Policy areas

  • Creating business opportunities and jobs

    Creating business opportunities and jobs

    One in seven jobs in Europe are supported by exports to other countries around the world. The EU aims to lower or remove barriers to trade to other countries and regions. This can result in big savings for European consumers and companies. Trade agreements can help Europe's smaller companies who face complicated rules when wanting to export.

  • Open trade must be fair

    Open trade must be fair

    The EU aims to protect European industries and jobs from unfair trade by ensuring it has all the means to address the challenges of globalisation.

  • Harnessing globalisation in line with EU values

    Harnessing globalisation in line with EU values

    The EU continues to ensure that trade and investment remain balanced and rules-based. This not only opens markets with our trade partners but also strengthens the EU's global influence on issues like human rights, working conditions and environmental protection.

  • Making negotiations more transparent

    Making negotiations more transparent

    Timely, transparent and inclusive talks are vital for trade agreements to be effective. EU Member States mandate the Commission to negotiate trade agreements on behalf of the EU. They scrutinise each step of negotiations together with the European Parliament. The Commission promotes an open door policy for discussions with any interested parties, such as business representatives, trade unions, NGOs or consumer groups.

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Background

The title of this priority - A balanced and progressive trade policy to harness globalisation - has been updated and made geographically neutral in view of the new political context and the new dynamism in trade talks with other important regions of the world. The Commission has reflected this reality in changing the name of its Commissioners’ Group on the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership with the United States to the Commissioners’ Group on Trade and Harnessing Globalisation.

Trade policy gives the EU the opportunity to shape globalisation according to European values and interests.

Objectives
  • Boost the EU's influence in the world by attracting more investment, setting high standards in global trade, and projecting EU values
  • Generate jobs and growth through well-balanced, progressive trade agreements
  • Ensure a level playing field for European companies and workers against unfair trade practices
  • Help EU firms – particularly smaller businesses – to compete abroad
  • Support a wider variety of goods and services
  • Make investment protection fairer, more inclusive and transparent
  • Ensure that trade and sustainable development are complementary

The Commission upholds the work of the World Trade Organisation and leads efforts for its modernisation as it negotiates with global partners.

The EU has trade agreements with 71 countries, 9 of which were put in place under the Juncker Commission. This includes an Economic Partnership Agreement with Japan and a Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement with Canada. The EU has been ratifying agreements with Singapore and Vietnam, reached a political agreement with Mexico and pursues negotiations with many other countries, including MERCOSUR (Argentina, Brazil, Paraguay, Uruguay).

A new phase in the EU-US trade relationship was launched in July 2018, with both sides agreeing to strengthen cooperation and work to eliminate existing industrial tariffs.

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