The World Trade Organization (WTO) is in a difficult situation at the moment, and swift action is needed for this entity not to fall apart, Cecilia Malmstrom, European Commissioner for Trade told on Friday a joint press conference held at the Parliament Palace with the Minister for the Business Milieu, Commerce and Entrepreneurship, Stefan-Radu Oprea.
“I have spoken today about the reform of the World Trade Organization. We are in a difficult situation and swift action is needed for this organization not to fall apart. Member States strongly support the European Commission’s trials in Geneva with a number of partners to strengthen the reform of the World Trade Organization and to modernize this institution. The appeal body is one of the big issues because it is still blocked. Proposals have been made to unlock the situation and I hope some negotiations will be pursued to take things forward. We are in the process of updating the rules of the World Trade Organization and we are cooperating with Japan and the United States in this regard. We have had five ministerial meetings so far and we are continuing to make our day-to-day work in the WTO more efficient. We are working on transparency, the notification process, and the streamlining of the committee work”, Malmstrom said.
The European Commissioner for Trade also underlined that at EU level there are “some concerns about the trade policy currently led by the United States.”
Trade ministers from EU member states met Friday at the Parliament Palace in Bucharest to discuss the process of modernization of the World Trade Organization (WTO) and trade relations between the EU and the US.
At the working breakfast, the officials approached the ongoing negotiations in the trade field of the EU and the most recent development related to the initiative of the Union, titled “Everything but the weapons.”
The informal meeting of ministers is usually held by every presidency of the Council of the European Union, being meant to ensure an adequate framework and an exchange of opinions on topical issues at European and international level.
Oprea: Romania must be a honest negotiator while holding presidency of Council of EU
Romania must be a honest negotiator, in trade relations and also in general, while holding presidency of Council of EU, Minister for Business Environment, Trade and Entrepreneurship, Stefan-Radu Oprea, said at the Parliament Palace on Friday.
“Our agenda today includes informal discussions among trade ministers. We are going to discuss two of the priorities of the Romanian presidency that we have: the World Trade Organization (WTO) reform and the mandate that we need to give to the Committee for relations between the EU and the US. We must be a honest negotiator, in general, while holding presidency of the Council of EU. We will have constructive discussions with our colleagues and afterwards, at the joint press conference that we are going to have, I will be able to say exactly what we discussed during the meeting,” said Oprea.
Regarding the discussions with the WTO, Oprea said all European citizens deserve to be informed on the latest developments in trade relations.
“I must say, regarding the WTO, that I discussed last evening with Mr Azevedo [Roberto Azevedo – editor’s note], the WTO general manager, and with Mr. Lange [Bernd Lange – editor’s note], the head of INTA [The European Parliament’s Committee on International Trade – editor’s note]. I believe that there were very good discussions, open, with all parties involved, which will result in more transparency and more information for the European citizens. They deserve to be informed on the latest developments in trade relations. I also discussed about such recent events as the 76 states intending to initiate negotiations on e-commerce. I informed my counterparts that, during the Romanian presidency, on May 16, we will have a workshop in Geneva, together with Mr Azevedeo and other important representatives of the WTO, alongside European companies that are representative for the e-commerce field, to discuss on this topic. I believe that at the workshop we will discus the value that us, the Europeans, bring in e-commerce,” said the Minister.
Asked if there were any major obstacles against the negotiations between the European Commission and the US, the Romanian official mentioned that Romania “as a country holding the presidency of the technical committee, made the necessary steps.”
“We’ve prepared very well this meeting and today there will be political discussions and I expect fruitful discussions with my colleagues. What I’d like is everybody to agree,” he specified.