Brussels Daily
03 Jul 2017


Brussels Daily

Commissioner Malmström on the benefits of open trade with Mercosur in Madrid today

EU Trade Commissioner Cecilia Malmström today spoke in Madrid at the conference “Free trade as a motor of growth – Future EU-MERCOSUR agreement” on the benefits of an EU trade deal with Mercosur – the region of South America which includes Brazil, Argentina, Uruguay and Paraguay.

Noting the common tastes and passions of these countries with Europe – from food to football – she also highlighted the benefits of the economic relationship, such as trade in goods and services, and EU investment in the region. With EU exporters paying over 4 billion euros a year in tariffs to access the Mercosur market, the Commissioner cited the economic benefits of an EU-Mercosur free trade agreement – but also the value, in a time of rising protectionism, of two such large economies showing their commitment to work together towards open, rules-based trade.

Citing new political commitment and momentum in the negotiations, she said the EU-Mercosur agreement was a “unique opportunity” to build a bridge between the two regions.

In Madrid Monday, Commissioner Malmström also took the opportunity to meet the assembled Ministers of the Mercosur countries; Foreign Ministers Jorge Marcelo Faurie, Eladio Loizaga and Rodolfo Nin Novoa, of Argentina, Paraguay and Uruguay as well as Marcos Pereira, Marcos Pereira, Minister of Industry, Foreign Trade and Services of Brazil.

Malmström optimistic following Tokyo trade talks

EU Commissioner for Trade, Cecilia Malmström, was in the Japanese capital of Tokyo Friday and Saturday together with Commissioner for Agriculture, Phil Hogan. The two held talks with Japanese Foreign Affairs Minister Fumio Kishida and Agriculture Minister Yuji Yamamoto about concluding negotiations on a trade deal between the EU and Japan.

After the meeting, Commissioner Malmström tweeted “hard work in Tokyo but a lot of progress”, adding at a press meeting: “We are almost there. We have sufficient convergence so that our officials can discuss in the coming days to iron out the remaining details. I’m quite confident that our leaders can agree on a package at the EU-Japan summit on 6 July and give their blessing.”

Pointing out the benefits of a trade agreement, Malmström said: “An ambitious EU-Japan deal would send a powerful signal to the rest of the world that two of the largest economies are resisting protectionism, in favour of openness, trade and investment. These are the best tools to harness and shape globalisation and create more economic growth and jobs.”

Japan is the fourth richest economy in the world, and the EU’s second biggest trading partner in Asia. Together, the EU and Japan account for more than a third of the world economy. Already today, more than 600,000 jobs in the EU are tied to exports to Japan. Japanese companies in the EU employ more than half a million people.

EU exports to Japan could grow significantly by having a trade agreement in place, providing opportunities for the EU in sectors such as agriculture and food, pharmaceuticals, medical devices and motor vehicles. A deal would remove almost all custom duties which amount to up to EUR 1bn annually.

At a G20 preparatory meeting last week, European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker said“The trade agreement with Japan, if it materialises, is important. And it will fully comply with all European rules, requirements and standards.”

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