Go to content
Email subscription

EU trade policy


More than 30 million jobs in the EU depend on exports outside the EU, making the trade policy a vehicle for growth and a key priority. 

EU trade regulation

EU uses trade defence instruments to protect EU producers from unfair practices.

EU trade agreements

EU's trade agreements shape trade relations with non-EU countries, aiming to create better trading opportunities and to overcome barriers to trade.

Promoting EU values through trade

EU uses trade negotiations as a means to promote key EU values and principles, from human rights to the environment.

Free and fair trade helps raise living standards and ensures growth and jobs. 

Trade in goods and services makes a significant contribution to increasing sustainable growth and creating jobs. More than 30 million jobs in the EU depend on exports outside the EU. 90% of future global growth is predicted to happen outside Europe's borders. Hence - trade is a vehicle for growth and a key priority for the EU.

The Council is committed to a strong, rules-based multilateral trading system. Responsible EU trade policy is accompanied by a high level of transparency and an effective communication with citizens about the benefits and challenges of trade an open markets. 

Trade policy is an exclusive EU competence. This means the EU and not the member states legislates on trade matters and concludes international trade agreements. If the agreement covers topics of mixed responsibility, the Council can conclude it only after ratification by all member states. 

By acting together with one voice on the global stage, rather than with multiple separate trade strategies, the EU takes up a strong position when it comes to global trade. 

The EU manages trade relations with third countries in the form of trade agreements. They are designed to create better trading opportunities and overcome barriers to trade. 

The EU wants to make sure that imported products are sold at a fair and equitable price in the EU - no matter where they come from. Trade regulation in form of trade defence instruments is a means to protect EU producers from harm and tackle unfair competition by foreign companies such as dumping and subsidisation.