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In the modern global economy, trade is essential for growth, jobs and competitiveness. The EU is a leading advocate of an open and rules-based trading system.

EU trade policy helps to create jobs and investment opportunities for companies, both big and small. For consumers, trade agreements can cut prices and offer more choice, while upholding and promoting high standards of consumer protection, social rights and environmental rules.

Policies

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

The EU helps to shield European industries and jobs from unfair trade. The EU consistently ensures it has all the means to address the evolving challenges of globalisation.

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

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.

Documents

  • September 2017

    Trade: proposals adopted by the Commission

    Package of trade and investment measures proposed after the 2017 State of the Union speech
  • April 2017

    Transparency in action

    Negotiating texts and reports related to the EU’s existing trade agreements and ongoing trade negotiations
  • 04 April 2016

    EU trade strategy

    Information on the Trade for all strategy: Towards a more responsible trade and investment strategy