for European enterprises, notably SMEs, in line with World Trade Organisation rules. Within this context, he expressed Malta's support for the need to modernise the EU's Trade Defence Instruments. He expressed his hope that a compromise will be found among Member States as to how these instruments can be as effective and balanced as possible for economic actors within the EU.

Malta remains a strong proponent of international free trade as a crucial instrument in bringing about universal economic prosperity. During its upcoming Presidency of the Council of the EU, Malta will be ensuring that both internal discussions on trade defence, as well as trade negotiations with third-countries, move forward in the interests of all stakeholders

During the meeting, ministers also discussed the ongoing EU Free Trade Agreements with Japan and Mercosur, which is an economic bloc within South America. Minister Cardona stated that Malta considers Japan to be a very important economy with which the EU already has strong commercial ties. He added that an agreement with Tokyo is a natural progression of such ties and that he is confident that a free trade agreement which benefits both economies is within reach. Similarly, Minister Cardona stated that successful negotiations with Mercosur countries will provide EU companies with access to an important market that has high potential in terms of size and future potential growth.

Finally, ministers discussed the state of play regarding negotiations with the United States of America on the TTIP (Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership). In this respect, Minister Cardona stated that the agreement should remain a priority, while also cautioning that the concerns of EU citizens must be listened to by politicians. He augured that the new US administration will take forward the current negotiations which promise to benefit the economies on both sides of the Atlantic.#

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