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Tuesday, 02 February 2016

Netherlands holds combined meeting on trade and development

The very first informal meeting of EU trade ministers and ministers for development cooperation took place during the Netherlands Presidency. At a joint lunch at the National Maritime Museum in Amsterdam on 2 February the ministers discussed ways for member states and the Commission to better align their policies on trade and development or 'aid and trade'. The group meeting, the first of its kind, is a Presidency initiative and is hosted by the Minister for Foreign Trade and Development Cooperation, Lilianne Ploumen. The Netherlands is one of the few countries with a minister who is responsible for both foreign trade and development cooperation. Ms Ploumen is keen to show her colleagues the potential added value of combining aid and trade. 'A good example is the textile industry,' she said. 'Too much of the clothing we wear is still made by people working in unhealthy, unsafe conditions who are paid too little. With a common market of 500 million consumers and 25 million companies, the EU has tremendous clout. If EU countries join forces for sustainability and corporate social responsibility, we can really improve the situation in production countries.' In the morning the development ministers discussed the issue of migration, in particular support for refugees in Syria and neighbouring countries. The Global Strategy for Foreign and Security Policy, an EU programme, and the Global Goals, launched by the United Nations in 2015, were also discussed.

Source: The Netherlands EU Presidency 2016