The European Union’s trade policy must be seen in the context of two of today’s realities. The first is the importance of the Union itself as a major world player. The second is the way globalisation is changing the international environment. The EU is the largest economy in the world, the biggest exporter and importer, leading investor and recipient of foreign investment and biggest aid donor. With just 7 % of the world’s population, it accounts for over one quarter of the world’s wealth as measured by gross domestic product (GDP) — the total value of goods and services produced. The single... market with the free movement of goods, services, people and capital within the EU’s borders is the cornerstone of the Union’s ability to create jobs by trading with other countries and regions. The EU, not national governments, is responsible for this market. It also manages trade relations with the wider world. Speaking with a single voice, the EU carries considerably more weight in international trade negotiations than any of its individual members would. It is an active economic and political player with growing regional and global interests and responsibilities. This publication is a part of a series that explains what the EU does in different policy areas, why the EU is involved and what the results are.