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Global trade partner

Commitment to fair and free global trade

Alongside multilateral trade liberalisation, the European Union’s free trade agreements are a major focus.
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Germany supports open markets and fair, free trade based on clear and reliable regulations. Among other things, the country pursues these goals with the three pillars for the promotion of foreign trade: the 227 German diplomatic missions abroad, the 140 German Chambers of Commerce Abroad (AHK), delegations and representative offices of the German economy in 92 countries, and Germany Trade and Invest (GTAI), the economic development agency of the Federal Republic of Germany. They all help small and medium-sized enterprises to penetrate new markets and endeavour to improve framework conditions.

The world’s biggest economic area

Germany is closely involved in shaping international trade in various ways. Alongside multilateral trade liberalisation under the umbrella of the World Trade Organisation ( WTO WTO The World Trade Organization (WTO) was founded in 1995 and serves to implement the existing treaties on international trade. It is likewise a forum for negotiation on liberalizing global trade. In the present Doha round Germany has been expressly championing better integration of the developing… Read more › ), the bilateral free trade agreements (FTA) of the European Union European Union In 1957, the Federal Republic was one of the six founder members of the current European Union (EU). Since 2013, the EU has consisted of 28 member states and the euro is the official tender in 19 of them. Germany contributes about 20% to the EU budget. Günther Oettinger (CDU), the former Prime… Read more › are also a major focus. The EU has signed modern trade agreements with around a dozen partner states, with further FTAs still to be formulated or modernised with numerous other countries. One good example is the EU agreement with Japan, which came into force in February 2019 and created the world’s biggest economic area. The EU-Canada Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (CETA) has been in force since 2017, whilst the EU’s free trade agreement with Vietnam came into force in 2020 – the first agreement of its kind between the EU and a developing country. Efforts are also underway to set up a free trade agreement between the EU and ASEAN.