The most important criterion for the selection of new partners for Free Trade Agreements should be the market potential (size and growth of the economy) and the scope of the protective measures, which are directed against the interests of the EU export industry (tariff and non-tariff barriers). (…) If we consider new Free Trade Agreements, we have to work towards promoting sustainable development by means of our bilateral trade relations. Conceivable, for example, would be the inclusion of new cooperation provisions in areas such as occupational safety and health and environmental protection. We will take as much care of the development requirements of our partners as of the possible impact of an agreement on other developing countries; this applies in particular to any possible effects on the EU Tariff preferences of poor countries. The examination of possible effects on developing countries should become part of the general impact assessment, which will take place prior to entering into free trade negotiations. (…) In each individual case, the decision of opening negotiations should be taken on the basis of the economic criteria outlined above; in doing so, the readiness of our partners and political considerations, however, should also be taken into account.“
The European Commission has created a new generation of bilateral trade and investmentagreements within the scope of the “Global Europe” strategy in order to strengthen market penings at a bilateral level after the liberalisation efforts have waned within the World Trade Organisation. In the opinion of the Commission, this new generation of agreements shall fulfil several objectives.