Trade policy 2.0 and algorithms: towards the "easification" of FTA implementation

The EU is the trading bloc with the most extensive network of bilateral free trade agreements (FTAs). These trade agreements offer tremendous market access opportunities for EU companies. However, FTAs are becoming increasingly complex. Therefore, in trying to cover many trading partners and a growing range of trade-related issues, a critical question emerges: how easy is it for EU firms to understand and take advantage of FTAs? This is a crucial question since a perfectly negotiated FTA offering optimal trade conditions would be useless if no exporter would make use of it. One effective way to facilitate FTA implementation is to rely on a combination of firm-level Trade Policy 2.0 combined with the use of algorithms to codify trade rules in simple online tools for SMEs. This paper describes two concrete examples (ROSA and Access2Procurement) deployed by the EU to "easify" the FTA implementation and ensure that companies can understand their provisions and take advantage of their benefits.

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