Last reviewed 4 June 2019

The European Commission has issued a paper prepared by the chief economist team in its Trade Directorate entitled: Trade for you too: Why is trade more important than you think?

Available at, this highlights the importance of international trade to economic prosperity based on recent economic evidence.

The Director- General for Trade, Jean-Luc Demarty, hit out at some recent pronouncements on the value of world trade.

He said: “Global trade and trade policy has been under pressure recently, with many voices, often based on misinformed views, questioning its benefits. Through its trade policy, the EU is building strategic alliances with partners around the world and the importance of concrete facts and figures, offering a balanced view of the benefits and challenges generated by EU trade policy is crucial.”

Mr Demarty argues that analytical work, such as that presented in this paper, forms an important element in defining EU trade policy positions and that it helps to make a more convincing case that resonates with citizens.

In light of current populist shifts in public opinion and the ensuing stark anti-trade and anti-globalisation rhetoric from both the far-left and the far-right, the purpose of this paper is to highlight the importance of trade in general and of EU trade policy in particular, by reviewing the evidence available.

With one in seven jobs in the EU depending on exports, and European companies and citizens benefiting from 41 trade agreements with 72 countries, Mr Demarty accepts that it is still the case that convincing arguments must be put forward in favour of future EU trade policy initiatives.

As well as advancing a progressive trade agenda, the paper also examines the need to fight unfair trade practices and explains how the EU pursues a free trade agenda through multilateral trade liberalisation, bilateral/regional trade liberalisation, plurilateral trade liberalisation and unilateral trade liberalisation.