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Online event
How to rethink EU trade policy for a post-COVID world?

Wednesday, 01 July 2020


Sigrid Kaag
Minister for Foreign Trade and Development Cooperation? The Netherlands


Fabian Zuleeg
Chief Executive,European Policy Centre

The current COVID-19 pandemic is forcing us to rethink how we do business, trade, and ensure the well-being of our citizens. There is no doubt that the pandemic is significantly affecting international trade and value chains. The crisis also seems to have reinforced some of the trade challenges that Europe was already facing before COVID-19, such as protectionism and additional tariffs. It has also reinvigorated the debate around the re-shoring of manufacturing, the need to reduce dependency and ensure resilient value chains, as well as the importance of sustainable trade.

In May 2020, the Netherlands and France released a non-paper calling for a strengthening of EU trade policy in a number of areas, including sustainable development and in better assessing the socio-economic impact of trade agreements. The European Commission also announced in June 2020 a major review of EU trade policy. How will COVID-19 impact international trade? How should EU trade policy adapt to a post-COVID world? Will Europe be able to strike the delicate balance between protecting its interests and values more actively, while avoiding protectionism? And what concrete role should EU trade policy play in ensuring more resilient value chains and sustainable trade?

Sigrid Kaag is the Dutch Minister for Foreign Trade and Development Cooperation. The online event will be moderated by Fabian Zuleeg, Chief Executive of the European Policy Centre.

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