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Lithuania’s Foreign Vice-Minister: We need to find way to maintain positive agenda for trade relations with USA

The Vice-Minister of Foreign Affairs of Lithuania Albinas Zananavičius participated in the EU Foreign Affairs (Trade) Council of 22 May in Brussels.

Ministers discussed the EU’s trade relations with the United States and agreed on the importance of strategic relations with the U.S.A., as well as the need to keep the unity of the European Union on this issue.

„Despite a difficult context, the U.S.A. is a strategic partner of the European Union in the areas of security and trade. Thus, we need to find a way to maintain a positive agenda for our trade relations,“ said Lithuania‘s Foreign Vice-Minister A. Zananavičius.

He voiced support for the European Commissioner for Trade Cecilia Malmström’s plan of cooperation with the U.S. in four areas. The plan would allow maintaining a positive agenda for trade relations, if the U.S. granted a permanent exemption to the EU in light of the planned application of a tariff on steel and tariff on aluminium and the imminent expiry of the exemption from those tariffs granted to the EU until 1 June.

Lithuania‘s Foreign Vice-Minister A. Zananavičius emphasized that cooperation with the U.S. in the field of energy was especially important for Lithuania.

As regards the EU-Japan Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA), Lithuania‘s Foreign Vice-Minister expressed hope that the EPA  would enter into force on 1 January 2019, as this agreement would significantly improve opportunities for exports to Japan for Lithuanian agriculture and food companies.

In a debate on the EU trade negotiating agenda, Lithuania‘s Foreign Vice-Minister highlighted the importance of the EU’s leadership in strengthening the multilateral trading system and preserving the functioning World Trade Organization.

Lithuania‘s Foreign Vice-Minister also expressed support for the trilateral cooperation of the United States, European Union and Japan to complement WTO rules with a commitment to fair competition worldwide and strengthened subsidy rules. It is important for Lithuania to find an effective solution for trade-distorting dual-pricing policies in this context.

According to the Vice-Minister A. Zananavičius, the new architecture of EU trade agreements will help strengthening the efficiency and credibility of the EU’s trade policy, while the approved Council outcome will promote greater transparency and greater involvement of national parliaments into the negotiation process.

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