European Union against Protectionism
In the middle of waves of protests in Europe against negotiation on international free trade deals and trade facilitation policies, at an informal meeting last week, EU trade ministers took three important steps to demonstrate their continued commitment to free trade.
Firstly, they demonstrated their strong support for the Canada-EU Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (CETA). In order to facilitate and accelerate the ratification of the Agreement, the ministers allowed the most contentious issues in the CETA to be subject to separate ratification by national parliaments within the EU.
The second step included EU trade ministers’ refusal to call off negotiations on the Trans-Atlantic Trade and Investment Partnership Agreement (TTIP) with the U.S. By choosing to participate in the next round of talks on the TTIP scheduled for the beginning of October, the ministers showed their willingness to preserve and revive the Agreement.
Lastly, trade ministers also recognized the need for reformulation of the EU’s anti-dumping policies, with the intention of allowing China to be recognized as market economy, while maintaining current levels of protection for the European producers.
Despite of the rise of inclination towards protectionism in some parts of Europe, the European Union seems to remain committed to one of its founding principles – free trade among its members and facilitation of world trade. In view of these events, this may be a favorable opportunity for Mercosur to reinforce the negotiations with the European Union on the EU-Mercosur Association Agreement and stimulate new opportunities for trade and investment within Europe.