|Term length||Five years|
|Inaugural holder||Jean Rey|
|Salary||€19,909.89 per month|
The European Commissioner for Trade (sometimes referred to as the EU Trade Commissioner) is the member of the European Commission responsible for the European Union's common commercial policy (governing international trade). The portfolio has been held by Cecilia Malmström (Sweden – FP / ALDE) since November 2014.
The European Commission (EC) is an institution of the European Union, responsible for proposing legislation, implementing decisions, upholding the EU treaties and managing the day-to-day business of the EU. Commissioners swear an oath at the European Court of Justice in Luxembourg City, pledging to respect the treaties and to be completely independent in carrying out their duties during their mandate. Unlike in the Council of the European Union, where members are directly and indirectly elected, and the European Parliament, where members are directly elected, the Commissioners are proposed by the Council of the European Union, on the basis of suggestions made by the national governments, and then appointed by the European Council after the approval of the European Parliament.
International trade is the exchange of capital, goods, and services across international borders or territories.
Anna Cecilia Malmström is a Swedish politician who has served as European Commissioner for Trade since 2014. She previously served as European Commissioner for Home Affairs from 2010 to 2014 and Minister for European Union Affairs from 2006 to 2010. She was a Member of the European Parliament (MEP) from Sweden from 1999 to 2006.
The Commissioner heads up the Directorate-General for Trade in defining the commercial policy of the EU, which has been exclusively under the EU's mandate since the EEC's Rome Treaty in 1957. Due to the size of the European economy, being the world's largest market and having a huge slice of world trade, this position can be very important in dealing with other world economic powers such as China or the United States. Former Commissioner Leon Brittan commented that “Frankly, it is more important than most [national] cabinet jobs”.
A commercial policy is a government's policy governing international trade. Commercial policy is an all encompassing term that is used to cover topics which involve international trade. Trade policy is often described in terms of a scale between the extremes of free trade on one side and protectionism on the other.
The European Economic Community (EEC) was a regional organisation which aimed to bring about economic integration among its member states. It was created by the Treaty of Rome of 1957. Upon the formation of the European Union (EU) in 1993, the EEC was incorporated and renamed as the European Community (EC). In 2009 the EC's institutions were absorbed into the EU's wider framework and the community ceased to exist.
The European Union is the second largest economy in the world in nominal terms and according to purchasing power parity or PPP. The European Union's GDP was estimated to be $18.8 trillion (nominal) in 2018, representing ~22% of global economy.
The Commissioner defines the trade interests of the EU and negotiates bilateral, regional or multilateral agreements with third countries. She monitors the implementation of such agreements and deals with any unfair practices, devises and monitors internal and external policies concerning international trade, ensures consistency in EU external policies and provides up-to-date public and industrial economic information.
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The European Union has been a member of the World Trade Organization (WTO) in its own right since the WTO was founded on 1 January 1995, alongside its member states. (Until 1 December 2009, it held WTO membership under the name European Communities rather than European Union.) The EU forms its own customs union with a common external tariff and commercial (external trade) policy: this means that at the WTO the EU operates as a single actor with the European Commission representing the EU.
The World Trade Organization (WTO) is an intergovernmental organization that is concerned with the regulation of international trade between nations. The WTO officially commenced on 1 January 1995 under the Marrakesh Agreement, signed by 124 nations on 15 April 1994, replacing the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (GATT), which commenced in 1948. It is the largest international economic organization in the world.
The European Communities (EC), sometimes referred to as the European Community, were three international organizations that were governed by the same set of institutions. These were the European Coal and Steel Community (ECSC), the European Atomic Energy Community, and the European Economic Community (EEC); the last of which was renamed the European Community (EC) in 1993 by the Maastricht Treaty, which formed the European Union.
The European Union Customs Union (EUCU) is a customs union which consists of all the member states of the European Union (EU), Monaco, and some dependencies of the United Kingdom which are not part of the EU. Some detached territories of EU members do not participate in the customs union, usually as a result of their geographic separation. In addition to the EUCU, the EU is in customs unions with Andorra, San Marino, and Turkey, through separate bilateral agreements.
EU trade policy is decided by the Article 133 committee (EU trade policy is based on Article 133 of the EU treaties) which brings together the Commission and member states to decide policy. Actual negotiations are carried out by the Commission's Directorate-General for Trade under the authority of the Trade Commissioner.However, current plans for the European External Action Service (EEAS) may see trade and WTO relations being transferred from the Commission over the EEAS and the High Representative.
The European External Action Service (EEAS) is the diplomatic service and foreign and defence ministry of the European Union (EU). The EEAS is led by the High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy (HR), who is also President of the Foreign Affairs Council and Vice-President of the European Commission, and carries out the EU's Common Foreign and Security Policy (CFSP), including the Common Security and Defence Policy (CSDP).
At the WTO, the EU has been in a large number of trade disputes with other members, notably the US (see European Union – United States relations ). The EU has brought 81 cases to the WTO, had 67 brought against it and been a third party in a further 88 (as of March 2010).
Cecilia Malmström became the new Commissioner for Trade in late 2014. The mission letter for her new post mentioned the successful conclusion of the controversial trade negotiations with the USA, the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP), as one of her key duties, but with a number of restrictions and confinements to the negotiation mandate to address European public concerns over TTIP.The confinements were the result of the hearing in the European parliament a few weeks before, where she had to face some tough questions over the TTIP negotiations. She tried to revive the negotiations with the USA two weeks after entering office.
Karel De Gucht was appointed Commissioner for Trade in 2010. De Gucht's statements to the European Parliament ahead of becoming Trade Commissioner were met with dismay by Trade Justice campaigners who claimed 'responses at his three-hour hearing revealed his corporate sympathies and gave little indication that the change of personnel at the European Trade Commission will lead to any change in the direction of European trade policy.'
De Gucht criticised China for undervaluing the renminbi and the US for protectionism and incoherence over the Doha round.This further came after EADS pulled out of a US defence contract bid, that it had previously won before it was reopened, claiming the tender process was biased against them.
During his five-year term as the Commissioner for Trade, De Gucht achieved important trade agreements, among others, with South Korea (2011), Colombia and Peru (2013), Central America, Singapore, Georgia, Moldavia and Ukraine (2014). The comprehensive trade agreement with Ukraine was a direct cause of the upheavals in Independence Square and the 2013–14 Ukrainian Crisis. In October 2014 he concluded CETA, the free trade agreement with Canada and the first ever agreement with a G7 member. He also concluded landmark economic partnership agreements with West Africa (ECOWAS), South Africa (SADC) and Eastern Africa (EAC), covering together 75% of African economy. The signature of the trade agreement with the EAC, consisting of Burundi, Kenya, Rwanda, Tanzania and Uganda, was his ultimate duty, done in Nairobi on 31. October 2014, his last day in office as the European Commissioner of Trade.
He left office while several trade negotiations were still ongoing. He oversaw the start of trade negotiations with Japan and Vietnam, resumed talks with Mercosur and began investment agreement negotiations with China. He also prepared and launched free trade negotiations with the United States, the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP), in 2013.
At the end of his mandate he enjoyed a strong reputation within the European Commission because of the progression in the trade portfolio during his mandate and because of his strong views on European policy questions.On the other hand, side he had to deal with some criticism in the general public and the media because of the apparently intransparent European negotiation mandate in the ongoing TTIP trade negotiations with the USA, which gave rise to a number of rumours. The concerns were partially relieved after the negotiation mandate was released to the public in October 2014.
Catherine Ashton was nominated by Gordon Brown as the UK's EU Commissioner on 3 October to replace Peter Mandelsonand appointed on 6 October as the new Trade Commissioner. Although a life peer, she does not use her title Baroness Ashton of Upholland as an EU Commissioner. On 1 December 2009 Ashton became the new High Representative and Benita Ferrero-Waldner took over Trade until the second Barroso Commission was in place.
At his hearing at the European Parliament in 2004, Peter Mandelson expressed a desire to develop multi-lateral rule-based trade, benefiting the poor as well as helping general economic development. He has been noted for being a pro-European and an Atlantacist.
Concluding WTO talks after the collapse of the Doha Development Round has been a contentious point, with the EU not willing to cut agricultural subsidies without similar action by the United States.
In July 2007, he proposed the creation of European golden shares to protect certain European companies, such as EADS from foreign takeovers. The Commission has generally been against golden shares as they distort the Union's internal market, the idea is that EU golden shares would protect companies from outside influence but not other European companies.
Mandelson stated that he did not intend to seek another term in the Commission after 2009and in 2008 he stood down to join the British cabinet as Business secretary. Although his tenure was supported by business representatives in Brussels in light of his advocacy of free trade, his departure was generally welcomed by development NGOs and fair trade campaigners who viewed his attitude towards developing countries as aggressive, supporting European big business over development goals.
| Hallstein Commission I|
Hallstein Commission II
|2||Jean-François Deniau||1968–1970||Rey Commission|
| Malfatti Commission |
|4||Christopher Soames||1973–1977||Ortoli Commission|
| Jenkins Commission |
|6||Willy De Clercq||1985–1988||Delors Commission I|
|7||Frans Andriessen||1989–1992||Delors Commission II|
| Delors Commission III|
|9||Pascal Lamy||1999–2004||Prodi Commission|
|10||Danuta Hübner||2004||Prodi Commission|
|11||Peter Mandelson||2004–2008||Barroso Commission I|
|12||Catherine Ashton||2008–2009||Barroso Commission I|
|13||Benita Ferrero-Waldner||2009–2010||Barroso Commission I|
|14||Karel De Gucht||2010-2014||Barroso Commission II|
|15||Cecilia Malmström||2014 onwards||Juncker Commission|
Karel Lodewijk Georgette Emmerence De Gucht is a Belgian politician who was the European Commissioner for Trade from February 2010 until 31 October 2014. Previously, he served as Belgium's Minister of Foreign Affairs from 2004 to 2009 and as the European Commissioner for International Cooperation, Humanitarian Aid and Crisis Response from 2009 to 2010.
Catherine Margaret Ashton, Baroness Ashton of Upholland, is a British Labour politician who served as the High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy and First Vice President of the European Commission in the Barroso Commission from 2009 to 2014.
The High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy is the chief co-ordinator and representative of the Common Foreign and Security Policy (CFSP) within the European Union (EU). The position is currently held by Federica Mogherini.
The Barroso Commission was the European Commission in office from 22 November 2004 until 31 October 2014. Its president was José Manuel Barroso, who presided over 27 other commissioners. On 16 September 2009 Barroso was re-elected by the European Parliament for a further five years and his Commission was approved to take office on 9 February 2010.
The Southern African Customs Union (SACU) is a customs union among five countries of Southern Africa: Botswana, Lesotho, Namibia, South Africa and Eswatini. Its headquarters are in the Namibian capital, Windhoek. It was established in 1910.
The European Commissioner for External Relations was a member of the European Commission with responsibility over the Commissions external representation in the world and the European Union's (EU) Neighbourhood Policy (ENP). The responsibility was shared though between other Commission posts and the High Representative.
Relations between Moldova and the European Union (EU) are currently shaped via the European Neighbourhood Policy (ENP), an EU foreign policy instrument dealing with countries bordering its member states.
The Republic of Albania has been an official candidate for accession to the European Union (EU) since June 2014 and is on the current agenda for future enlargement of the EU.
The accession of Serbia to the European Union is the process of the Republic of Serbia being admitted to the European Union as a member state and it is on the current agenda for future enlargement of the EU.
Accession of Kosovo to the European Union (EU) is on the current agenda for future enlargement of the EU and Kosovo is recognized by the EU as a potential candidate for accession. Kosovo's declaration of independence from Serbia was enacted on 17 February 2008 by a vote of members of the Assembly of Kosovo. Independence has not been recognised by Serbia, or five out of 28 EU member states, and as a result the European Union itself refers only to "Kosovo*", with an asterisked footnote containing the text agreed to by the Belgrade–Pristina negotiations: "This designation is without prejudice to positions on status, and is in line with UNSCR 1244 and the ICJ Opinion on the Kosovo Declaration of Independence." This has not prevented Kosovo from continuing its EU enacted Stabilisation Tracking Mechanism (STM) programme, aiming to gradually integrate its national policies on legal, economic and social matters with the EU, so that at some point in the future they could qualify for EU membership.
Miguel Arias Cañete is a Spanish politician. He has been the Spanish European Commissioner since November 2014.
The Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (CETA) is a free-trade agreement between Canada, the European Union and its member states. It has been provisionally applied, so the treaty has eliminated 98% of the tariffs between Canada and the EU.
Sir Julian Beresford King is a British diplomat and civil servant who served as Ambassador to Ireland and France and Director General of the Northern Ireland Office. On 8 July 2016, he was nominated by David Cameron to succeed Jonathan Hill as the British European Commissioner. On 2 August 2016, European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker announced his intention to allocate King the Security Union portfolio. After the approval of his nomination by the European Parliament and the Council of the European Union, he took office on 19 September 2016. With the United Kingdom's expected withdrawal from the European Union in 2019 it is likely he will be the last British official to hold a position and portfolio within the European Commission.
The European Union has concluded free trade agreements (FTAs) and other agreements with a trade component with many countries worldwide and is negotiating with many others.
The Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) is a proposed trade agreement between the European Union and the United States, with the aim of promoting trade and multilateral economic growth. According to Karel de Gucht, European Commissioner for Trade between 2010 and 2014, the TTIP is the largest bilateral trade initiative ever negotiated, not only because it involves the two largest economies in the world but also "because of its potential global reach in setting an example for future partners and agreements".
Věra Jourová is a Czech politician, businesswoman, and lawyer, who serves as the European Commissioner for Justice, Consumers and Gender Equality as a part of the Juncker Commission since October 2014. Previously, she was the Czech Minister for Regional Development and Member of the Chamber of Deputies (MP) from 2013 to 2014.
The Juncker Commission is the European Commission in office since 1 November 2014 and is due to serve until 2019. Its president is Jean-Claude Juncker, who presides over 27 other commissioners. In July 2014, Juncker was officially elected to succeed José Manuel Barroso, who completed his second five-year term in that year.