Along with multilateral agreements such as the WTO agreement, the EU evolved different trade agreements to induce European integration, perpetuate economic relations with former colonies and improve relations with developing, emerging and transitional countries by granting trade preferences. Common features of the EU preferential agreements are that they: cover general trade; allow a phasing-in period with a fast implementation in non-agricultural sectors (except for textiles); grant preferences for sensitive products of agri-food sectors (e.g. sugar, beef, bananas and dairy products) in terms of tariff-rate quotas (limited imports by reduced most-favoured nation rates); implement special safeguards, because the CAP is regarded as the ultimate objective; and, address more qualitative aspects such as common standards, sanitary and phytosanitary measures, property rights and institutional settings as well as the investment environment.


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