EU’s bilateral free trade agreements

The European Union has bilateral free trade agreements (FTA) with many countries. It is also currently negotiating several new agreements. The scope of the agreements varies, but particularly the more recent trade agreements cover a wide range of trade-related matters in addition to the traditional trade in goods and services.

The liberalisation of agricultural trade plays a key role in almost all agreements and negotiations. Agriculture and food matters are also related to the sections concerning sanitary and phytosanitary measures and negotiations on the protection of geographical indications. Unlike WTO negotiations, bilateral trade agreements usually do not include provisions on aid to agriculture.

At present, the most important negotiations concern the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) between the EU and the USA. The negotiations were launched in June 2013. The ambitious goal of the TTIP negotiations is the comprehensive and reciprocal liberalisation of trade between the parties. The aim is also to discuss sanitary and phytosanitary measures (SPS).

In Finland, the Ministry for Foreign Affairs has the overall responsibility for trade policy and bilateral agreements, and the European Commission represents the EU in FTA negotiations. The Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry actively participates in the agreement preparations, particularly in matters concerning agriculture and SPS issues.


Useful external websites

The European Commission’s Directorate-General for Trade

The European Commission’s Directorate-General for Trade: countries and regions


Further information: Mr Markus Schulman, Senior Adviser, tel. +358 295 162 475