The Daily Press Briefing

Statements made by
the Ministry for Europe
and Foreign Affairs

Paris - March 31, 2020
In this issue:

◢  G20 – Jean-Baptiste Lemoyne's participation in the telephone meeting between the G20 trade and investment ministers (March 30, 2020)

◢  North Korea – Ballistic missile launches (March 29, 2020)

◢  Iran – INSTEX

G20 – Jean-Baptiste Lemoyne's participation in the telephone meeting between the G20 trade and investment ministers (March 30, 2020)

Jean-Baptiste Lemoyne, Minister of State attached to the Minister for Europe and Foreign Affairs, took part in an Extraordinary Meeting of the G20 Trade and Investment Ministers on March 30, organized by the Saudi presidency.

Following the meeting of the heads of state and government on March 26 on the G20 response to the Covid-19 epidemic, the ministers discussed the use of coordinated trade policy measures in the fight against the epidemic. They agreed on a statement setting out the following commitments:

  • To ensure the continued flow of medical and health supplies, agricultural products and other essential goods to combat the epidemic, and to facilitate the trade in these goods in order to ensure that everyone has access to the means to protect the health of populations;
  • To ensure that the export restrictions necessary to protect public health remain targeted, proportionate, transparent and temporary, and that they are consistent with WTO rules;
  • To ensure an open, free, fair, non-discriminatory and transparent trade system;
  • To monitor the impact of the epidemic on trade and investment.

The G20 Trade and Investment Working Group, which will be convened as necessary, has been tasked with continuing this work.

The minister of state notably stressed the key role of international trade both in the fight against the epidemic and with respect to economic recovery. He also underscored the importance of not turning toward protectionism and isolationism and of easing the trade tensions that already existed before the crisis, in order not to exacerbate the current situation or hamper the resumption of growth after the crisis. This notably calls for efforts to strengthen the WTO, which is at the heart of a multilateral system that is based on rules rather than power relations.

The communiqué adopted during this meeting is available on the G20 presidency website: Extraordinary G20 Leaders' Summit Statement on COVID-19 [pdf]

North Korea – Ballistic missile launches (March 29, 2020)

We took note, with concern, of information we have received concerning further missile launches by North Korea on March 29.

France reaffirms its condemnation of these repeated launches, which undermine regional security and stability and violate pertinent UN Security Council resolutions.

France calls on North Korea to comply with Security Council resolutions and to swiftly and in good faith begin the complete, verifiable and irreversible dismantling of its weapons of mass destruction programs.


Can you confirm that an initial transaction with Iran took place via the INSTEX mechanism?

We can confirm, along with Germany and the United Kingdom, that INSTEX successfully completed its first transaction, facilitating the export of medical equipment from Europe to Iran. Now that the first transaction has been carried out, INSTEX and its Iranian counterpart, STFI, will continue their cooperation on further transactions and on developing the mechanism.

The purpose of INSTEX is to offer a sustainable, long-term solution to support legitimate trade between Europe and Iran, in accordance with continued efforts to preserve the Vienna Agreement on the Iranian nuclear issue (Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action - JCPoA) endorsed by UN Security Council Resolution 2231. These voluntary efforts come in addition to the commitments to lift sanctions set forth by the Vienna Agreement, which the E3 has already fully fulfilled.

We continue to urge Iran to once again comply with its nuclear obligations under the JCPoA and to cooperate fully with the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) so that it may implement its verification mandate. We reaffirm our desire to pursue a constructive dialogue with Iran in line with the mechanisms and procedures provided by the Vienna Agreement.

France in the
United States
Embassy of France in Washington, D.C.
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