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Slovenian Presidency foreign trade priorities presented by Minister of the Economy, Andrej Vizjak, at the European Parliament

The Minister of the Economy, Andrej Vizjak, today presented the foreign trade priorities of the Slovenian EU Council Presidency at the European Parliament in Brussels. He highlighted the successful conclusion of the WTO Doha Development Agenda (DDA) negotiations in 2008 as the main Slovenian Presidency priority in the area of foreign trade.

“Slovenia is taking up the Presidency of the EU Council at the time when the negotiations on the Doha Development Agenda are at a turning point,” said Mr Vizjak in his address to Members of the European Parliament. “We believe that there is at least a minimal possibility of reaching agreement on the content of negotiations before the Easter holiday and we will make every effort to attain this aim.” The Minister also said that the European Union would continue to actively support the set objective of a comprehensive, balanced and ambitious agreement. The agreement should respond to the needs and concerns of developing countries, particularly those of less developed countries.

Mr Vizjak described bilateral agreements on free trade and negotiations with non-EU countries as complementing the DDA negotiations, saying, “We see them as new opportunities to increase EU competitiveness in the global economy.”

 The Minister pointed out the new negotiations that had commenced in the first half of the previous year relating to Korea, India, ASEAN, the Andes Community and Central America, and also the negotiations conducted with the Gulf Cooperation Council, EUROMED, Mercosur and the Western Balkans.

The Minister expressed his satisfaction regarding the negotiations successfully concluded with Ukraine on accession to the WTO and mentioned the negotiations pending with Russia.

Mr Vizjak also stressed the market access strategy as one of the main elements of the Global Europe Agenda, emphasising that the “Presidency will actively cooperate in promoting partnership activities between the European Commission, Member States and the economy and will encourage, in particular, small and medium-sized companies and Member States to cooperate actively within partnerships.”

The Economy Minister affirmed that economic and partnership agreements are high on the agenda of priorities in the field of trade and development. In this area, the Slovenian Presidency will make every effort to further negotiations with a view to concluding regional comprehensive and development-oriented EPAs with all six regions in all areas of the mandate. Slovenia will also seek to achieve the early adoption of the GSP Regulation for the period 2009-2011. The Minister also talked about the EU’s bilateral relations with the USA and China and other topical issues in the area of trade policy.


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Date: 23.01.2008