RIGA - The worst point in international trade was in the spring, Valdis Dombrovskis (New Unity), Vice-President of the European Commission (EC) and European Union (EU) Trade Commissioner, told LETA, adding that the future will depend on the course of the Covid-19 pandemic.
Regarding the forecast for the European economy, Dombrovskis noted that the spring and summer forecasts were based on the assumption that the restrictive measures imposed by member states would be concentrated in the first half of the year and gradually eased or lifted in the second half.
"Currently, we see that this scenario is not coming true, there is a second wave of the pandemic and a number of countries are starting to tighten restrictions again. This will also affect our economic outlook, which we will see next month," said the EC Vice President.
Addressing the issue of increasing protectionism in international trade during Covid-19, Dombrovskis pointed out that such trends were also visible before the crisis, citing as an example the measures implemented by the US presidential administration the past several years.
According to the EU Trade Commissioner, Europe's position is to be open to free trade and a rules-based international trading system, so that no unilateral measures are taken that run counter to Europe's commitments under the World Trade Organization or bilateral or regional free trade agreements.
"If other countries take unilateral action, the EU will defend its interests in a proportionate way by taking retaliatory measures," Dombrovskis said, adding that a review of European trade policy and public consultations were under way.
A report on the future of European trade is scheduled for next year. According to the Vice-President of the EC, the EU must remain open to international trade and a rules-based trading system, but at the same time plan to strengthen the range of instruments at the EU's disposal to defend its interests against possible unfair practices by third countries.
"The EU as a whole will be more assertive in defending its own interests and those of its companies in the global market. Overall, we see that the picture of international trade is now much more conflict-prone than it was a few years ago, and Europe must be more proactive in defending its interests." Dombrovskis.