The Foreign Affairs Council will be held on 10 September in Brussels. I will be representing the UK.
The agenda items are as follows:
Economic Partnership Agreements
Ministers will discuss next steps on the economic partnership agreements (EPAs) with African, Caribbean and Pacific States, including how to progress negotiations further, being as flexible as possible while retaining compatibility with the rules of the World Trade Organisation (WTO). They may also discuss the implementation of EPAs already signed and the impact of EPAs on regional integration.
South Korea Free Trade Agreement
The presidency will seek Ministers’ approval and signature of this free trade agreement (FTA) on behalf of the European Council. Discussion is also likely to cover the progress of the associated bilateral safeguard regulation through ordinary legislative procedure in the European Parliament. They will also agree to provisional application of the FTA’s commitments, the date to be confirmed later in the year following parallel work in the European Parliament.
Ministers will discuss the Commission’s communication on the future of the European Union’s international investment policy. This discussion is likely to cover which countries will take priority as the EU seeks partners for new EU-investment agreements and what these agreements should cover. It is also likely that the regulation to manage the transfer of competency for international investment policy, which was published in parallel with the communication, will also be raised.
Any Other Business: Pakistan
Following the catastrophic flooding which continues to cause considerable devastation in Pakistan, Ministers will discuss plans for the EU to agree a comprehensive package of support for Pakistan’s recovery both in the short and longer-term, including substantive measures on trade. The discussion is likely to cover both increased humanitarian assistance from member states and the Commission, as well as mechanisms to grant Pakistan increased market access to the EU, either through membership of the generalised system of preferences(+) (GSP+) scheme or through immediate, short-term reductions in EU tariffs on key Pakistani exports.
Any Other Business: Malaysia FTA
Trade Commissioner Karel de Gucht will inform Ministers of recent discussions with Malaysia about the possible start of negotiations for a free trade agreement under the EU-ASEAN free trade agreement mandate.