Commissioner Malmström will today further elaborate on the wide range of initiatives in the field of trade that were presented in the State of the Union yesterday. Member of the European Parliament Marietje Schaake (ALDE/D66): "Today's global developments requires European ambition to set modern trade rules. With countries such as China and the Gulf states playing an increasingly assertive role shaping the world economy, and the US under Trump favouring protectionism, Europe chooses to pursue a trade agenda based on clear rules. The ambitious proposals presented yesterday allow the EU to set global standards."
The Commission from now on will make all proposed trade negotiation mandates public. Member State governments have so far dragged their feet to disclose such mandates to the public. Schaake: "We should strive to achieve as much transparency as possible in trade negotiations. It is a positive development that the Commission has taken matters into its own hands and is no longer willing to wait for the Council. This way, rumours can easily be debunked and the public can be fully informed about the essence of modern trade rules." The European Commission asked for the start of trade negotiations with Australia and New Zealand. Under the new Commission initiative, the mandates for these negotiations will be the first to be fully transparent.
The Commission proposal creates a level playing field within the EU on rules for investment screening. Schaake: "It is important to ensure that strategic sectors related to national security, including vital technologies, are protected from falling into the wrong hands. Yet we have to make sure that the Commission’s proposal is not used to protect strategic economic sectors under the guise of security. If national security arguments are illegitimately used as a pretext to block foreign takeovers, countries such as China will surely respond with counter measures. Stretching the boundaries of international trade rules too far also undermines the EU's credibility, especially when we want others to abide by those rules."
Commissioner Malmström will hold her press conference at 12:00 today which can be followed live here.
Schaake yesterday released her report calling for an EU Digital Trade Strategy.