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THE MINISTRY FOR THE ECONOMY AND INDUSTRY Malta continues to support EU leadership in international trade

Minister Silvio Schembri reiterates the country’s support towards stronger trade relations amongst WTO members and improved commercial ties between EU and US

During the EU Foreign Affairs Council on Trade in Brussels, Minister for the Economy and Industry Silvio Schembri called for the EU to safeguard its credibility as a reputable international trade partner. He said that Malta supports the strengthening of trade relations amongst the 164 World Trade Organisation country members and improved commercial ties between the EU and the US.

During a discussion on trade agreements, Malta was among the countries which called for progress to finalise ongoing advanced Free Trade Agreement negotiations with countries such as New Zealand and Chile. “Our economies are dependent on international markets for goods and services, and investment is very important for growth and jobs,” said Minister Schembri. He welcomed the recent improvements in the trade relations with the US.

The EU Ministers also tackled the issue of e-commerce. During his intervention, Minister Silvio Schembri expressed Malta’s backing for joint statements initiatives made by several members of the WTO and related proposals which call for the facilitation of systems revolving around investments in e-payments, e-contracts, e-signatures, e-authentication, data flow, intellectual property and business trust.

The topic of fisheries subsidies was also debated. Minister Schembri appealed for the progress on agreements aimed at finding a sustainable balance between supporting fisheries production and fish stock conservation, while respecting the EU’s sensitivities.

The discussion also addressed common interests in view of the upcoming 12th World Trade Organisation Ministerial Conference, which will be held at the end of November in Geneva. A work-programme that covers the reform of the organisation’s holistic operations is being proposed.

The function of the WTO is to regulate and facilitate international trade between nations. Governments use the organisation to establish, revise, and enforce the rules that govern international trade.

Minister Schembri noted that Malta continues to view the WTO’s rule-based multilateral trading system as essential towards safeguarding against protectionist tendencies, as protectionist policies place specific restrictions on international trade for the benefit of a singular domestic economy. He concluded by saying that Malta, as a small and open economy, wants to ensure the promotion of multilateral trade rules. Thus, it will keep on striving to set a level playing-field between all WTO international members.

During the discussion in the Council, EU Trade Commissioner Valdis Dombrovskis welcomed Malta’s efforts in promoting the EU’s role in plurilateral trade relations.

Source: Office of the Prime Minister