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Main remarks by the Foreign Ministry’s Secretary General for International Economic Relations and Openness, Ioannis Smyrlis, at the Informal EU Ministers of Foreign Affairs/Trade Council (2 March 2021)
In his statement regarding the only item on the agenda of the Informal EU Ministers of Foreign Affairs/Trade Council – the Commission's Communication on the Trade Policy Review – the Secretary General for International Economic Relations and Openness, Ioannis Smyrlis, stressed that the EU Trade and Investment policy should be able to meet the current challenges while also serving the EU’s long-term goals, including the green and digital transformation of the European and global economy.
Mr. Smyrlis stated that the European Union’s ultimate goal should be to promote a greener, fairer, more responsible and resilient global economy. In this context, he stressed that balancing our various ambitions is critical, clarifying that the primary goal of trade is to create growth and new jobs. The creation of a functional and competitive single market, along with the parallel development of synergies between various policies, is, for Mr. Smyrlis and the other participants in the Informal Meeting, the main challenge. According to Mr. Smyrlis, building bridges of cooperation between our trade partners must remain at the centre of our priorities.
Regarding the modernisation of the World Trade Organization, in the context of the Revision of the EU Trade and Investment policy, the Secretary General for International Economic Relations and Openness supported the approach that has been adopted by the European Union, while also pointing out the need to find a common ground between the European partners, especially before the 12th Ministerial Conference.
Mr. Smyrlis stressed the important role of the USA in the efforts to restore order in multilateral trade and promote sustainability, particularly in the disagreements that have arisen over the issues of aircraft and steel tariffs.
In closing, Mr. Smyrlis stressed that the EU can only benefit from enhancing its partnerships with neighbouring countries and the countries of Africa. In this direction, Greece is fully in accord with the emphasis placed on reaching and implementing trade agreements for the benefit of enterprises. Moreover, he argued that the EU should defend its interests against unfair practices, acting decisively to safeguard its rights when deemed necessary.