Trade Policymaking in the European Union: Institutional Framework [Updated January 18, 2008] [open pdf - 100KB]
"Trade policy in the EU is made in the context of legal provisions provided by the 1957 Treaty of Rome. As part of this treaty, an institutional framework for the making of trade policy -- common commercial policy -- was established. Despite relatively few changes in the treaty base of the EU's common commercial policy, its institutional framework has evolved over time as the scope of what constitutes trade policy has been a subject of continuing controversy. The roles and functions of key institutions -- the European Commission, the Council of Ministers, subordinate bodies of the Council, the European Parliament, and the European Court of Justice -- are described in this report. The actual process of how the EU makes trade policy is of growing interest to the United States as the EU continues to play a larger and more assertive role in the world economy. This report will be updated as events warrant."
CRS Report for Congress, RS21185