The EU’s trade and development policy is outlined in the 2012 communication on ‘Trade, growth and development’. Least developed countries (LDCs) benefit from the Everything But Arms scheme, while the Generalised Scheme of Preferences has been reformed and Economic Partnership Agreements (EPA) for ACP countries replace preferential treatment for non-LDCs. A new EU Aid for Trade strategy is being discussed on the basis of a new Commission communication issued in September 2017. The EU actively supports the WTO Development Round.
A summary of the exchange of views with Emil Karanikolov, Bulgarian Minister of Economy, representing the President-in-Office of the Council, is available.
Two Bulgarian ministers – Mr Emil Karanikolov, Minister for the Economy, and Ms Monika Panayotova, Deputy Minister for the Bulgarian Presidency of the Council of the EU –presented today the Presidency priorities in their areas of responsibility before two committees of the European parliament – International Trade (INTA) and Constitutional Affairs (AFCO).
Following the political agreement in principle reached in July 2017, a final accord on the EU-Japan Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA) was announced on 8 December 2017. The Commission aims that the agreement come into effect before the end of its mandate in 2019, after the approval of the Council and the European Parliament. However, negotiations on investment protection standards and investment protection dispute resolution will continue.
The European Commission has quietly concluded the free trade agreement with Japan today, but the European Council and European Parliament must still decide. GUE/NGL MEPs warn that the Japan-EU Free Trade Agreement (JEFTA) contains many of the same problems as TTIP and CETA which European citizens have clearly stated that they find unacceptable.
On 11 December, development ministers discussed and adopted conclusions on the updated strategy on aid for trade, as presented in the Commission communication of November 2017 “Achieving prosperity through trade and investment: updating the 2007 joint EU strategy on aid for trade”.