On Tuesday, 24th January, Minister for the Economy, Investment
and Small Business Chris Cardona presented the Trade Priorities of
the Maltese Presidency of the Council of the EU before the European
Parliament's International Trade Committee.
Minister Cardona noted that the Maltese Presidency comes at a
critical moment for international trade, following a series of
events in 2016 that have presented new challenges and critical
moments for EU trade policy, such as Brexit, as well as the process
of approving the agreement with Canada in the Council.
In the past few years, an increased interest by the EU society
on various aspects of trade policy, has been seen. To address these
challenges, Minister Cardona noted that the EU institutions and
governments of the member states need to listen to EU citizens and
explain the benefits of trade policy better, whilst highlighting
the trade-offs. Furthermore, in a constantly evolving scenario,
sensitivity to new developments, while ensuring that the EU is well
equipped with flanking policies to mitigate any downside from trade
policy, is essential.
"International trade is for us a key policy area in view of
its importance for the economy, creation of new jobs and in
maintaining global competitiveness. We need to be forward looking
and we must ensure that the EU remains a major competitive global
player and a leader in international trade", said Minister
During these six months, the Maltese Presidency will do its best
as an honest broker within the Council to ensure a cooperative
approach with the European Parliament, to deliver on international
trade, making it relevant to EU citizens.
In this regard, the Presidency will seek to inject new momentum
with respect to the current EU trade agenda, and to continue
building on the good work that has already been done by the trio
partners. Minister Cardona noted that the objective is to make
progress in all the main areas of international trade,
in negotiations at various levels, namely in multilateral,
plurilateral and bilateral discussions – including WTO
issues, Trade and Services Agreement (TiSA) and Environmental Goods
Agreement (EGA), ongoing bilateral negotiations with several
countries, including TTIP negotiations with the US, and the United
Kingdom after it triggers Article 50;
working on new mandates for FTAs;
advancing on legislative proposals to achieve balanced and
mutually beneficial outcomes – including the reforming of
regulation that controls the export of dual-use goods and on the
modernisation of the EU's trade defence instruments.
In conclusion, Minister Cardona said that the Maltese Presidency
is fully committed towards finding suitable solutions jointly, for
the benefit of the EU economy, jobs and citizens in general, and
delivering the benefits of trade agreements to the public.
Source: PRESS RELEASE BY THE MINISTRY FOR THE ECONOMY,
INVESTMENT AND SMALL BUSINESS
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