Franck Riester, Minister Delegate for Foreign Trade and Economic Attractiveness, attached to the Minister for Europe and Foreign Affairs, is meeting today in Brussels with Valdis Drombovskis, European Commissioner for Trade, Thierry Breton, European Commissioner for Internal Market, Didier Reynders, European Commissioner for Justice, and Virginijus Sinkevicius, European Commissioner for Environment, Oceans and Fisheries.
This visit falls within the framework of preparations for the French presidency of the Council of the European Union during the first half of 2022 and the regular dialogue between France and the European Commission, notably on trade policy issues.
The minister delegate will discuss trans-Atlantic relations with his interlocutors in follow-up to the E.U-U.S. summit on June 15 which facilitated the renewal of trans-Atlantic trade relations, notably including the resolution of the Airbus/ Boeing dispute and the creation of a U.S.-EU Trade and Technology Council.
Mr. Riester will reiterate France’s global support for the new trade strategy presented by the European Commission in February, whose goal is to provide balanced responses to the challenges posed by the health crisis, trade tensions, and the environmental and climate emergency.
He and his interlocutors will review the trade agreements currently being negotiated. On that occasion he will stress the need for a perfect match between the EU’s trade agenda and the imperatives of sustainable development, the fight against climate change, particularly the inclusion of the Paris Agreement as a crucial element of these accords, and respect for ambitious social norms. He will reaffirm in particular France’s position on the EU-Mercosur agreement, which cannot be ratified as it currently stands, as well as our full support for the signing of the EU-Mexico association agreement.
Aligning our trade policy with our sustainable development goals also means developing autonomous EU instruments such as the carbon border adjustment mechanism and the legislative initiative on combating imported deforestation. In order to better protect our companies and jobs from unfair and coercive practices, the Minister Delegate will advocate the adoption of the Commission proposal to give the EU a tool to combat the distortive effects of foreign subsidies on the domestic market and the formulation of a European law on companies’ duty of vigilance. He will especially emphasize the importance for the EU to have an effective instrument to defend itself against coercion.
Finally, the Minister Delegate will underline French concerns over new Russian trade barriers affecting champagne producers and will draw his interlocutors’ attention to the difficulty of supplying lumber to French and European industries because of tensions on international markets.