Immediate challenge is to keep trade flows open

The new export authorisation measure for specific protective equipment is due to come into effect on 25 April

Photo: EU Gordan Grlić Radman.

At a video conference on Thursday, EU trade ministers held an exchange of views on the impact of Covid-19 on trade relations and on global value and supply chains. The meeting was chaired by Gordan Grlić Radman, Minister for foreign and European affairs of Croatia, together with EU Trade Commissioner, Phil Hogan.

Our immediate challenge is to keep trade flows open, said Minister Radman, adding that the Covid-19 pandemic will have "a profound and long-lasting effect on the European economy and on the way we trade with the rest of the world”. We also need to ensure a swift recovery of our economies, in particular by securing the resilience and sustainability of our supply chains, he pointed out.

Ministers welcomed the Commission’s proposal for a new export authorisation measure for specific items of personal protective equipment, which was sent to Member States earlier this week and which is due to come into effect on 25 April. They also backed the Commission’s recently published guidelines on Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) screening. Those Member States that have screening mechanisms were encouraged to make full use of them and those that do not have yet should set-up such mechanisms.

“While the EU remains open for and welcomes investment, we need to know who invests and for what purpose and we must use our investment screening framework to avoid a sell-off of strategic assets,” Commissioner Hogan said. He also updated ministers on the development of a Multi-Party Interim Arbitration Arrangement as a stop-gap measure to maintain an independent, two step dispute settlement function in the WTO.

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