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Preferential arrangements

There is no one-size-fits-all model of a trade agreement but in most cases, the EU negotiates comprehensive Free Trade Agreements, known as FTAs. The agreements in force where the EU is party are:

WTO agreements

The EU speaks with one voice in the WTO. Every EU country is a WTO member in their own right but work together to act as a single block. The EU itself is also a member.

The European Commission negotiates at the World Trade Organisation on behalf of the EU. The Commission coordinates with the EU Member States through the Trade Policy Committee and conducts EU policy following guidelines set down by the Member States in the Council of Ministers.

The Commission also regularly informs the European Parliament of key WTO issues. When an agreement is negotiated at the WTO, the Commission needs the formal authorisation of the Council and European Parliament to sign the agreement on behalf of the EU.

The Commission also consults with other interested groups in the formulation of policy.

See also:

Preferential trade agreements

Under these agreements, the parties exchange tariff concessions or other preferential treatment. Once a preferential arrangement is in force between the EU and your country or region, this substantially improves market access for your exports to EU as it eliminates or reduces tariffs and facilitates procedures.

But, to benefit from this, you will have proof that your product "originates" in your country. In this section of the Export Helpdesk you can find the basic concepts on Rules of origin and the ones applying to each preferential arrangement the EU has.

  • Algeria - Association Agreement, 01 September 2005
  • Egypt - Association Agreement, 01 June 2004
  • Israel - Association Agreement, 01 June 2000
  • Jordan - Association Agreement, 01 May 2002
  • Lebanon - Interim Agreement, 01 March 2003
  • Morocco - Association Agreement, 01 March 2000
  • Palestinian Authority - Association Agreement, 01 July 1997
  • Syria - Co-operation Agreement, 01 July 1977
  • Tunisia - Association Agreement, 01 March 1998
Other countries
Customs unions