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Breakfast Policy Briefing
EU Trade: Current successes, global challenges, future negotiations

Tuesday, 17 December 2019


Sabine Weyand, Director General for Trade, European Commission

As the EU enters a new policy cycle it faces an increasingly challenging world trade context. Global competition is fierce and some of Europe’s main competitors have not shied away from adopting trade tariffs or protectionist measures by subsiding or shielding their national industries. The multilateral trading system is in deadlock, given the failure to advance the World Trade Organization’s reform agenda and the imminent collapse of its dispute settlement system – due to the blockage of appointments to the Appellate Body – expected by the end of this year. Uncertainty also persists around Brexit and its direct impact on trade.

In this context, there are calls for EU trade policy to become more forceful in ensuring a global level playing field, in defending the multilateral trading system and in promoting sustainable trade. Recent years have seen the EU successfully conclude a high number of trade agreements, including with the Mercosur countries, Japan, Singapore, Canada, Vietnam and South Korea. The EU is also key in leading an alliance of multilateralists on reforming and safeguarding the WTO. However, will all of this be enough? How should EU trade policy adapt to changing realities and what can we expect from the next Commission? At this Breakfast Policy Briefing, Sabine Weyand will set out her views on these and other issues. The discussion will be chaired by EPC Chief Executive, Fabian Zuleeg.

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