US News The European Union wants a reform of the WTO and green its trade policy

17:10  18 february  2021
17:10  18 february  2021 Source:   ouest-france.fr

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Le vice-président de la Commission européenne, Valdis Dombrovskis, le 18 février à Bruxelles. © FRANCISCO SECO / AFP The Vice-President of the European Commission, Valdis Dombrovskis, on February 18 in Brussels.

The European Commission has defined its new trade policy to “fully support ecological and digital transformations”. She also calls for reform of the World Trade Organization.

The European Union will place the fight against global warming at the heart of its foreign trade and will push with all its weight in favor of a reform of the World Trade Organization, according to the new European trade strategy unveiled Thursday by Brussels.

Faced with the "challenges" of the post-pandemic, "trade policy must fully support the ecological and digital transformations of our economy" , said Valdis Dombrovskis, Vice-President of the European Commission.

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The EU executive, which drives the trade policy of the Twenty-Seven, also wants to "take the lead in global reform efforts" of the WTO, he told a press conference.

Compliance with the Paris agreement

In this strategy intended to steer European trade over the next decade, the Commission proposes that future trade agreements be conditional on compliance with the 2015 Paris agreement on the climate - a requirement lacking in previous agreements signed by the EU.

Environmental and climate issues are already at the heart of the reluctance of several European states regarding the ratification of the free trade agreement between Mercosur (Argentina, Brazil, Paraguay and Uruguay) and the EU, in the face of fears of massive deforestation in the Amazon.

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Brussels also intends to assert its independence from the commercial superpowers of the United States and China, by deploying active multilateralism, in particular towards India and African countries.

"The opportunity to make a new start"

In the eyes of the EU, the rebalancing of world trade requires a profound revision of the WTO (164 members), paralyzed by the disengagement of the United States, Washington accusing the China of abusive practices and deeming the rules of the organization insufficient to remedy them.

The recent appointment of Nigerian Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, who will take over as head of the WTO on March 1, "represents an opportunity to make a fresh start" , believes the Commission.

Likewise, the Europeans expect deeper cooperation with the Biden administration after four years of rocky relations due to the protectionist policies of former President Donald Trump.

Against forced labor

The EU also assured Thursday that it would put in place mechanisms to ensure in its trade agreements that companies do not use forced labor - a particularly sensitive subject after the signing by Brussels in December of 'a controversial investment deal with China.

The ratification of this agreement promises to be difficult, the European Parliament showing itself fiercely hostile to it because of the human rights abuses attributed to Beijing and the situation of the Uyghur Muslim minority, victim according to NGOs and Western States , a policy of mass internment and forced labor.

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© NACHO DOCE / REUTERS A covid intensive care unit, in Barcelona, ​​in January 2021. The symbolic threshold of 500,000 deaths was crossed on Tuesday evening February 9 in the European Union. While the contamination figures are still very high in several European countries, the trend seems to be improving in recent days.

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