Minister Zypries said: "The European Union must firmly stand together and worldwide speak with one voice in favour of open markets and free and fair trade. This is all the more important as countries outside Europe are turning to protectionism. We support Commissioner Malmström's efforts that aim to rapidly conclude important free trade agreements, including with Japan, Mexico and Mercosur. High labour, consumer and environmental standards and a modern investment protection system combined with the ambitious opening of markets are the right approach towards inclusive growth and prosperity benefitting all sides. sets standards for this."
Trade is important, not least for Germany – a country that accounts for 7.2 per cent of global trade. Many sectors of the German economy are heavily dependent on exports. The same applies to employment. One in three jobs in Germany directly or indirectly depends on exports, in German industry it is as much as one in two.
In the context of the WTO, the EU is working towards reducing barriers to trade through multilateral negotiations and creating a stable and transparent set of rules. For this purpose, the EU, which is responsible for trade policy, also concludes bilateral trade and partnership agreements with individual states and regions. Currently negotiations on free trade agreements are being held with Japan, Mexico, the South American common market Mercosur and rapidly growing South-East Asian countries.