- Title: EU leaders agree to modernise their trade defence instruments
- Date: 21st October 2016
- Summary: BRUSSELS, BELGIUM (OCTOBER 21, 2016) (REUTERS) EXTERIOR OF EU COUNCIL BUILDING
- Embargoed: 5th November 2016 13:13
- Keywords: EU trade defence instruments United States
- Location: BRUSSELS, BELGIUM
- City: BRUSSELS, BELGIUM
- Country: Belgium
- Topics: European Union,Government/Politics
- Reuters ID: LVA00154Y7VBB
- Aspect Ratio: 16:9
- Story Text: European Council President Donald Tusk warned EU citizens have to feel their interests are in good hands as leaders of the 28-member bloc agreed on Friday (October 21) to modernize their instruments to defend against unfair trade practices.
Speaking at a news conference after the leaders' meeting, Tusk said the European citizens' lack of trust in projects of international trade deals the Commission has put on the table could jeopardize forthcoming free trade agreements.
"Our citizens are increasingly concerned about whether the trade deals we negotiate are in their best interests. And I am afraid that we won't be able to continue to negotiate FTAs (Free Trade Agreements) if we do not prove in practice that we are very serious about protecting European consumers, workers and companies," Tusk said.
Tusk said EU members assigned to their trade ministers the task to define new trade defence tools.
"Today we have made some progress in this regard. Leaders committed to reach an urgent agreement on the modernisation of all the EU's trade defence instruments. And we have tasked our trade ministers with breaking the deadlock," he said.
Also speaking at the news conference, European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker noted that the United States protected its steel sector much more than Europe, while China had a huge steel production over-capacity.
The head of the European executive warned against the unfairness linked to a trade defence imbalance between the EU and its trading partners.
"But I cannot accept that the Americans and others are protecting their industry and that we are naive guys wanting to charm all the others. No, we have to stop charming and we have to react properly but not aggressively to the threats, which are coming from the outside," Juncker said.
Juncker said he hoped a deal could be reached between the Commission and the parliament of the Belgian province of Wallonia in the next days on the terms of a Europe-Canada trade deal, so that the agreement could still be signed as planned next week.
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