What We Do

Trade Policy

DBEI is responsible for the identification, formulation and development of Ireland’s international trade policies. We also promote Ireland’s trade interest at European Union (EU) trade policy negotiations, and actively participate at the World Trade Organisation (WTO). We represent Ireland at the OECD on the implementation of the OECD Guidelines for Multinational Enterprises.

Our key tasks

  • Ensuring Ireland’s interests are reflected to the maximum extent possible in the European Union’s Common Commercial Policy (CCP)
  • Representing Ireland’s trade interests at EU, WTO and other international fora.

The EU fora include the Trade Policy Committees (TPCs) appointed by the EU Council which assists the Commission in trade negotiations. Other EU trade committees, including those dealing with Anti-Dumping measures, are the Generalised System of Preferences (GSP) for developing countries and Market Access barriers.

Our officials based at Ireland’s Permanent Representation to the European Union in Brussels, maintain on-going contacts with EU Commission and Council officials on trade issues of particular interest to Ireland. Ireland’s trade policy interests are represented in the World Trade Organisation (WTO), the principal international body for regulating trade, with the assistance of departmental officials based at Ireland’s Permanent Representation to the WTO based in Geneva.

Free Trade Agreements

The EU’s Free Trade Agreements (FTAs) are in place not only to reduce tariffs, but also to eliminate other barriers to trade (such as restrictive regulations or standards). The FTAs aare bilateral and competitiveness-driven to help trade liberalization.

EU-Japan Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA)

The European Union and Japan have signed the Economic Partnership Agreement, a comprehensive trade agreement including goods, services and investment, eliminating tariffs, non-tariff barriers and other trade-related issues, such as public procurement, regulatory issues, competition, and sustainable development. 

Japan is one of the key trading partners of the European Union, it is its seventh largest trading partner globally and the second biggest one in Asia. Conversely, the European Union is Japan’s third largest trading partner. Together economies of Japan and the EU account for more than one third of world GDP.

The EPA applies as of 1 February 2019.

EU-Singapore Free Trade Agreement

In October 2018, the EU and Singapore signed a Free Trade Agreement and Investment Protection Agreement (IPA). The EU-Singapore FTA is the first FTA between the EU and a member of the Association of South East Asian Nations (ASEAN). It is intended that the FTA will be applied during 2019.

EU-Vietnam Free Trade Agreement

The EU has agreed an FTA and an Investment Protection Agreement with Vietnam, also a member of ASEAN.

Modernisation of the EU-Mexico Global Agreement

EU-Canada – Comprehensive Economic Trade Agreement (CETA)

World Trade Organization Ministerial Conference

The World Trade Organization, is an organization for trade opening, operates a system of trade rules. The WTO agreements cover the different areas of trade, like trade of goods and services and intellectual property. The organization also offers opportunities to member states` governments to negotiate trade agreements and settle trade-related disagreements.

Ireland became a WTO member on 1 January 1995. Ireland is also member of the European Union, which is a single customs union with a single trade policy and tariff of the 28 member states.

The WTO Ministerial Conference, which takes place every two year, brings together all members. 

News on Anti-dumping investigations

In order to ensure fair trade the European Commission applies trade defense instruments such as anti-dumping and anti-subsidy measures.

The Commission offer detailed information on the procedures, and give more information on the specific use of anti-dumping proceedings

Market Access Database

The Market Access Database (MADB) of the European Union provides relevant information about import conditions in third country markets (such as tariffs, procedures and formalities, statistics, trade barriers, sanitary and phytosanitary issues, and rules of origin) to companies exporting or planning to export from the European Union.

Conflict Minerals

In politically unstable areas, armed groups often use forced labour to mine minerals. They then sell those minerals to fund their activities, for example to buy weapons.

These so-called ‘conflict minerals', such as tin, tantalum, tungsten and gold, can find their way into global supply chains and into our mobile phones, cars and jewellery.

The European Parliament asked the Commission to look at possible ways to restrict the financing of conflicts through the purchase of conflict minerals. In May 2017, a regulation was passed to stop:

  • conflict minerals and metals from being exported to the EU
  • global and EU smelters and refiners from using conflict minerals
  • mine workers from being abused

The law also supports the development of local communities.

This regulation requires EU companies to ensure they import these minerals and metals from responsible sources only.

For more information about conflict minerals, please see ec.europa.eu/trade/policy/in-focus/conflict-minerals-regulation.