Lithuania has submitted its proposals to the European Commission for the EU's future trade policy
In response to the COVID-19 pandemic and other global trade challenges, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs presented its proposals to the European Commission for the EU trade policy review. The document was prepared in consultation with the Economic Diplomacy Council, institutions, and associated business structures.
In its proposals, Lithuania emphasises the need to assess the EU’s dependence in the sectors necessary for the implementation of the EU’s future key strategies. Trade policy must contribute to the development of electronics, telecommunications, biotechnology, security and renewable energy technology sectors, while, in order to avoid future economic disruptions, similar to the ones that have occurred this spring, the EU needs to develop and establish crisis management procedures.
In the document, Lithuania underlines the need to reform the World Trade Organisation (WTO). “Current rules do not allow for an effective protection against anti-competitive practices common in a non-market economy. Therefore, the trade policy review should address activities incompatible with a market economy,” said Zananavičius. In addition, the trade policy review should give clear directions for strengthening instruments for the intra-EU trade.
It is very important for Lithuania to pay attention to the development of the network of free trade agreements (FTAs), as well as to the implementation of negotiated agreements. Lithuanian exporters save in customs duties around EUR 40 million every year thanks to the FTA. However, the savings may grow significantly, if the efforts to implement the FTA are stepped up. To this end, it is proposed to pay greater attention to small and medium-sized enterprises, to encourage and facilitate their successful engagement in international trade. This is particularly important for Lithuania, because 97% of Lithuanian enterprises, engaged in exporting outside the EU, are small and medium-sized.
Lithuania also focuses on the role of trade in the transition to a green economy. “Lithuania supports efforts to move towards a green and more responsible economy, but stresses the need for a balanced approach, and a better coordination of climate policy and industrial competitiveness,” said Zananavičius.