Trade in the 21st Century: The challenge of regulatory convergence

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Trade in the 21st Century: The challenge of regulatory convergence


Free trade agreements (FTAs) in the past focused on tariff reduction. But the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) will bore into areas normally considered part of domestic policy, such as services, public procurement and – in particular – regulation, Trade Commissioner Cecilia Malmström said during a “conversation with” Friends of Europe on 19 March.

TTIP aims to go further than any other trade policy agreement on that issue,” Malmström said. “It’s an ambitious goal: It’s technically complex and it’s politically complex, since the issues at stake in a regulation on the environment or health or safety go far beyond economics

Trade is important for the EU economy because exports support over 30 million jobs, while imports provide consumers with lower prices and greater choice, Malmström said. Emerging economies are providing new opportunities, and FTAs are a way to benefit from these.

Read EU Commissioner Malmström’s speech here.



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As Commissioner, Malmström is responsible for representing the EU at the World Trade Organisation and negotiating key bilateral trade agreements, including the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership. Prior to her career in the Commission, Malmström was Minister for EU Affairs in the Swedish government and has been a Member of the European Parliament Committee on Foreign Affairs, and on Constitutional Affairs. As well as public service, Malmström has authored a number of books and articles on European regionalism, European politics, Spanish politics, terrorism and immigration. Cecilia Malmström previously served as Commissioner in charge of Home Affairs, working to establish a common European police, asylum and migration policy.

Moderated by

Shada Islam

Managing Director at New Horizons Project



Photo of Cecilia Malmström
Cecilia Malmström

Senior Fellow at the Peterson Institute for International Economics, former European commissioner, former Swedish minister and Trustee of Friends of Europe

Show more information on Cecilia Malmström

Cecilia Malmström is a renowned Swedish politician, who has held various positions at the national and European levels. As the European commissioner for trade, she was responsible for pursuing an ambitious trade agenda to the benefit of European citizens, SMEs and the broader economy, as well as negotiating key bilateral trade agreements, including a comprehensive EU-China investment agreement. Prior to her role at the Commission, Malmström was also the Swedish minister for EU affairs and served as a member of the European Parliament Committee on Foreign Affairs and Committee on Constitutional Affairs, among others.

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