Relations with key trading partners
The Council took stock of ongoing trade negotiations with Mexico and Mercosur. Ministers gave their support to the objective of reaching ambitious and balanced agreements on the main outstanding issues in the near future and welcomed the increased momentum in both sets of negotiations. They also highlighted their priorities ahead of the next crucial steps in the process.
“Latin America is a key political and economic partner for Europe. We are committed to concluding far-reaching and mutually beneficial trade agreements with Mercosur and Mexico soon” said the Estonian minister for trade Urve Palo, which currently holds the Council presidency. “I believe that a political agreement is now within reach but we need to make sure that the new trade opportunities created will be balanced and of long-tem benefit to the EU economy.”
Over lunch, Ministers also discussed the state of play of the finalisation of the economic partnership agreement with Japan following the political agreement reached on 6 July 2017.
Preparations for the WTO ministerial conference in Buenos Aires
The Council was informed about the state of play of the preparations for the 11th WTO ministerial conference which will take place from 10 to 13 December in Buenos Aires.
Ministers stressed the importance of maintaining the central role of the WTO in the multilateral trading system and the need for the EU to work for a substantive and balanced outcome to the ministerial conference. They considered the priorities that the EU should pursue in Buenos Aires and assessed possible deliverables either for the Buenos Aires meeting itself, or for inclusion in a future-oriented agenda that WTO members could pursue.