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Minister Zdravko Počivalšek attended a virtual meeting

Minister Zdravko Počivalšek attended a virtual meeting of EU ministers responsible for trade, where they discussed the new medium-term trade strategy, which was published on 18 February. It sets out the political direction of the EU trade and investment policy for the upcoming years in estimating the contribution of the trade policy to a fast and sustainable recovery and to open strategic autonomy.

Minister Zdravko Počivalšek during virtual meeting

Minister Zdravko Počivalšek during virtual meeting

The drafting of the new trade strategy with consultations with Member States and civil society has been ongoing since June 2020 and is the consequence of new challenges, especially the new and more sustainable growth model which was set out in the European Green Deal and the European Digital Strategy. The trade policy for a stronger EU is based on the concept of open strategic autonomy, openness and a commitment to an open and fair trade policy with efficient, diverse and sustainable global value chains. It includes resilience and competitiveness for the strengthening of the EU's economy, sustainability and fairness, which reflect the responsible and fair operation of the EU, and determination and cooperation based on rules.

"We must build a resilient and sustainable EU economy and create opportunities for enterprises, especially small and medium-sized ones. We support a more resolute plan for combating climate change and sustainable development," said Minister Zdravko Počivalšek.

Slovenia believes that the EU should play a leading role and increase efforts to produce tangible results at the 12th WTO Ministerial Conference with the focus on the re-establishment of the WTO dispute settlement mechanism and the restoration of its negotiating role, ensuring tangible results regarding the subsidies for fisheries, national legislation for services, and e-services.

The trade policy should be developed together with the industrial policy and it should set out ways to increase its resilience. This can be achieved through greater economic diversity with free-trade agreements playing a key role, whereby EU rules and principles have to observed, also in the fields of labour and environment.

Regarding additional EU political instruments for the protection against unfair trade practices, it is key that their implementation and enforcement are managed carefully and in a balanced way.

Minister Počivalšek also emphasised "that the EU should continue to cooperate with like-minded global partners and strive for the strengthening of the partnerships with key growing regions as strength does not come from self-sufficiency, but from the ability to build trust and connections between partners."

Based on the ministerial discussion, the guidelines for future work at the level of responsible committees will be determined with a view of adopting Council conclusions at the FAC – Trade meeting on 20 May 2021.