A summary of the exchange of views with Emil Karanikolov, Bulgarian Minister of Economy, representing the President-in-Office of the Council, is available.
Following negotiations on the sidelines of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) 2017 Economic Leaders’ Week held in Vietnam on 6–11 November, the trade ministers of the remaining 11 signatories to the Trans-Pacific Partnership (one fewer, after the USA withdrew) agreed on the core elements of its revised version – the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for the Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP). The revised agreement is expected to be signed by spring 2018 and to come into effect by 2019.
With its strategy paper entitled ‘Trade for all’ in 2015, the Commission launched an EU trade policy that focussed on values such as human rights, workers’ rights, environmental protection and sustainable development. The idea was that free trade should be fair for both consumers in Europe and for citizens elsewhere. This approach was pursued in bilateral trade negotiations and in legislative proposals on, for example, conflict minerals, dual-use goods or the investment court system. But by the end of 2016 the tenor of the debate on international trade had changed, shifting the focus to national interests and fairness for consumers and producers at home. The UK’s decision to withdraw from the EU and the election of President Trump in the US, together with the expiry of the clause recognising China’s non-market economy status, contributed to this shift.