Brussels, May 20 (EFE). On Thursday, the EU trade ministers will talk about the weight that the Mercosur agreement should have in the European trade strategy for the coming years, at a meeting in which they too will address tariff disputes with the United States and reform the World Trade Organization.
Upon his arrival at the meeting, the French Minister of State for Foreign Trade, Franck Riester, reiterated his country’s refusal to ratify the agreement with the Latin American bloc, on the grounds that it does not have sufficient guarantees to combat climate change.
“We cannot sign this free trade agreement. We want verifiable guarantees in terms of combating climate change, deforestation and respecting sanitary and phytosanitary standards,” said Riester.
The agreement was signed in 2019 between Brussels and Mercosur (Brazil, Argentina, Uruguay and Paraguay), and the agreement has not yet been ratified due to rejection not only by France, but also by Belgium, the Netherlands, Ireland and Austria, who have publicly expressed their rejection. The right to veto the agreement, which also does not satisfy the European Parliament.
In today’s meeting, the ministers will also hold a meeting with the representative of US foreign trade, Catherine Tay, after Brussels and Washington agreed on Tuesday to hold talks to end their dispute over tariffs in the steel and aluminum sectors.
The European Commission decided to temporarily suspend the introduction of a new round of tariffs on June 1. “It is important that by the end of the year we are able to ensure that these tariffs are canceled by both parties,” Valdes Dombrovskis, executive vice president of society and in charge of the branch, said today.
German Economy and Energy Minister Peter Altmaier also said that the meeting with Tay would be an opportunity to talk about another “bilateral conflict” such as the one between Airbus and Boeing, as Brussels and Washington also suspended customs duties for four months.
And that is that, with the arrival of Democratic candidate Joe Biden to the White House, both parties have shown their willingness to reduce tensions and re-strengthen trade relations.
The ministers will also meet with the Director General of the World Trade Organization, Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, with whom they will discuss the reform of the organization demanded by the European Union. EFE
DRS / MB / HMA
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