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Trade Brussels, 27 November 2018

European Trade Policy Day 2018

In defence of open and fair trade – Rising to the challenges, tackling the threats

Last year, the EU agreed an Economic Partnership Agreement with Japan and our trade deal with Canada became operational. In April this year, we reached a political agreement with Mexico on a modernised trade agreement and we are making progress on our negotiations with Mercosur. In June, we launched negotiations for trade agreements with Australia and New Zealand.

The EU has shown itself not only to be effective in securing trade agreements, but also to be at the vanguard of efforts to maintain and strengthen the international rules-based system of the World Trade Organization that has translated into real opportunities for businesses, consumers and emerging economies alike. The EU’s rejection of protectionism goes hand-in-hand with its commitment to ensuring a level playing field and to enforcing trade rules.

Despite these and previous trade successes, the challenges continue to grow and the threats to the open-trading system to multiply. Policy-makers and citizens ask themselves many questions, and seek answers and reassurances about the benefits of trade to all.

How can Europe best tackle these challenges? Could it turn them into opportunities? Which fora are going to be the most relevant for enforcing rules and upholding a rules-based system? How can we ensure continued support for open trade in societies faced with rapid economic and social change, driven by the technological revolution? How far will a ‘Europe that protects’ by levelling the playing field through fairer and more ethical trade win support for open markets? What does the evolving backdrop mean for EU trade policy as we prepare to transition to a new Commission and a new European Parliament?

These are the sort of issues we will discuss at this year’s European Trade Policy Day – ‘In defence of open and fair trade – Rising to the challenges, tackling the threats’. It will be based on a series of discussions with business men and women, civil society, stakeholders and experts.

Programme

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