MERCOSUR: The European Union and the Mercosur countries, Argentina, Brazil, Paraguay and Uruguay, concluded lengthy negotiations in June 2019 for a pioneering trade agreement. Vice-President Valdis Dombrovskis, responsible for trade, and his team will help conclude trade deals already negotiated with Australia and New Zealand, and DG Commerce will be at the centre of discussions on the future relationship with the UK after Brexit. The UK may be able to negotiate a new free trade agreement with the third party through a bilateral agreement. However, third countries will likely want to see the terms of the UK`s EU deal before a new bilateral agreement with the UK is reached. The EU also wants maximum transparency in the negotiation of trade agreements. The European Commission publishes negotiating proposals and details on meetings with interested parties, including business groups, trade union representatives and citizens, where they can learn more about agreements that may be of concern to them. Free trade agreements are very important for Ireland, given our status as a small open economy. In the past, negotiations on access to new markets have been an important driver for economic development, particularly in the agri-food sector. This will always be the case and will be essential to achieving the objectives set out in the Food Wise 2025 strategy.
Ireland`s approach to negotiating free trade agreements is therefore marked by the need to make progress in areas where we have offensive interests and to strongly defend areas where threats may arise. We therefore take a pragmatic and balanced approach to free trade agreements, which is consistent with the government`s general policy. The prioritization of a trade and investment partnership with Africa, which advances the long-term goal of a free trade area between Africa and the EU between continents, is also on the agenda. Communications submitted by the European Union (formerly the European Communities) apply to all EU Member States. However, some EU Member States sometimes report certain measures that are specific only to their country. These are included below. The World Trade Organization is an open trade organization and a trading system. WTO agreements cover different areas of trade, such as trade in goods and services and intellectual property. The organization also offers Member State governments the opportunity to negotiate trade agreements and resolve trade disputes. Our officials, who sit on Ireland`s permanent representation to the European Union in Brussels, have ongoing contacts with representatives of the European Commission and the Council on trade issues of particular interest to Ireland. Ireland`s trade interests are also represented in the World Trade Organization (WTO), the main international trade regulator, with the help of officials from WTO-based departments. THE EU forums include the EU Council-appointed Trade Policy Committees (TPPs), which assist the Commission in trade negotiations.
Other EU trade committees, including those dealing with the Generalised Preference System (GSP) for developing countries. Ireland has a small positive agri-food record with Canada.