Development-oriented EU trade policy

Project description

Title: Sector project: development-oriented EU trade policy
Commissioned by: German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ)
Country: Global
Overall term: 2016 to 2019


International trade has the potential to be an influential factor in achieving sustainable economic development and fighting poverty in partner countries of German development cooperation. Trade with the European Union (EU) plays an important role in the economic and social development of African, Caribbean and Pacific (ACP) states and of many other developing countries. However, the positive impacts of trade on development are dependent on the way in which international trade policy is structured, coherence with other policy areas and the structural requirements in developing countries. For this reason, the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ) is supporting these countries both bilaterally and within the EU framework in making better use of the positive effects of trade relations. Funds are also provided for trade-related development cooperation (Aid for Trade) to achieve this goal.


The German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ) is using innovative and strategic approaches to proactively position itself in the area of national and international EU trade policy. The interests of developing countries are taken into account in EU trade policy and the coherence of political and institutional measures in European trade and development policy is strengthened.


The project operates in two fields of activity. First, GIZ is helping BMZ to exercise influence over current trade negotiations and on the structuring of EU trade agreements and other EU trade policy instruments. Second, the project is supporting the ministry in its trade policy positioning, for instance by means of specialist advice and events, dialogue formats and pilot measures. The project works together closely with cooperation partners from the areas of science and academia, civil society and the private sector, as well as with international organisations and parliaments – at both national and European level and also in the partner countries themselves.


With the support of the project, BMZ has been able to make an effective contribution to various processes in relation to EU trade policy. One example here is the development-oriented structuring and implementation of Economic Partnership Agreements (EPAs) with countries in Africa, the Caribbean and the Pacific region and of other bilateral EU free trade agreements. The social and environmental sustainability standards and human rights that are enshrined in EU free trade agreements promote fair trade and help to shape international trade in a socially equitable and environmentally friendly manner. For example, a constructive compromise was achieved in linking preferential tariffs with sustainability standards in the palm oil sector.

The piloting and advisory activities that form part of the project have helped to strengthen trade policy expertise in partner countries and to initiate measures that will lead to development-oriented implementation of trade agreements. For instance, GIZ has supported Myanmar in designing international investment protection agreements and proposed suggestions for the use of flexible rules of origin for Jordanian exporters as part of the trade agreement between the EU and Jordan.

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