EU Foreign Affairs Council to prepare for Eastern Partnership summit, WTO ministerial conference and negotiations with China

16 October 2013, Last updated at, 13:03 EEST
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Linas Linkevičius | author: Council © European Union

European Union trade ministers will meet in Luxemburg on October 18 to discuss trade aspects of the Eastern Partnership Summit and preparations for the 9th WTO Ministerial Conference. Ministers will also be invited to approve a mandate, authorizing the Commission to negotiate on behalf of the EU an investment Agreement with China.

Chaired by Minister of Foreign Affairs of Lithuania Linas Linkevičius, the Foreign Affairs Council on trade issues will discuss the trade aspects of the EU association agreements with Ukraine, Moldova and Georgia. The Council is also expected to discuss possible trade measures that the EU could offer to its Eastern partners in the context of pressure exerted by Russia.

The Council will also discuss the EU’s strategy in the run up to the 9th WTO Ministerial Conference to be held in Bali, Indonesia, on December 3–6. Possible outcomes of the conference, including an agreement on trade facilitation easing the customs procedures to facilitate trade flows, are to benefit the EU by reducing costs for businesses.

The Ministers are also expected to approve the mandate authorising the Commission to start negotiating the first stand-alone investment agreement with China. The proposed directives foresee an agreement that would deal both with investment protection and with improved market access for investors from the EU and China.

The Council will also be called on to broaden the mandate for the on-going free trade negotiations with ASEAN countries to include investment protection provisions as well as discuss a draft regulation aimed at establishing the legal and financial framework for investor-state dispute settlement proceedings.

Ministers will also take stock of progress made in the negotiations for comprehensive free trade agreements with the strategic partners United States and Japan.

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The 3rd Eastern Partnership Summit in Vilnius

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