Leif Pagrotsky on His Tenure as Trade Minister

Canceling tariffs on goods entering the EU from the global South was one of Leif Pagrotsky’s major accomplishments.
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TRANSCRIPT

Question: What were you accomplishments as Trade Minister?

Pagrotsky: Well, I think the most important accomplishment we achieved was that we could push European Union’s trade policies somewhat in direction of increased openness. I was personally able to push through an abolishment of all tariffs and all quotas on imports into the European Union from the 49 poorest countries in the world, the least developed countries according to the United Nations’ definition. And during Sweden’s presidency of the European Union, when I chaired the group of trade ministers, we were able to push through this. I think that was my single most important contribution to global trade. Otherwise, it was the participation in starting the [IB] and pursuing our negotiations, but today, I consider that to be one of my failures, not one of my successes