What is strategic about the EU’s new trade strategy?

Webinar · 30.03.2021 11:00 - 12:15

Tuesday 30 March, at 11:00 – 12:15 (EEST)

A new trade strategy for the European Union will be finalized during this spring. The reform of the EU’s trade policy is taking place at a challenging moment. The Covid-19 crisis, great-power and technological competition, the fight against climate change, and other developments are greatly affecting the operational environment of trade policy. The interface of trade policy with other policy sectors, including foreign and security policies and EU internal market policies, is becoming more dynamic and difficult.

How can we keep the markets open and support the competitiveness of EU companies while at the same time safeguarding other relevant policy interests?

Registrations to maija.salonen@fiia.fi by Friday 26 March. 


Ignacio Garcia Bercero

Director, Multilateral Affairs, Strategy, Analysis and Evaluation, European Commission

Ignacio Garcia Bercero is Director in charge of Multilateral Affairs, Strategy and economic Analysis at DG Trade in the European Commission. Active at the European Commission since 1987, from 2012 he was responsible for overseeing EC activities in the fields of Neighboring Countries, US and Canada. He coordinated the work of the EU-US High Level Working Group on Growth and Jobs and was Chief Negotiator for the TTIP negotiations. From 2005 until 2011 he worked in the areas of Sustainable Development, Bilateral Trade Relations (South Asia, South East Asia, Korea, EuroMed and the Middle East). Mr Garcia Becero was also the Chief Negotiator for the EU-Korea and EU-India Free Trade Agreements. Before that, he worked in the areas of WTO Dispute Settlement, and Trade Barriers Regulation. He has written several papers and publications on the subjects of Trade Laws, GATT and WTO System, Safeguard Measures, Trade and Competition, DSU Reform and Dispute Settlement in European FTAs. Mr Garcia Bercero holds a Law Degree from the Law Faculty of Universidad Complutense, Madrid and a Master of Laws Degree (with Distinction) from University College, London.

Ilkka-Pekka Similä

Director General, Department for External Economic Relations, Ministry for Foreign Affairs of Finland

Ilkka-Pekka Similä has been Director General of the Department for External Economic Relations since September 2017. Previously, he has been the Head of Mission in Hanoi, the Ambassador in Abu Dhabi, and has held various positions in the Permanent Mission of Finland in Geneva and the Embassies in Cairo and Vienna. At the Ministry Similä has worked as Director in the Department for External Economic Relations and held position in the Political Department and the Department for International Development Cooperation. He joined the Foreign Ministry in 1989.


Hanna Laurén

Director, Trade Policy, Confederation of Finnish Industries

Hanna Laurén works as a Director of Trade Policy at the Confederation of Finnish Industries. Ms Laurén, a graduate of the Diplomatic Academy of Vienna and University of Kent, has a professional background in both public and private sectors. In public sector she worked for the European Commission in Geneva, Costa Rica and Panama and in the Finnish Parliament. Her jobs in private sector include senior consultancy jobs in London, Brussels and Helsinki. Between 2013 to 2020, Ms Laurén worked at Finnair Plc as Director responsible for the airline’s market access and government relations functions.

Okko-Pekka Salmimies

Visiting Senior Fellow, FIIA

Okko-Pekka Salmimies is currently a Visiting Senior Fellow at FIIA. Before joining FIIA he was Ambassador for Team Finland at the Ministry for Foreign Affairs of Finland. From 2013 to 2016 he worked as Permanent Representative and Ambassador to the OECD and UNESCO in Paris. His previous assignments have included among others Director of Trade Policy Unit, Director of Civil Society Unit, deputy head of Permanent Representation to the OECD in Paris, diplomatic adviser to Minister for Foreign Trade, Development and European Affairs and trade and transatlantic relations desk officer at the Permanent Representation to the EU in Brussels.


Juha Jokela

Programme Director, FIIA

Dr Juha Jokela is the Programme Director of the European Union research programme at FIIA. His current research interests include political implications of brexit, differentiated integration (in EU’s external relations), and the EMU reforms. His previous projects and publications include political and security developments in the Arctic, EU’s role in the G20, EU’s Asia policy, Europeanization of foreign policy, and Finland’s EU policy. Previously he has worked in the EUISS as a Senior Associated Analyst and Senior Visiting Research Fellow, Advisor in the Ministry for Foreign Affairs of Finland, and Research Fellow and Director of the Network for European Studies at the University of Helsinki. Dr Jokela holds a PhD from the University of Bristol (UK).