The European Union (EU) has always been an active participant in the global trade arena, with free trade agreements (FTAs) being a key component of its trade strategy. The EU has signed several FTAs with various countries and regions around the world, which have helped to increase trade, stimulate economic growth, and create jobs. In this article, we will provide an overview of the EU`s free trade agreements and their impact on trade.
FTAs are agreements that eliminate or reduce tariffs and barriers to trade between countries. The European Union has signed FTAs with over 70 countries, and the agreements cover a range of sectors including goods, services, investment, and intellectual property.
The EU`s FTAs can be divided into two categories: bilateral agreements and regional agreements. Bilateral agreements are signed between the EU and individual countries, while regional agreements are signed with groups of countries. The most important regional agreements include the European Economic Area (EEA), the European Free Trade Association (EFTA), and the European Union-South Korea Free Trade Agreement (EU-South Korea FTA).
The EEA agreement covers Iceland, Liechtenstein, and Norway, and allows them to participate in the EU`s single market without being members of the EU. The EFTA agreement covers Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway, and Switzerland, and allows for the free movement of goods and capital, as well as the provision of services.
The EU-South Korea FTA was signed in 2010 and has been described as the EU`s most ambitious FTA to date. The agreement eliminates 98% of tariffs on goods traded between the EU and South Korea, and is expected to boost trade by over €19bn per year. The agreement has also opened up new opportunities for businesses, particularly in areas such as automotive, pharmaceuticals, and financial services.
Another notable FTA that the EU has signed is the Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (CETA) with Canada. The agreement, which was signed in 2016, eliminates 98% of tariffs on goods traded between the EU and Canada and is expected to increase trade between the two regions by €12bn per year. The agreement also includes provisions on investments, regulatory cooperation, and intellectual property rights.
One of the main benefits of the EU`s FTAs is that they provide access to new markets for businesses and increase trade. The agreements also promote fair and rules-based trade, which benefits both businesses and consumers. In addition, FTAs help to increase economic growth and create jobs both in the EU and in the partner countries.
Overall, the EU`s free trade agreements have been a crucial component of its trade strategy and have helped to promote economic growth, create jobs, and increase trade. As the EU continues to negotiate new agreements with other countries and regions around the world, it is important to ensure that these agreements are balanced, fair, and benefit all parties involved.