20/05/2021 - Press release - Foreign Trade

Meeting of EU Trade Ministers marks fresh start in trade policy

Introduction

Federal Minister for Economic Affairs and Energy Peter Altmaier attended the meeting of EU Trade Ministers in Brussels today to discuss current trade-policy issues. Ms Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, WTO Director-General, and Ms Katherine Tai, the new U.S. Trade Representative, were prominent guests of the Trade Ministers.

Federal Minister Altmaier said: "Today’s meeting marks a fresh start in trade policy. WTO Director-General Okonjo-Iweala and U.S. Trade Representative Tai are partners with whom we can work on both the future of the multilateral trading system and the improvement of the transatlantic trade relations."

The Trade Ministers exchanged views with WTO Director-General Okonjo-Iweala especially on the reform of the WTO. This included in particular the objectives for the 12th WTO Ministerial Conference (MC12) to be held in December 2021 and for the future, e.g. as regards fisheries subsidies, agriculture and digital trade.

As to the relations with the United States, the Trade Ministers discussed opportunities for better transatlantic cooperation in terms of both the settlement of trade conflicts and future common projects, e.g. in the technological field or when it comes to creating a level playing field for global trade.

A strategic exchange on the future of the EU trade policy was another priority of the meeting of the Trade Ministers.

In addition, the European Commission reported on the status of the work on protective measures for steel, EU-MERCOSUR and the International Procurement Instrument.