Article 133 (ex-Article 113) - Article 133 of the EC Treaty allows the European Union to negotiate, conclude and implement trade agreements with other countries of the world. It is therefore at the foundation of the European Common Commercial Policy. It states that:
1. The common commercial policy shall be based on uniform principles.
2. The Commission is the negotiator, responsible for conducting trade negotiations on the basis of "directives for negotiation" given by the Council to guide the Commission in its work and decides ultimately, whether to adopt an accord.
3. The Commission is the enforcer, responsible for ensuring compliance by third countries with international trade accords.
4. The European Parliament gives its assent to international agreements that set up an institutional structure (Article 300). Though Parliament has no explicit powers regarding the conduct of trade policy, the Commission informs Parliament on a regular basis about developments in European trade policy.
5. The Treaty of Nice has extended the coverage of the common trade policy to the fields of trade in services and the commercial aspects of intellectual property.
6. The Council acts by a qualified majority. Agreements on services and intellectual property are decided under the same qualified majority rule as applies to trade in goods. However the principle of "parallelism" applies, whereby the EU common trade policy is a complement to the single market and should not overstep domains where European Union Member States have agreed to pool their sovereignty. Therefore education, human health, culture, transport and investment (for this latter area except in the field of services where the right of establishment is already covered by the WTO), as well as any area where internal Community rules require unanimity or where no harmonisation has taken place at Community level, are not decided by a qualified majority...