The role and composition of the Trade Policy Committee (TPC) is explained in article 207(3) of the Treaty on the Functioning of the EU.
The committee advises and assists the Commission in negotiating agreements with third countries or in international organisations in the area of the common commercial policy. It also acts as one of the preparatory bodies in the decision-making process of the Council as regards EU trade policy.
The committee deals with trade policy matters within 3 main areas:
- issues related to the World Trade Organization (WTO)
- bilateral trade relations
- new EU legislation within the trade policy area as appropriate
Composition and configurations
The Trade Policy Committee's 'full members' configuration meets once a month. Once every 6 months it meets for an informal meeting in the country that holds the rotating presidency of the Council.
The deputies of the committee meet once a week.
Another configuration of this committee - the Trade Policy Committee (Services and Investment) - deals with trade policy matters concerning services and investment issues. It assists and advises the Commission when it is negotiating on behalf of the EU in the WTO and with non-EU countries as regards services and investment aspects. Other configurations of the Trade Policy Committee are:
- TCP (Steel, Textiles and other Industrial Sectors - STIS)
- TCP (Mutual Recognition Agreements - MRA)
The Trade Policy Committee is chaired by the rotating presidency of the Council and its secretariat is provided by the Council secretariat.