Background brief – Foreign Affairs Council (Trade) of 22 May 2018

The Council, chaired by Emil Karanikolov, Bulgarian minister of economy, is expected to adopt a decision authorising the opening of negotiations on free trade agreements with Australia and New Zealand, as well as the respective negotiating directives for the Commission. It is also due to adopt conclusions on the new architecture and methodology for the negotiation and conclusion of EU trade agreements.

Ministers will discuss the current challenges facing the multilateral trading system, taking stock of the developments after the 11th WTO ministerial conference in Buenos Aires in December 2017.

Finally, ministers will hold an exchange of views on the agreements with Japan and Singapore. The Commission presented the outcome of both negotiations in April 2018 in view of their signature and conclusion.

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