Franck Riester, Minister Delegate for Foreign Trade and Economic Attractiveness, and Jean-Baptiste Lemoyne, Minister of State for Tourism, French Nationals Abroad and Francophonie, both attached to the Minister for Europe and Foreign Affairs, met yesterday with Maria Reyes Maroto, the Spanish Minister of Industry, Trade and Tourism, during her visit to Paris.
These meetings allowed Mr. Riester and Mr. Lemoyne to enhance coordination with the Spanish minister on areas of common interest in the wake of the 26th French-Spanish summit held on March 15 in Montauban.
Mr. Riester and Ms. Reyes Maroto addressed the main challenges to European trade policy, particularly the strengthening of European tools to combat unfair practices, the commercial stakes of building European strategic autonomy, and the EU’s trade relations with China and the United States. On this topic, the Minister Delegate emphasized that the upcoming transatlantic summit in June should nurture the positive dynamic with the Biden Administration and help us move forward with the resolution of trade disputes, particularly in the aviation, steel and aluminum sectors. It should also contribute to building a positive agenda focused on strengthening multilateral trade rules to ensure greater fairness in trading conditions and to do a better job of taking into account the challenges of sustainable development in global trade.
He also reiterated France’s position on the EU-Mercosur draft agreement, which France cannot support as it currently stands. Finally, the two ministers discussed the progress made on several bilateral trade issues in the areas of energy, the digital sector and rail transport, particularly with the opening of this sector to competition and the establishment of French operators in Spain and vice versa.
Mr. Lemoyne and Ms. Reyes Maroto discussed the health situation and the opening of borders ahead of the summer tourist season. Mr. Lemoyne called for continuing strong European coordination with respect to third countries, especially those where troubling variants have emerged, and stressed the progress represented by the agreement on the EU Digital Covid Certificate. According to the latest data from the International Tourism Organization, France and Spain were the top two global tourist destinations in 2018 and 2019.