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International Internet Magazine. Baltic States news & analytics Tuesday, 25.09.2018, 20:35

MFA: EU free trade agreements helped Latvia to boost exports to South Korea

BC, Riga, 13.11.2017.Print version
There are positive trends in how Latvia is using the EU free trade agreements, a Foreign Ministry representative said, noting that, since the application of the EU-South Korea Trade Agreement in 2011, Latvia's export to South Korea has increased more than four-fold, reports LETA.

The Foreign Ministry's Parliamentary Secretary, Zanda Kalnina-Lukasevica, represented Latvia at the meeting of the EU Foreign Affairs Council - Trade in Brussels on Friday at which the first comprehensive assessment of the implementation of EU free trade agreements and the report's conclusions and proposals on how to promote a more active use of trade opportunities were presented, the ministry said.


Kalnina-Lukasevica said that Latvia's export to South Korea had increased from EUR 9.5 million in 2010 to EUR 48 million in 2016, while import over the same period had grown at a much lower rate.


The European Commission (EC) concludes in its report that lack of awareness is one of the reasons for the low take up of the free trade agreements. Therefore it is essential to ensure that information on trade opportunities with third countries is of high quality and given in comprehensible terms. Both the EC and the Member States should contribute to this process.


"For the business community to make better use of the free trade agreements, the European Commission should focus more on dissemination of information concerning the simplification of trade rules," the Latvian Foreign Ministry representative said.


Recent improvements to the section on the EU and Canada Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (CETA) in the EU Market Access Database, which now includes a more comprehensive information on changes in export procedures to Canada, is a positive and welcome step, she said. At the same time, the EC should continue working to improve the database also in regard to other EU trade agreements.


At the Council meeting, Trade Commissioner Cecilia Malmstrom brought the participants up-to-date on trade negotiations with Japan, expressing hope that a final deal will be reached by the end of the year. Japan is the EU's second largest trade partner in Asia, and the signing of such an agreement will strengthen economic links with Japan and Asia as a whole.


Following the Trade Commissioner's presentation on the state of play in trade talks with Mexico and Mercosur, the Member States, including Latvia, stressed the need for considering the interests of the EU's sensitive business sectors.


The Council then discussed the EU's position and priorities at the Eleventh WTO Ministerial Conference in Buenos Aires, Argentina. Kalnina-Lukasevica noted in the discussion that the EU should continue working proactively in order to achieve an agreement on concrete initiatives in fisheries and agriculture at the WTO Ministerial Conference. It is also essential for Latvia that the conference focuses on the organization's role in the matters of e-commerce and a more effective operation of small and medium sized enterprises in international markets, she said, highlighting the importance of the WTO's work being in line with current reality and opening new opportunities for our businessmen.


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