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European Union Trade Policy under debate

10 Feb · 21h00

© Portuguese Presidency of the Council of the European Union / Pedro Sá da Bandeira

The new perspectives for global trade and its challenges were discussed at a digital seminar on the European Union's Trade Policy, held this Wednesday, 10 February.


Also on the table was the important role of trade policy instruments for ensuring equitable conditions of competitiveness for national and European companies, as well as the proper implementation of EU trade agreements, barriers to trade, the participation of small and medium-sized companies in global trade and the relevant role of trade defence instruments in the protection of European industry.


The European Commission presented the Access2Markets platform to the over nine hundred people registered. The platform provides relevant information for companies exporting from the EU, including information on trade partnerships and customs duties and charges, for example.


On a panel moderated by the CIP (Confederation of Portuguese Business), the AORP (Portuguese Jewellery and Watchmaking Association) presented its sector and two companies – Matcerâmica and Ferneto – spoke of the benefits associated with EU free trade agreements in terms of exports to third countries, particularly for small and medium-sized enterprises.

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Eurico Brilhante Dias, Secretary of State for Internationalization © Portuguese Presidency of the Council of the European Union / Pedro Sá da Bandeira

At the opening of the seminar, the Secretary of State for Internationalisation, Eurico Brilhante Dias, pointed out that the European Union's Trade Policy “is a key element in the EU's foreign policy" and it is fundamental for the EU, as a global player, to be a contributor to peace.


The Secretary of State believes that the strategic autonomy of the EU must not “signify protectionism or closure”, but rather look to the potential in relationships with different international partners. Eurico Brilhante Dias highlighted the importance of reinforcing multilateralism and relaunching the World Trade Organisation from a perspective that places the European Union in a leadership position.

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João Torres, Secretary of State for Trade, Services and Consumer Protection © Portuguese Presidency of the Council of the European Union / Pedro Sá da Bandeira

At the close of the seminar, the Secretary of State for Trade, Services and Consumer Protection, João Torres, highlighted the importance of encouraging reflection on the trade policy through the participation of different players from private companies and institutions. “If we want to continue to develop the economic model”, participation “is decisive for recovery” in the coming years.


João Torres advocated fostering competitiveness in the internal market and protection against unfair competition practices. The focus on the multilateral agenda encompasses trade agreements that are favourable to Portuguese and European companies, without neglecting the role of small and medium-sized enterprises. The Secretary of State encouraged an emphasis on innovation, looking on this period as an opportunity within the twin green and digital transition paradigm.

Also taking part were: Denis Redonnet (the European Commission's Chief Trade Enforcement Officer), Fernanda Ferreira Dias (Director-General for Economic Activities, Ministry for the Economy and the Digital Transition) and Maria João Botelho (Deputy Director-General for European Affairs, Ministry of Foreign Affairs).