The Council is expected to discuss the ongoing work towards modernisation of the World Trade Organisation (WTO).
The European Council of 28-29 June 2018 gave the European Commission a mandate to pursue WTO modernisation. This is in view of the objectives to make the WTO more relevant and adaptive to a changing world, and to strengthen its effectiveness.
Free trade agreements
Ministers will also take stock of the latest developments in ongoing bilateral trade negotiations, in particular with Mercosur, Indonesia, Chile, Australia, New Zealand, China and Tunisia.
The Commission will present its latest report on implementation of free trade agreements.
Ministers will also be informed by the Austrian presidency of the state of play of negotiations on two legislative files:
- the proposal on foreign direct investment screening
- the horizontal bilateral safeguard regulation
The screening proposal is currently under negotiation between the Council and the European Parliament. This legsilation would equip the EU with the right tools to protect its key technologies from strategic threats while also keeping the EU open to investment.
The safeguard regulation has been endorsed by EU ambassadors on 24 October. Bilateral safeguard measures are intended to protect a particular domestic industry from an increase in imports of any product which is causing it, or which risks causing it, serious injury.
Over lunch, ministers will discuss recent developments in the EU’s trade relations with the US.