Skip to content .

Service navigation

Main Navigation


Further information

Link to opens in a new window


External Trade Relations

With a 20% share of global trade, the European Union is the world's largest trader. The EU works for free and fair world trade and open global markets. In its trade policy, the EU attaches priority to the multilateral trade system of the World Trade Organization (WTO), which gives international trade the necessary legal certainty and transparency. In this spirit, it also works to bring the liberalization negotiations launched in 2001 to a successful conclusion as part of the so-called Doha Development Agenda. After the negotiations were suspended in July 2006, they were officially relaunched in early February 2007 following many preparatory talks at the political level at the beginning of the year. Substantial progress on the negotiations is, however, not to be expected before the beginning of Slovenia's Presidency. As the holder of the EU Presidency, Slovenia will continue to advocate a balanced, successful and timely conclusion to the Doha Round.

In line with the EC Treaty, trade issues are a Community competence. The European Commission is primarily responsible for implementing trade policy and concluding trade agreements with third countries. In certain cases, there is mixed competence: for example, if an agreement involves services, intellectual property issues or political cooperation in the field of justice and home affairs. Such agreements are negotiated by the European Commission and individual member states.

EU trade policy is hand in glove with its development policy. Under its Generalized System of Preferences (GSP), the EU grants developing countries and economies in transition duty-free or preferential access to its market. The 49 least developed countries benefit from completely duty-free and quota-free market access for all products. The EU is currently drawing up new trade and development strategies with 76 partners in Africa, the Caribbean and the Pacific region with a view to intensifying bilateral economic relations. Trade agreements with other regional associations – Mercosur, the Gulf Cooperation Council etc. – are currently being negotiated. Slovenia's Presidency is expected to see the adoption of a trade agreement with South Korea.


Accessibility     . Print     .

Date: 03.01.2008