6.2: The EU's trade agreements with third countries
The EU's Directorate-General for Trade is responsible for an extensive range of trade agreements with third countries.
- European Economic Area: discussed under Section 1.
- Switzerland and the EU: discussed under Section 1.
- Candidate countries (Croatia, Macedonia and Turkey): these countries have been given full candidate status.
- Western Balkans (Albania, Montenegro, Bosnia and Herzegovina, and Serbia): the EU's trade policy is regarded as an essential instrument to contribute to the economic development and stabilisation of the region. The EU's Stabilization and Association Process is the key policy framework for the EU's relations with the Western Balkans.
- Economic Partnership Agreements with the ACP countries (with External Relations and Development): discussed under Section 13.
- Caucasus (Armenia, Azerbaijan and Georgia): EU relations with the Caucasus are becoming more important and the EU has Partnerships and Cooperation Agreements (PCAs) with the three countries. They are also participating in the European Neighbourhood Policy (EPN). The EPN is discussed in Section 13.
- Russia, Ukraine, Moldova and Belarus: have Partnership and Cooperation Agreements (PCAs) with the EU - though Belarus's is not yet in force. Belarus, Ukraine and Moldova are also involved in the EPN - though Belarus's involvement is not yet activated.
- Central Asia (Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan): the EU has Partnership and Cooperation Agreements (PCAs) with each of the 5 countries separately. Turkmenistan's is not yet in force.
- ASEAN: The Association of South East Asian Nations comprises of Brunei, Darussalam, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Burma/Myanmar, Philippines, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam. The EU is ASEAN's second largest trading partner, and ASEAN is the EU's 5th largest partner, and the largest foreign investor. At present, the TREATI agreement provides a framework for regulatory cooperation to enhance trade, while negotiations are ongoing about the formation of an EU-ASEAN free trade agreement.
- Mongolia: has a Trade and Cooperation Agreement with the EU.
- Gulf Cooperation Council (Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia and the UAR): the EU-GCC Cooperation Agreement was agreed in 1989.
- Latin America and Caribbean: there have been the following Summits:
- 1st Summit (Rio de Janeiro, 1999) - leading to agreement to negotiate Association Agreements with Chile and Mercosur.
- 2nd Summit (Madrid, 2002) - leading to the following key developments:
- Chile: concluded the Association Agreement creating a Free Trade Area with the EU.
- Mercosur (Argentina, Brazil, Paraguay and Uruguay): advanced negotiations towards an Association Agreement.
- Mexico: confirmed healthy trade relationships. The Mexico-EU Free Trade Area Agreement was negotiated in 1997 and entered into force in 2000.
- Andean Community: furthered trade discussions.
- Central America (Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Panama and Nicaragua): furthered trade discussions. Cooperation currently takes place in the context of a Framework Cooperation Agreement (1993).
- Caribbean: furthered trade discussions.
- 3rd (Guadalajara, 2004).
- 4th (Vienna, 2006).
Non-EU Mediterranean countries (excluding the Balkans and Turkey)
In addition, there have been developments between the EU and southern and western Mediterranean countries. Although the European Community had for several decades agreements of various types with the countries bordering on the Mediterranean, there was no comprehensive policy until the mid-1990s.
The Euro-Mediterranean (EuroMed) Partnership was launched in 1995, with the aim of establishing a common area of peace, stability and prosperity in the Mediterranean region. The EU and the participating Mediterranean countries signed the enabling Barcelona Declaration in November 1995. The Declaration had 3 main objectives:
- The definition of a common area of peace and stability.
- The construction of a zone of shared prosperity including the gradual establishment of a free trade zone (by 2010).
- The rapprochement between peoples through a social, cultural and human partnership.
The countries that signed the Declaration were:
- Western Mediterranean: Morocco, Tunisia and Algeria. Libya did not sign the Declaration but has had observer status since 1999.
- Eastern Mediterranean: Egypt, Israel, Palestinian Authority (PLO), Syria, Lebanon, and Jordan.
- Turkey, Malta and Cyprus, which are now candidate countries (Turkey) or EU members.
The "Barcelona Process" was developed after the Barcelona Conference in successive annual meetings and is a set of goals designed to lead to a Euro-Mediterranean free trade area (EU-MEFTA) by 2010. An important plank of the Barcelona Process was the development of Association Agreements between the EU and the partner countries. To date there are three laggards:
- Algeria: the Association Agreement has been signed but not yet enacted
- Syria: the Association Agreement has not yet signed.
The attempted creation of a FTA by 2010 and the enabling Barcelona Process are being backed by considerable EU funds. MEDA was launched in 1995. Its funding role has been absorbed by the European Neighbourhood and Partnership Instrument (EPNI) for the period 2007-13. The Arab-Mediterranean Free Trade Agreement (the Agadir Agreement of 2004) between Egypt, Jordan, Morocco and Tunisia is seen as EU-MEFTA's first building block.
The European Neighbourhood Policy (EPN), which is discussed in Section 13, was developed in 2004 and encompasses:
- Euro-Mediterranean (EuroMed) Partnership countries.
- The ex-USSR countries of Armenia, Azerbaijan, Georgia, Moldova, Belarus and Ukraine.
RL, April 2008