Australia and New Zealand
The Council is expected to adopt a decision recommending the opening of negotiations on free trade agreements with Australia and New Zealand, as well as the respective negotiating mandates for the European Commission.
Trade agreements with both countries would primarily aim at further reducing existing barriers to trade, removing custom duties on goods and giving better access for services and public procurement in Australia and New Zealand.
New architecture of trade agreements
Ministers are also due to adopt conclusions on the new architecture and methodology for the negotiation of EU trade agreements.
The conclusions tackle in particular the issue of splitting trade provisions related to investment and other areas into separate agreements.
Multilateral trading system
The Council will discuss the current challenges facing the multilateral trading system, taking stock of the outcome of the 11th WTO ministerial conference organised in Buenos Aires in December 2017.
Infographic – EU-Japan trade: facts and figures
Japan and Singapore
Trade ministers will hold an exchange of views on the trade agreements with Japan and Singapore.
The European Commission presented the outcome of negotiations for the two trade agreements in April 2018, in view of their signature and conclusion.
Over lunch, ministers will also discuss recent developments in EU-US trade relations.
This is in light of the imminent expiry – on 1 June – of the exemptions granted to the EU by the US administration regarding the new tariffs it seeks to impose on steel and aluminium.