EU Trade Ministers Discuss in Sofia Prospects of Multilateral Trading System, Investment Screening

Sofia, February 27 (BTA) - The prospects of the multilateral trading system and the options for a better functioning of the World Trade Organization (WTO) were high on the agenda of an informal meeting of the EU ministers responsible for trade held in Sofia Tuesday. The trade ministers agreed that the EU should play a leading role in the WTO by upholding an open, rule-based multilateral trading system and opposing all attempts to undermine it.

The meeting was chaired by Economy Minister Emil Karanikolov and attended by Cecilia Malmstrom, Commissioner for Trade.

Commissioner Malmstrom spoke about a mechanism which is in the pipeline to allow better screening of foreign direct investment. ""We welcome foreign direct investment in the EU [...] but we need to be vigilant in exceptional cases where foreign investors might seek to acquire assets essential for security and public order that is why the EC has proposed a mechanism to improve cooperation for member state to better screen investors," she said.

The Bulgarian Minister of Economy said Bulgaria will make sure to achieve the most progress on the matter in the first half of the 2018 during the Bulgarian Presidency of the EU Council.

The EU ministers reviewed the progress of free trade agreement negotiations of the EU with Mexico and the Mercosur countries. With regard to bilateral trade agreements, participants voiced hope for positive results as the negotiations enter their important final stage.

Source: Sofia