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Relations between the European Community and Libya have so far taken place outside a bilateral legal framework governing bilateral relations.

The negotiations for a Framework Agreement between the EU and Libya started in November 2008. The aim was to include a Free Trade Agreement covering trade in goods, services and investment. This would provide new export opportunities and higher legal predictability for EU exporters, mainly in areas such as services and establishment, public procurement and gas and oil markets.

However, following the events in early 2011 in Libya, negotiations were suspended in February 2011.

Libya is the only Mediterranean country - with the exception of Syria – that has not yet concluded a Free Trade Agreement with the EU.

Libya is not a WTO member. Negotiations for Libya's accession to the WTO started in 2004. The negotiation for the Framework Agreement on trade between the EU and Libya would have paved the way for Libyan WTO accession.

Trade picture

  • EU imports from Libya are dominated by energy, in particular petroleum and petroleum products.
  • EU exports to Libya consist mainly of machinery and transport equipment, fuels and mining products, and agricultural products.
  • In 2010, before the Arab Spring and the popular uprising in Libya, the EU was an important trading partner for Libya accounting for 70% of the country's total trade, which amounted to approximately €36.3 billion in 2010.
  • The EU was Libya's major source of imports and its largest market for exports in 2010.
  • Despite the decrease in trade during 2011, the EU-Libya trade relationship is confirmed by 2012 and 2013 statistics: Libya continues to be a fundamental energy exporter to the EU.

EU-Libya "trade in goods" statistics

Trade in goods 2012-2014, € billions
Year EU imports EU exports Balance
2012 32.8 6.4 -26.5
2013 23.2 7.8 -15.4
2014 12.5 5.3 -7.2

Foreign direct investment

Foreign direct investment 2013, € billions
Year Inward stocks Outward stocks Balance
2013 -0.0 6.5 6.5

More statistics on Libya

EU and Libya

Concluding a Free Trade Agreement with Libya would increase the coherence of the EU's trade policy in the region by closing a gap in the establishment of the Euromed free trade zone.

Libya and Syria are the only Mediterranean countries that have not yet concluded a Free Trade Agreement with the EU.

Libya in Euromed

Libya has an observer status in the Euromed partnership.

The Euro-Mediterranean Partnership (Euromed) promotes economic integration and democratic reform across 16 neighbors to the EU’s south in North Africa and the Middle East. One important part of this work is to achieve mutually satisfactory trading terms for the Euromed region partners.

More information on the Euro-Mediterranean partnership

Trading with Libya