Over the next ten to 15 years, 90% of world demand will be generated outside Europe. That is why it is a key priority for the EU to tap into this growth potential by opening up market opportunities for European businesses abroad. One way of ensuring this is through negotiating agreements with our key partners.
As tariffs are relatively low in world trade today, trade barriers lie behind the customs borders: hence the EU aims to conclude Deep and Comprehensive Free Trade Agreements (DCFTA) that, on top of removing tariffs, also open up markets on services, investment, public procurement and include regulatory issues.
If the EU was to complete all its current free trade talks tomorrow, it could add 2.2% to the EU's GDP or €275 billion. This is equivalent to adding a country as big as Austria or Denmark to the EU economy. In terms of employment, these agreements could generate 2.2 million new jobs or an additional 1% of the EU total workforce.
Trade negotiations in a nutshell
Free Trade Agreements are designed to create opportunities by:
- Opening new markets for goods and services
- Increasing investment opportunities
- Making trade cheaper - by eliminating substantially all customs duties
- Making trade faster - by facilitating goods' transit through customs and setting common rules on technical and sanitary standards
- Making the policy environment more predictable - by taking joint commitments on areas that affect trade such as intellectual property rights, competition rules and the framework for public purchasing decisions
EU trade negotiations
The EU has successfully concluded a number of important trade agreements with trading partners and is in the process of negotiating agreements with many more.
- Memo: The EU's free trade agreements – where are we?
- EU Trade relations world wide – a map
- Transparency in EU trade negotiations
Agreements in force
The EU is a party to trade agreements and other agreements with a trade component both in the WTO context and bilaterally with certain countries and regions.
- A list of WTO agreements can be found on the WTO web site
- Here are other bilateral or regional agreements in force:
- Norway - 01 July 1973
- Iceland - 01 April 1973
- Switzerland - 01 January 1973
- Faroe Islands - 01 January 1997
- The former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia - Stabilisation and Association Agreement, 01 May 2004
- Albania - Stabilisation and Association Agreement, 01 April 2009
- Montenegro - Stabilisation and Association Agreement, 01 May 2010
- Bosnia and Herzegovina - Interim Agreement on trade and trade related matters, 01 July 2008
- Serbia - Interim Agreement on trade and trade related matters, 01 February 2010
- Palestinian Authority - Association Agreement, 01 July 1997
- Syria - Co-operation Agreement, 01 July 1977
- Tunisia - Association Agreement, 01 March 1998
- Morocco - Association Agreement, 01 March 2000
- Israel - Association Agreement, 01 June 2000
- Jordan - Association Agreement, 01 May 2002
- Lebanon - Interim Agreement, 01 March 2003
- Egypt - Association Agreement, 01 June 2004
- Algeria - Association Agreement, 01 September 2005
- Mexico - Economic Partnership, Political Coordination and Cooperation Agreement, 01 July 2000
- South Africa - Trade, Development and Co-operation Agreement, 01 January 2000
- CARIFORUM States - Economic Partnership Agreement, Provisionally applied
- Chile - Association Agreement and Additional Protocol, 01 February 2003 (trade) / 01 March 2005 (full agreement)
- Madagascar, Mauritius, the Seychelles, and Zimbabwe Economic Partnership Agreement signed in August 2009
- Korea - New Generation Free Trade Agreement, signed 06 October 2010
- Papua New Guinea and Fiji - Interim Partnership Agreement ratified by Papua New Guinea in May 2011
- EU-Iraq - Partnership and Cooperation Agreement, signed on 11 May 2012
- Colombia and Peru - Trade Agreement, signed 26 July 2012
- Central America - Association Agreement with a strong trade component, signed 29 June 2012
- EU-Ecuador text of the trade agreement published, not yet ratified, 17 February 2015
- Cameroon – Economic Partnership Agreement signed in 2009