Policy areas

  • Creating business opportunities and jobs

    Creating business opportunities and jobs

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

  • Open trade must be fair

    Open trade must be fair

    While European businesses and citizens benefit from globalisation, open trade must also be fair. European jobs in industries such as steel or shipbuilding have been hurt by unfair competition from ‘dumped’ imports, public subsidies and overcapacity in some third countries. The EU uses instruments to shield European industries and jobs against unfair trade. Furthermore, the Commission believes that the EU needs to regularly assess whether it has all the tools to respond to the challenges of the changing landscape of globalisation. The Commission will continue working closely with the Member States to deepen and take forward the debate on how to enhance reciprocity in the fields of public procurement and investment.

  • Harnessing globalisation in line with our values

    The EU is continuing to develop a balanced, rules-based and progressive trade and investment agenda. This not only mutually opens markets with our trade partners but also enhances the EU's global influence on issues like human rights, working conditions and environmental protection.



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 slowing down of trade talks with the US, 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.

The Commission is doing this by upholding the work of the World Trade Organisation and through negotiations with global partners. The EU has reached a political agreement with Japan, and is about make the EU-Canada agreement effective. The Commission continues negotiating with many partners, notably Mexico and the Mercosur countries (Argentina, Brazil, Paraguay and Uruguay).

Getting trade policy right also means being transparent and inclusive. The 'Trade for all' strategy means trade negotiations are now the most open they have ever been.

The European Parliament and EU governments are closely involved in all negotiations. Businesses, environmental groups, trade unions and consumer organisations are duly consulted and involved.

The EU is also maintaining the positive trade relationship we have with the United States. Both sides have agreed to work on a joint action plan on trade for what should be a positive and ambitious transatlantic trade agenda.

  • Boost the EU's influence in the world – by attracting more investment, setting high standards in global trade, and projecting our values
  • Generate jobs and growth without using public money
  • Help EU firms – particularly smaller businesses – to compete abroad
  • Offer a wider variety of goods and services
  • Modernise investment protection to make it more fair, transparent and objective
  • Ensure that trade and sustainable development are two sides of the same coin