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Facilitating Trade with other Countries

Docked container ship © fotolia

The European Commission wants to ensure that all EU policies take proper account of the needs of European businesses, including the effect of external policies on EU competitiveness. It does so by preserving the balance between external policy objectives and legitimate European business interests.

To achieve these aims, it participates actively in trade negotiations - whether these are multilateral, such as the WTO/Doha Development Round and WTO Accession negotiations, or bilateral, such as Free Trade Agreements (FTAs) - and monitors the implementation of existing trade agreements. It also tries to ensure that trade defense instruments are applied properly.

Trade negotiations involve tariffs and other market access issues which are of direct interest to European industry (access to raw materials, dual pricing, etc.) but also, and increasingly, non-tariff barriers, which are key to opening up third country markets. In practice, this means tackling regulatory issues such as technical regulations, standards and conformity assessment systems, as well as intellectual property rights and government procurement.

Within the Commission, it is the Directorate General for Enterprise and Industry that particularly follows industrial developments and ensures that trade policies and negotiations address the issues that matter to EU industry, drawing from its expertise in regulatory matters gained through creating the single EU market for goods.

The internal market rules also have external aspects.

Links for enterprises going global:

Useful documents:

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