The central pillar of rules-based and open trade should always be the WTO. This is the first and best way to open markets around the world and establish new rules for trade. However, free trade agreements can be – and have been for years – a useful complement to the multilateral trade order. In the context of the WTO crisis, these agreements are increasingly economically and politically relevant, which is essential for the EU`s foreign trade policy. The European Court of Justice has ruled that the provisions relating to arbitration between the investor state (including a special tribunal under some free trade agreements) fall within the shared jurisdiction between the European Union and its Member States and that, for this reason, their ratification should be authorised by both the EU and each of the 28 Member States.  Negotiating free trade agreements is far from easy. Due to the complexity of modern free trade agreements, negotiations can take years. At the end of June 2019, about 20 years after the start of the negotiations, the European Commission reached an agreement in principle on the free trade agreement with the Mercosur countries. Months of work must be invested in the details before the agreement is ready to be signed. Lawmakers expect the agreement to be presented only in the second half of 2020. Negotiated agreements, meetings, fact sheets, circular reports A free trade agreement between the EU and India can help remove existing barriers and give new impetus to our bilateral cooperation.
India`s population is the second largest in the world, making it a very important trading partner for German companies. However, the federal government and the European Commission insist that any agreement must be comprehensive and ambitious. While negotiations for a free trade agreement began as early as 2007, sharp differences in the expectations of both sides have brought the talks to a standstill since 2012. The EU has free trade agreements with 37 partners that have entered into full force, including South Korea, Japan and Singapore, as well as free trade agreements with 43 partners, such as Canada and Ukraine, which are provisionally implemented. In May, the EU and Mexico also reached an agreement on modernising the existing agreement. Negotiations for new free trade agreements are underway with 19 countries, including Australia and New Zealand. 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.