On October 17, the Atlantic Council’s Eurogrowth Initiative hosted Jyrki Katainen, European Commission Vice President for Jobs, Growth, Investment and Competitiveness.

At a challenging time for trade policy, European Commission President Jean Claude Juncker made trade one of the central pillars of his 2017 State of the Union address. Vice-President Katainen visited Washington for a series of meetings with key US Cabinet officials to underscore the European Union’s (EU) commitment to the multilateral, rules-based trading system. 

Vice-President Katainen made a passionate plea to maintain a multilateral, open global system. He insisted that “open, rules-based and fair trade is a positive engine for prosperity, innovation and peace” He nuanced that the EU is not a “naïve free trader”, adding that “openness and competition are good only if they are fair and based on high standards”.

Vice-President Katainen commented on new Free Trade Agreements (FTA) that the EU is negotiating with around 20 partners around the globe, announcing that the EU intends to “open up a new market every six months”. He explained that the EU has just started to implement its trade agreement with Canada (CETA), politically concluded this year an FTA with Japan, and hopes to conclude deals soon with Vietnam, Singapore, and Mexico, as well as to start negotiations with Australia and New Zealand.

You can watch the event here
You can read the full-text of Vice-President Katainen here