A trade and investment strategy for jobs and growth
The goals of the European Union's trade policy – creating growth and jobs in Europe, promoting development around the world, strengthening ties with important trading partners – are laid down in the EU's founding treaties.
EU trade policy sets the direction for trade and investment in and out of the EU.
The Directorate-General for Trade in the European Commission helps to develop and implement EU trade and investment policy. Along with the EU's Trade Commissioner, Cecilia Malmström, we aim to shape a trade and investment environment that is good for people and for business.
The overall direction for an EU trade policy that helps revitalise Europe's economy is set out in the Communication “Trade, Growth & World Affairs”. The EU aims to play a key role in keeping markets open worldwide and helping Europe to exit from the economic crisis.
EU trade policy is working to:
1. Create a global system for fair and open trade
The World Trade Organisation has helped shape a system of global trade rules that keeps the global economy open for trade as well as reflects and respect the needs and concerns of developing countries.
The network of agreements and obligations overseen by the World Trade Organisation, helps ensure that trade is open, predictable and fair.
EU trade policy works to maintain the global trading system and to ensure it adapts to a fast-changing world.
2. Open up markets with key partner countries
We seek to create growth and jobs for Europeans by increasing their opportunities to trade with the world. This is particularly important in the context of current economic conditions.
One way of opening markets is to negotiate better access and conditions for trade and investment through free trade agreements.
The EU has concluded a number of Free Trade Agreements and is continuing negotiations with others
3. Make sure others play by the rules
EU trade policy aims to open new markets for European exporters, workers and investors through lifting barriers to the markets of our trading partners. We work closely with countries outside Europe to:
- remove persistent problems for exporters
- increase the opportunities for EU businesses to get equal access to procurement markets outside the EU
- reduce counterfeiting and piracy of European goods
- open up new opportunities for European investment
Because international trade rules are designed to ensure that trade is fair, it is vital that they are respected. We represent and defend European interests in the court system of the World Trade Organisation, helping ensure that WTO obligations are met.
We are also responsible for making sure that the imports that enter the EU are traded at fair prices and that they do not cause unfair damage to European companies and their workers.
4. Ensure trade is a force for sustainable development
We are committed to actively helping people around the world trade their way out of poverty. Europe has opened its markets to all imports from the world's poorest countries, and works actively to help developing countries build the capacity to take advantage of trade.
We also use our trade policy to reinforce other important international goals: