The Eu Free Trade Agreements

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Free trade agreements are international treaties between two parties (countries or transnational groups) to ensure free trade. In addition to trade in goods, the new agreements often address other aspects, including the protection of intellectual property rights, trade in services, investment, public procurement and technical regulations. These are so-called « second generation agreements. » The European Union negotiates free trade agreements on behalf of all its member states, as EU member states have granted « exclusive jurisdiction » to conclude trade agreements. Nevertheless, the governments of the Member States control every step of the process (through the Council of the European Union, whose members are the national ministers of each national government). The EFTA Free Trade Agreement covers trade in industrial products (including fish) and agricultural products. These include provisions for the establishment of a joint committee, dispute resolution, rules of origin and trade, as well as competition and the protection of intellectual property rights. EFTA strives to become a world open to trade, but is committed to recognizing all dimensions of sustainable development in its free trade agreements, such as environmental, labour and human rights protection. Many of the EU`s trade agreements are still being ratified and are only being implemented temporarily. CETA is a mixed agreement. Chapters under the exclusive competence of the Union are currently being applied on an interim basis, with ratification not yet completed in the Member States. On the other hand, the chapter on investment protection is not yet implemented until ratification by members. The EU and Singapore have negotiated a free trade agreement and an investment protection agreement, two separate treaties.

The trade agreement came into force at the end of 2019, after the approval of the European Parliament and the Council. The investment protection agreement still needs to be ratified by all Member States according to their own national procedures. In mid-2019, the EU signed a trade agreement and an investment protection agreement with Vietnam.

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