What We Do

A modern, liberalised trade policy framework is crucial to economic and social development, employment and prosperity. This goes hand-in-hand with policies which support long-term, sustainable growth. The commercial activities of FTA’s members – over 1,900 retailers, importers and brand companies engaged in trade around the world – boost economic growth, employment and social wellbeing. FTA therefore advocates to ensure that decisions made at the highest European and international policy level support members to maximise the benefits of free trade and sustainable supply chains.

Why ITP Exists

The ability of companies to develop their commercial activities, and through them to enhance the economic growth of the EU, is strongly influenced by the trade policy framework under which they operate. For this reason, the International Trade Policy (ITP) service of FTA was the first activity and primary motivator behind FTA’s launch in 1977. The retailers, importers and brand companies that join FTA do so for clear reasons: One voice to combine the leverage of all companies working together through FTA’s ITP service better enables them to positively influence the framework for trade policy, whether it be at EU level, or bilateral and multilateral global frameworks such as through WTO.

What We Offer

From the global to the European and national policy-making arenas, FTA develops constructive dialogue with all relevant stakeholders to promote the international trade interests of the sector and raise awareness about the implications for members of trade decisions and policies.

FTA advocates for a political environment that facilitates commerce, with four key goals:

  1. Clear Values and Principles: Imports as well as exports are beneficial for the EU economy. A protectionist attitude that limits imports would raise business costs and lower competitiveness for EU companies and could produce retaliatory measures that would impact on sectors that depend on business outside the EU
  2. Ambitious Trade Agreements: Trade agreements serve as a catalyst to achieve economic growth. The WTO is the most important platform for shaping the international rulebook and so a successful conclusion to the Doha Round is highly desirable. At the same time, bilateral trade agreements also bring significant advantages to EU businesses, such as lower or no tariffs, smoother legislation, and better access to foreign markets
  3. Modernised Trade Rulebook: The EU’s trade legislation requires reform to meet today’s global trade climate. For example, the anti-dumping system needs greater predictability and transparency, while simpler rules of origin are also needed
  4. Free Trade and Sustainability Work in Tandem: Social and environmental conditions in the international supply chain are of great concern to FTA and EU companies. However, sustainability policy should not override the goal of greater trade facilitation, an essential ingredient for growth and development in countries from where FTA members source goods