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The EU’s international trade priorities are shifting

Thursday, June 10, 2021


From the strategy, it appears the EU no longer sees free trade deals as an end in themselves but as another instrument -- alongside tools such as Carbon Border Adjustment Measures (CBAM) and the International Procurement Instrument -- to protect the internal economy and enhance the EU’s global influence on climate change, human rights and labour standards.


  • The EU’s increasingly protectionist trade agenda risks creating political tensions with trade partners.
  • Closer EU-US cooperation on trade, among other areas, would weaken the prospects for stronger EU relations with China.
  • As old industries die, the population ages and the EU moves towards digitisation, Europe could become more dependent on foreign innovation.

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