The Council plays a crucial role in the development of a new trade agreement. In June 2018, the European Council stressed the need to maintain and deepen the rules-based multilateral system, amid growing trade tensions around the world. Ongoing trade negotiations between the EU and third countries include: in the initial phase, the Council authorises the European Commission to negotiate a new trade agreement on behalf of the EU. This requires a “negotiating mandate.” With the appropriate authorization, the Commission adopts negotiating guidelines that include the objectives, scope and possible timelines of the negotiations. The EU manages trade relations with third countries in the form of trade agreements. They aim to create better business opportunities and overcome the obstacles associated with them. According to the WTO, it can be so important to promise that there will be no removal of a trade barrier as to reduce one, as if it were predictive for businesses. This will encourage investment, create jobs and enable consumers to take full advantage of the benefits of competition – choice and lower prices. At the end of these deliberations, the Council adopts a decision on the signing of the agreement on behalf of the EU. It then sends the signed agreement to the European Parliament for approval. On May 22, 2018, the Council adopted conclusions on how trade agreements are negotiated and concluded.
Trade agreements differ according to their content: EU trade policy is also used as a means of promoting European principles and values, from democracy and human rights to environmental and social rights. In the final phase, after the European Parliament has given its compliant opinion, the Council adopts the decision on the conclusion of the agreement. Following an agreement with the partners on the text of the agreement, the Commission submits formal proposals to the Council for its adoption. He defined the main principles that will now strengthen the Council`s approach to trade negotiations. According to the European Commission, the MIC would replace the bilateral investment justice systems that participate in EU trade and investment agreements. Trade agreements are generally very complex because they are legal texts covering a wide range of activities, from agriculture to intellectual property. But they share a number of fundamental principles. To achieve this strategic objective, the EU intends to set up a permanent investment litigation body, a multilateral investment tribunal (MIC).
Although the WTO is generally referred to as a “free trade institution,” it sometimes allows tariffs and, in limited circumstances, other forms of protection.