MFA: Minister for Foreign Trade and Development Anne-Mari Virolainen to informal meeting of EU trade minister in Sofia


Minister for Foreign Trade and Development Anne-Mari Virolainen will attend an informal meeting of EU trade ministers in Sofia, Bulgaria, from 26 to 27 February 2018.

The agenda of this meeting, which will be the first EU trade ministers' meeting for Minister Anne-Mari Virolainen, will focus on the follow-up to the Ministerial Conference of the World Trade Organization (WTO) held in December 2017, the state of play of current EU free trade negotiations with Mexico and Mercosur, as well as the US steel and aluminium investigations.

After the WTO Ministerial Conference, which failed to deliver marked results, the WTO Members will debate options for the short-term and long-term development of the multilateral trading system. Finland emphasises that the WTO should be able to continue its work effectively and that the WTO's capability to settle disputes should be secured. Finland welcomes the idea in which alternative tracks would be used in negotiating different subject matters for as long as the time becomes ripe for the start of multilateral negotiations.

In the recent months, the EU has conducted close negotiations with both Mercosur (Argentina, Brazil, Paraguay, Uruguay) and Mexico. The aim is to reach a conclusion at political level as soon as possible in both negotiations.

"Finland's objective is such a balanced agreement in both negotiations that would improve Finnish companies' market access and enhance the predictability and legal certainty of the business environment," says Minister for Foreign Trade and Development Virolainen.

In other matters, the Commission will give an update of the US steel and aluminium investigations.

WTO Director-General Roberto Azevêdo and Chair of the European Parliament Committee on International Trade (INTA) Bernd Lange will attend the dinner organised on the eve of the meeting.

Inquiries: Ilkka-Pekka Similä, Director General of the Department for External Economic Relations, tel +358 50 336 3856, and Tuuli-Maaria Aalto, Diplomatic Adviser to the Minister, tel. +358 40 352 0463.

The Foreign Ministry's email addresses are of the format firstname.lastname@formin.fi.


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