RIGA - It is important for Latvia that the European Union (EU) continues efforts to diversify supply chains and create new export opportunities in a geopolitically complex and economically challenging environment, Foreign Ministry Parliamentary Secretary Reinis Brusbardis said at the EU Foreign Affairs Council meeting in its Trade configuration.
As LETA was told at the Foreign Ministry, among the topics discussed were the implementation and enforcement of the EU trade policy, the state of play in the EU’s trade negotiations with third countries, EU-US trade relations, and preparations for the 13th Ministerial Conference of the World Trade Organization (WTO).
In discussions on the implementation and enforcement of EU trade agreements, the parliamentary secretary indicated that the EU needs to build and strengthen partnerships with like-minded countries through its network of free trade agreements. This will enhance the ability of our businesses to meet the challenges posed by the changing global trading order, said Brusbardis.
He welcomed the progress of the European Union’s agreements with New Zealand and Chile. At the same time, he pointed to the need to look more effectively for solutions to the progress of the agreements with Australia, as well as Mexico and Mercosur, in order to diversify supply chains and build strong and sustainable relationships with trusted partners.
In discussing EU-US trade relations, Brusbardis stressed the importance of transatlantic cooperation in the current geopolitical context. Certain issues require urgent solutions to avoid increasing tensions in transatlantic trade. “It is very important to maintain a positive trade agenda in EU-US relations and to avoid measures that would have a negative economic impact,” said the parliamentary secretary.
In the discussions on the 13th Ministerial Conference of the WTO in February 2024, Latvia advocated achieving concrete, balanced and forward-looking results. These are needed to address global and pressing trade challenges while strengthening the credibility of the WTO.
In light of the protest action launched by Polish freight forwarders blocking the movement of goods at several border crossings with Ukraine, the Parliamentary Secretary called for a solution to the situation at the Poland-Ukraine border. He pointed out that Latvia was ready to get involved and provide assistance in finding solutions to mitigate the losses caused to Latvian companies by the blockade.
The Foreign Affairs Council of the EU, in its Trade configuration, discusses issues concerning the EU’s trade relations with third countries, including trade in goods and services, the commercial side of intellectual property rights, aspects of international public procurement and foreign direct investment rules. The meetings are chaired by the minister responsible for trade issues of the country holding the Presidency of the Council of the EU.
As reported, Polish truckers have blocked border crossing points in protest at what they see as unfair competition from Ukrainian companies. The protests have caused truckers to queue in long lines on both sides of the border.
Following Russia's repeated invasion of Ukraine, the EU lifted the bloc's entry permit requirement for Ukrainian trucking companies. Polish protesters are demanding that the entry permits for Ukrainian competitors be restored, but Kyiv has rejected this demand.