Common Commercial Policy

Common Commercial Policy in Europe

Description of Common commercial policy

The Concise Encyclopedia of the European Union describes common commercial policy in the following terms: [1] A term used to denote the Community’s trade policy, which under the 1957 Treaty of Rome is required to be uniform for all the member states. The defining characteristic is the customs union, under which from 1958 onwards internal tariffs were progressively eliminated and external barriers harmonised. The customs union was completed in 1968, increasing internal trade, albeit to some extent at the expense of external trade (a phenomenon known as ‘trade diversion’). Many non-tariff barriers to internal trade remained, and indeed still do remain, despite the Single European Act of 1986 and the ‘completion’ of the single market in 1992.

As an intrinsic part of the common commercial policy, the member states have ceded to the EC their right to negotiate on external trade (see more in this European encyclopedia). This the Commission, under guidelines from the Council, negotiates on their behalf with the WTO. The Commission also negotiates special trading arrangements such as the Lomé Convention, which ensures equal treatment for 71 former dependent territories of EU countries; various Association Agreements have a similar standardising effect on trade relations with other states. There remain, however, certain non-tariff barriers which are not uniformly applied, including French and Italian ‘voluntary’ quotas for Japanese car imports, which have been approved by the competition commissioner as a transitional measure (see more in this European encyclopedia). Although not quite liberal enough for dedicated free traders, the Communityhas certainly played a significant part in the global reduction in trade barriers since World War Ii (see more in this European encyclopedia). (See also World Trade Organisation.)

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Notas y References

  1. Based on the book “A Concise Encyclopedia of the European Union from Aachen to Zollverein”, by Rodney Leach (Profile Books; London)

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