The European Union
has concluded free trade agreements
and other agreements with a trade component with many countries worldwide and is negotiating with many others.
The European Union negotiates free trade deals on behalf of all of its member states, as the member states have granted the EU has an "exclusive competence" to conclude trade agreements. Even so, member states' governments control every step of the process (via the Council of the European Union
, whose members are national ministers
from each national government).
The European Court of Justice has held that investor-state Arbitration
provisions (including a dedicated tribunal planned by some free trade agreements) falls under competency shared between European Union and its member states and that for this reason, their ratification should be approved by the EU as well as by each of the 28 states.