Leadership in the Global Economy
The EU has always been a strong advocate of free trade. EU customs duties on industrialized goods are among the lowest in the world. The EU's capacity to play a leadership role in global negotiations to liberalize world trade over the last thirty years has been crucially shaped by its common commercial policy. The Treaty of Rome required member states to adopt common tariffs, liberalization, export promotion, and trade policies.
World Trade Organization (WTO)
The EU is a key participant in the WTO. Notifications of trade policy developments are regularly made to the WTO and are in principle also available to the public in keeping with the EU's policy of transparency. Uruguay Round commitments are being implemented on schedule, although the extent of actual trade liberalization appears to be modest. The EU is part of all WTO initiatives to liberalize trade, from information technology products and pharmaceuticals, to financial services and telecommunications.
The EU is a leading user of the dispute settlement procedures to enforce multilateral trade obligations of its trading partners, and is also frequently involved as a respondent, often on transatlantic disputes.
Trade Relationship characteristic: Multilateral
As the world's largest trader with perhaps 40% of aggregate trade both inside and outside the EU, with a 20% share of external trade, the EU is a firm supporter of free and open international trade. EU's trading relationship covers over 200 countries and regions. Different trading partners are treated by different preferences deviates from the basic MFN principle of the WTO.
The hierarchy of EU's trade relationship have five types:
'Within the EU customs union itself, international trading relationships which are free from tariffs and from other impediments
With fellow WTO members (on the basis of mutual most-favoured nation treatment)
With fellow WTO members (on the...