The European Union (EU) manages trade and investment relations with non-EU countries through the EU's Trade and Investment Policy. Trade policy is an exclusive power of the EU, meaning that only the EU, and not individual member states, can legislate on trade matters and conclude international trade agreements.
The scope of EU's exclusive powers covers not only trade in goods but also services, commercial aspects of Intellectual Property (IP) and foreign direct investment.
The EU negotiates trade agreements to strengthen the economy and to create jobs in two different ways. On one hand, they enable European businesses to compete more effectively and export more to countries and regions outside the EU. They also give better access to raw materials and vital components from around the world. The EU negotiates trade deals either directly with other countries or regions, or through its membership to the World Trade Organisation (WTO).
However, free trade seems to be challenged by increased protectionist trends. In this regard, the European Commissioner for Trade, Ms Cecilia Malmström stated "Bringing down restrictions to global trade is as important a goal now as it was 60 years ago…when we celebrated the Treaty of Rome. Yet today, we see protectionism and that poses a threat. To the open societies of Europe - many of which have seen the damage and division when you build walls. And also to our open economies…. in which 31 million jobs depend on exports. And many more depend on imports. There has never been a more important time to defend the global, rules-based system. To stand up for global trade, while shaping globalisation. That is what we want to achieve through our programme for progressive trade".
Trade represents a key aspect of ASD’s activities. A dedicated expert group in ASD analyses various free trade agreements and determine potential impacts these may have on the European aerospace industry. Among others, of particular interest for ASD is the EU-South Korea Free Trade Agreement, Eu-Japan Free Trade Agreement, the Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (CETA) and China’s Market Economy Status.