On Thursday, Minister for Business Environment, Trade and Entrepreneurship Ștefan-Radu Oprea participated in the event on “Beyond Trade for All: Time to promote the benefits of agri-food trade”, which was hosted in Brussels by CELCAA (European Liaison Committee for Agricultural and Agri-Food Trade). The conference was also attended by European Commissioner for Trade Cecilia Malmström and by European Commissioner for Agriculture and Rural Development Phil Hogan. Other speakers included representatives of private companies in the agri-food trade sector.
The Romanian minister delivered the message of the Council Presidency as a guest speaker in the opening session, together with European Commissioner for Trade Cecilia Malmström.
In his speech, Minister Oprea outlined the priorities of the Romanian Council Presidency in the area of international trade, such as fostering an EU trade agenda that would bring benefits to the citizens and businesses, especially for SMEs.
“The EU trade policy can make the Community agricultural sector not only more competitive, but also more stable and more attractive for the new generations of farmers. We must not only promote our products, but also our values. Striking the right balance and choosing the right partners for the EU trade agreements that include the agri-food sector are key”, Ștefan-Radu Oprea stated.
In the context of reviewing the main results of the Trade for All strategy, Minister Oprea recalled the EU-Japan Economic Partnership Agreement that entered into force on February 1, 2019. “The EU-Japan Economic Partnership Agreement lays the ground for the largest free-trade area in the world. Every year it saves EU companies EUR 1 billion in export duties, as most of them have been removed, and it breaks down a number of regulatory barriers”, Minister Oprea stated in his address.
With regard to market access for agricultural products, the agreement scraps Japanese customs duties for many cheeses and wine exports, allows for virtually duty-free trade on fresh pork meat, as well as for increased EU beef exports to Japan and ensures the protection in Japan of more than 200 high-quality European agricultural products (Geographical Indications).
On the margins of the event, Ștefan-Radu Oprea exchanged views with European Commissioner Cecilia Malmström on the latest developments related to the EU trade agenda.