The EU is an important actor on the world stage. It is so partly because of its size and resources and partly because of its ability to act in a united, or at least coordinated, manner in a range of external policy contexts and settings. There are four main aspects to the EU‘s external relations: trade; foreign, security and defence; development; and the external dimension of internal policies. Each of these will be examined in this chapter. The member states of the EU present a united front to the world in respect of international trade and they act as one in contracting the terms of trade agreements. If they did not do so the unified internal market would not be possible. The main foundations of the united front are the Common Customs Tariff (CCT) – or Common External Tariff (CET) as it is also known – and the Common Commercial Policy (CCP).
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