BRUSSELS – European Union trade ministers have gathered in Malta for a meeting overshadowed by uncertainty about the new U.S. administration's approach to trade issues.
Economy Minister Christian Cardona of Malta, which holds the 28-nation EU's presidency, said that Friday's meeting would include a discussion of "the new scenario" following the change of power in Washington.
One of Donald Trump's first actions as president was to withdraw the U.S. from a trans-Pacific trade agreement.
Cardona said that the Trump administration has been "silent until now on European Union issues." But he says its decision on the Pacific trade pact has "triggered more challenges and more opportunities" for the bloc to negotiate faster free-trade agreements with countries shut out of agreements with the U.S.
He said that "multilateralism is the future of trade."