In times of Brexit and US President Donald Trump’s vision regarding imposed tariffs on industrial goods, international trade becomes even more important in the eyes of European citizens. The woman in charge of this kind of topics and leading the trade agenda in Europe is Cecilia Malmström, European Commissioner for Trade since 2014. But who is this lady negotiating those significant trade conditions in the name of several nations? What does she advocate and which beliefs does she have?
This article introduces the strong woman behind the European Commissioner for Trade function and verifies that the world of international trade is more than just negotiating about import and export conditions.
Cecilia Malmström’s career – from technical assistant to the European Commission
Cecilia Malmström started her career as a technical assistant in Paris. Due to her interest in politics and social sciences, she decided to move back to her native country Sweden and worked as a professor and politician at Göteborg (university). In 1998, she graduated in political sciences and as a woman, who knows her own mind, she straightly became a member at the European Parliament for Sweden.
In her early years at the parliament, she dealt with constitutional questions and foreign affairs. Since 2001, she is a member of the Swedish Liberals party, which is part of the Alliance of Liberals and Democrats for Europe. This association already shows her personal political beliefs, which she follows throughout her career at the European Commission.
From 2010 to 2014, Cecilia Malmström served as European Commissioner for Home Affairs and since 2014, she is European Commissioner for Trade. This change does not only have political reasons because Cecilia Malmström has personal beliefs regarding trade and its consequences for the whole society, which leads us to the next aspect of her remarkable life.
Cecilia Malmström believes in the positive impact of trade
For Cecilia Malmström, international trade is a journey to find unity in our diversified world. Since she was assigned as Commissioner for Trade, she always fought for more transparency in trade discussions. She thinks that people want and have the right to know what politicians are negotiating about. Of course, one cannot publish every single detail of contracts, but in her opinion, one can and should let consumers be part of it.
Moreover, Cecilia Malmström recognized and accepted the responsibility that goes along with negotiating in several trade agreements around the globe. The EU is the biggest trader in the world, so the commissioner wants to enable sustainable and fair trade wherever it is possible. This goes along with transparency, as traders should communicate labor conditions and the ecological footprint that are part of trading contracts.
In addition, trade is for Cecilia Malmström a way to build bridges, not to form walls. It is about bringing down barriers, opening up to new ideas, and expanding horizons and opportunities. Whereas trade barriers around the world have risen by 10% in 2016, the EU is successfully countering barriers to open trade.
This is what makes this woman an outstanding personality. Trading is for her not the means for increasing countries’ wealth, it is meant to enhance sociological conditions, since she is convinced that the liberal trade policy has lifted millions out of poverty.
Cecilia Malmström supports gender equality in trade
As a wife and mother of two children, Cecilia Malmström demonstrates that career and family is fitting together. She shows that women can be as strong and successful in a powerful position as men. In her eyes trade is still a male world, which drives her as European Commissioner for Trade to put increasing focus on the role trade and development can play in promoting gender equality.
Cecilia Malmström is not the only one fighting for gender equality in correlation with trade. Chile for instance signed a trade deal with Uruguay, which included a chapter specifically on trade and gender. Even the two most trade-enabling countries in the world, according to the World Economic Forum – The Netherlands and Singapore – are also highly gender equal. Cecilia Malmström herself had trade negotiations with Santiago in 2017 and she made sure, that gender had a strong presence in that agreement.
Last year, the tough woman won the Outstanding Women of the Year Award presented by the Association of Women in International Trade – well and rightly deserved! Her speech was inspiring and motivating all young women in the world to become an active part in trading. To underline this, Cecilia Malmström even organized an international forum on women in trade in 2017.
We are very much impressed about the power and courage of Cecilia Malmström and are proud to announce that she will be one of our speakers at the Global Female Leaders Summit 2019. We think you should not miss out the opportunity to listen to her talk so make sure to book your seat now!