Version: 1.0.20.21 (2020-10-12 14:45)

Trade agreements

At present, the EU has in place the largest trade network in the world, with over 40 individual agreements with countries and regions. These agreements facilitate the trade of products and services between the EU and its outside partners.

New agreements are still being added to the list and older agreements are being reviewed and updates negotiated with the partner countries.

Tariff elimination

Some of the agreements focus mainly on tariff elimination

  • Association Agreements with eight Mediterranean countries (Algeria, Egypt, Israel, Jordan, Lebanon, Morocco, Palestinian Occupied Territory and Tunisia)
  • Agreements with Mexico and Chile
  • Economic Area Agreements with Iceland, Lichtenstein and Norway
  • Customs Unions with Turkey, Andorra and San Marino
  • Stabilisation and Association Agreements with six Western Balkan countries (Albania, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Kosovo, Montenegro, North-Macedonia and Serbia) containing additional provisions to prepare for their progressive integration into the EU market
  • Agreements with Switzerland and Faroe Islands

More comprehensive market access

Others include much broader commitments on opening up trade in goods and services, as well as on investments, public procurement, competition, subsidies and regulatory issues

These agreements aim to develop stronger rules-based and values-based trade regimes with the trading partner countries concerned and include dedicated provisions on trade and sustainable development.

The most recent ones also have specific provisions to address challenges faced by modern economies and societies, such as the Economic Partnership Agreement with Japan, which includes a chapter on small and medium-sized enterprises, as well as dedicated provisions on information and telecommunications services, and e-commerce.

Legal approximation

A specific type of agreements concentrate on the tightening of economic links between the EU and its neighbours by bringing their regulatory frameworks closer to EU law, notably in trade-related areas. This is true for instance for the agreements with

Development

Another special type of agreements have an explicit development objective. They are asymmetric trade agreements, with the ACP side liberalising around 80% of trade over a period of 15 to 20 years, while the EU grants duty-free, quota-free access from day one.

For the time being, most such agreements cover trade in goods and development cooperation. The Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA) with the Caribbean also includes provisions on services, investment and other trade-related topics.

Under these agreements, the EU provides substantial trade-related assistance to support partner countries in implementing the agreements, strengthening export competitiveness and building economic infrastructure. The countries concerned belong to the African, Caribbean and Pacific regions

  • West Africa (Ghana, Ivory Coast)
  • Central Africa (Cameroon)
  • Eastern and Southern Africa (Comoros, Madagascar, Mauritius, Seychelles and Zimbabwe)
  • Southern African Development Community (Botswana, Eswatini, Lesotho, Mozambique, Namibia and South Africa)
  • Cariforum (Antigua and Barbuda, Bahamas, Barbados, Belize, Dominica, Dominican Republic, Grenada, Guyana, Jamaica, St Kitts and Nevis, St Lucia, St Vincent, Suriname, and Trinidad and Tobago)
  • Pacific (Fiji, Papua New Guinea, Samoa and Solomon Islands)
  • Armenia
  • Azerbaijan
  • Iraq
  • Kazakhstan

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