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The European Union manages its trade and investment relations with third countries through its trade and investment policy. The EU`s trade and investment policy – sometimes referred to as the EU`s `common trade policy` – is an area in which the EU has exclusive powers to set the rules for all Member States. Although the European Parliament and the Council must define the framework for EU trade policy and approve new trade agreements, the greatest competence lies with the European Commission, which is responsible for trade negotiations. Within the Commission, the Commissioner for Trade (currently Cecilia Malmstrom), who conducts trade negotiations and represents the EU at the WTO, and the Directorate-General for Trade (sometimes referred to as DG TRADE) are the main players. In some circumstances, trade negotiations with a trading partner have been concluded, but have not yet been signed or ratified. This means that, although the negotiations are over, no part of the agreement is yet in force. The `Trade for All` strategy sets out the EU`s trade policy priorities. It also provides avenues for making trade policy development more efficient, transparent and ethical. In 2019, bilateral trade between Germany and Vietnam amounted to about 14 billion euros. The stock of German direct investment in Vietnam amounted to about 840 million euros in 2017.
More than 300 German companies are currently active in the Vietnamese market. Report on the Use of Trade for All in Trade Policy (2017) The European Union negotiates free trade agreements on behalf of all its member states, as EU member states have granted the EU „exclusive jurisdiction“ to conclude trade agreements. Nevertheless, the governments of the Member States control every step of the process (through the Council of the European Union, whose members are the national ministers of each national government). This increase in trade leads to economic growth and contributes to job creation. It also offers consumers a greater choice of products at lower prices. The Trade in Services Agreement (TiSA) is being developed in the form of a multi-lateral agreement on trade in services. The main focus is to improve access to foreign services markets and to give new impetus to negotiations on a multilateral trading system, which have largely stalled. The EU and the German government believe that the new rules to facilitate trade in services should be adopted at the WTO level at a later date. The EU negotiates tiSA with 23 WTO member countries, which account for about 70% of world trade in services.
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. Mr. Altmaier: „By modernizing our trade agreement with Mexico, we are sending a strong message for free and fair world trade.“ According to the European Commission, the MIC would replace the bilateral investment justice systems of the EU`s trade and investment agreements. The EU is one of the United States` main trading partners.