European Union (EU) trade ministers, meeting on Friday in Brussels, drew lessons from the Canada – EU trade agreement, CETA, whose signature was briefly delayed when Belgium’s francophone region demanded responses to its concerns, and admitted that greater efforts were needed on transparency and communication during trade negotiations. Friday’s meeting was the trade ministers’ first encounter since CETA was signed on October 30 by Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and the presidents of the European Commission, Jean-Claude Juncker, and European Council, Donald Tusk. The ministers used the opportunity to review the events surrounding the signing of the accord.
“An effort needs to be made to communicate, particularly to alter-globalization groups; we have to communicate better on the progress we achieve,” Belgium’s Foreign Minister, Didier Reynders, told Agence Belga, the Belgian news agency. “The European Commission is also for strengthening the transparency of negotiation mandates.”
While the CETA has already been signed, “the agreement with Vietnam, the negotiations with Japan and Mercosur – the economic group linking Argentina, Brazil, Paraguay, Uruguay and Venezuela – are still on the cards,” he added.