Lithuania's Foreign Vice-Minister Pranckevičius: The EU and the US have to reform the global trading system together
On 20 May, the Vice-Minister of Foreign Affairs of Lithuania Arnoldas Pranckevičius took part in the Foreign Affairs Council (Trade), which focused on strengthening the world trade system, the World Trade Organisation's (WTO) reform, and the need for the EU and the US to take a leadership role in these processes.
In a discussion with the United States Trade Representative Katherine Tai, Pranckevičius stressed that trade tensions between the EU and the US rose not because of bilateral issues, but rather due to the global trade system's malfunctioning.
“The EU and the US must join forces and work together to tackle the issues arising primarily from China's trade-distorting practices,” said Pranckevičius.
Lithuania also supported the European Commission’s plans to establish a new EU-US Trade and Technology Council (TTC) in the near future, aiming to jointly maximise opportunities for transatlantic collaboration and to develop compatible standards.
“The geopolitical leadership role belongs to those, who also take the lead in technological transformation,” said Pranckevičius.
EU Trade Ministers also discussed the WTO reform and preparations for the 12th ministerial conference in late 2021. The Director-General of the WTO Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala presented his vision of the outcomes of the ministerial conference.
“It is vital to revive the key functions of the WTO – negotiations, dispute settlement and monitoring the implementation of trade rules. However, this can only be achieved if we work together with the US,” said the Foreign Vice-Minister, who also noted that the WTO reform, competitive neutrality issues and the rules of the WTO on e-commerce should be key priorities for the EU in the run up to the WTO ministerial conference.
Trade Ministers discussed the Council's conclusions on the trade policy review, progress achieved in the discussions on the international procurement instrument, and took stock of the state of play of steel safeguards and the EU-Mercosur trade agreement.