6 - 12 June, 2001

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Maltese delegation attends meeting of trade ministers of euro-mediterranean partnership in Brussels

A Maltese delegation led by George Hyzler, Parliamentary Secretary in the Ministry for Economic Services, was in Brussels to participate at the meeting of Trade Ministers of Euro-Mediterranean Partnership.

The main objective of the meeting was the reinvigoration of the trade chapter of the Partnership. There was a general recognition that the progress recorded in trade and investment within the Mediterranean basin has been quite slow, despite the fact that the Euro-Mediterranean initiative was launched over five years ago. A number of factors have served to hamper progress, including different systems of rules of origin and of trade-related regulatory frameworks as well as the lack of integration amongst the Mediterranean countries themselves. The meeting also discussed issues of a multilateral nature, especially in light of the forthcoming WTO Ministerial Conference planned to be held in Qatar in November 2001.

During the meeting, the EU registered its willingness to support initiatives intended to address any deficiencies hampering progress within the Partnership. This included the establishment of Working Groups to deal with issues such as the approximation of regulatory frameworks, the harmonisation of rules of origin as well as trade in services.

In his intervention, Parliamentary Secretary Hyzler acknowledged the importance of tackling both multilateral and regional trade issues especially in light of the interlinkages that characterise international economic relations. Dr. Hyzler also stressed the need for further developments within the Euro-Mediterranean initiative, especially with respect to the conclusion of Association Agreements, addressing rules of origin issues as well as further integration amongst the partner countries. It was pointed out that the lack of progress in these areas was hampering trade and investment flows in the region.

Dr. Hyzler also spoke about Malta’s support for further development of the multilateral trading system. This reflects the country’s belief that progress at the regional level will be rendered meaningless unless carried out within a fully functioning multilateral system.

Present during the meeting was EU Commissioner for Trade Pascal Lamy and various ministers responsible for trade from the EU member states and the partner states.

The Business Times, Network House, Vjal ir-Rihan San Gwann SGN 07
Tel: (356) 382741-3, 382745-6 | Fax: (356) 385075 | e-mail: editorial@networkpublications.com.mt