Foreign Affairs Council (Trade), 27/05/2019 - Main results - EU monitor

EU monitor
Vrijdag 6 december 2019
kalender
Met dank overgenomen van Raad van de Europese Unie (Raad)i, gepubliceerd op maandag 27 mei 2019, 15:30.

Main results

Multilateral trade is at the core of EU values. The Council discusses how to defend a strong WTO and an effective dispute settlement mechanism.

WTO reform and negotiations

The WTO is facing serious challenges to its legitimacy and its ability to function effectively, but let me be clear: we will lose more than we gain if we give up on it. We have to work for a comprehensive reform of the WTO system, including an interim solution to the Appellate Body crisis, so that we can continue to ensure the relevance of the WTO in the modern world.

Stefan Radu Oprea, Minister for Business Environment, Trade and Entrepreneurship of Romania

The Council discussed the state of play of the reform of and negotiations in the World Trade Organization (WTO). In particular the Commission briefed ministers on its latest initiatives to promote a EU comprehensive approach towards the modernisation of all the main functions of the WTO: rulemaking, monitoring and dispute settlement.

As regards the Appellate Body crisis, the Council agreed that the EU should reach out to other WTO members to work on an interim solution that preserves the binding character and the two-levels of adjudication of the WTO dispute settlement system.

The Council also adopted negotiating directives to frame the position of the European Union and guide the action of the Commission in the plurilateral negotiations on electronic commerce in the WTO.

E-commerce: Council adopts supplementary mandate for WTO negotiations (press release, 27 May 2019)

Infographic - EU-US trade

The EU and the US make up 30 percent of world trade See full infographic

EU-US trade relations

The Council welcomes the US decision to postpone tariffs on imported cars by 180 days, but firmly rejects the notion that EU car exports are a national security threat to the US. We trust that a mutually beneficial and WTO compatible solution can be found through a limited trade agreement on industrial goods, based on the July 2019 statement. The EU is ready and willing to engage in constructive talks.

Stefan Radu Oprea, Minister for Business Environment, Trade and Entrepreneurship of Romania

The Council was informed by the Commission about latest developments in trade relations between the EU and the United States, with particular regard to the work of the EU-US Executive Working Group, as well as the ongoing negotiations on conformity assessment and the elimination of tariffs for industrial goods.

Ministers also took the opportunity to comment on the recent US decision to postpone tariffs on imported cars by 180 days, pending the negotiation of an agreement to address the issue of US imports of EU cars.

In April 2019, the Council approved mandates for the Commission to open negotiations with the US on the elimination of tariffs for industrial goods and on conformity assessment, in line with the July 2018 Joint Statement agreed by Presidents Juncker and Trump.

Trade with the United States: Council authorises negotiations on elimination of tariffs for industrial goods and on conformity assessment (press release, 15/04/2019)

EU-Vietnam Free Trade Agreement and Investment Protection Agreement

The Council was informed that the adoption and signature of a free trade agreement and investment protection agreement between the EU and Vietnam are planned to take place by the end of June 2019.

Other topics on the agenda

Over lunch, ministers discussed ongoing trade negotiations, in particular with Mercosur, Australia, New Zealand, Chile and Indonesia.

Meeting information

Meeting n3695

Brussels

27/05/2019

Preparatory documents

Background brief

Provisional agenda

List of A items, non-legislative activities

Outcome documents

List of participants