The Directorate of European Affairs and International Economic Relations (Directorate II) defines and represents international economic policy in multilateral organisations such as the European Union, the World Trade Organisation (WTO), the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) and the United Nations Commission on International Trade Law (UNCITRAL).
The Directorate represents Luxembourg in the European fora in charge of the common commercial policy, which deal in particular with anti-dumping, anti-subsidy and market access issues. Commercial policy, an exclusive competence of the European Union, is conducted by the European Commission on behalf of the 27 Member States of the Union. Thus, the Commission represents the European Union in international fora devoted to trade policy, in particular at the World Trade Organisation, and negotiates trade agreements with one or more States or with international organisations on the basis of mandates given to it by the Member States. In accordance with the provisions of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union (Article 207), the Commission regularly reports to the committees responsible for commercial policy and to the European Parliament on the progress of negotiations.
The Directorate represents Luxembourg in the committees which assist the Commission in these tasks. In this context, Luxembourg favours an open, balanced and responsible trade policy, ensuring that markets are opened up in full compliance with the objectives of sustainable development and the fight against climate change. Hence, Luxembourg is committed to the establishment of genuine fair trade within the Single market, in particular by promoting the introduction of a duty of care for companies at European level. A first step in this direction has been taken with the entry into force on 1 January 2021 of all provisions of Regulation (EU) 2017/821 laying down supply chain due diligence obligations for EU importers importing tin, tantalum and tungsten, their ores and gold from conflict or high-risk areas. Their implementation is coordinated by the Directorate II. It also takes part in the implementation of Regulation (EU) 2019/452 establishing a framework for the screening of foreign direct investment in the Union.
The Directorate ensures that the interests of Luxembourg companies are safeguarded in the context of the implementation of the European Union's trade defence instruments, the latter allowing in particular to counter the effects of import dumping.
The Directorate plays a coordinating role with regard to the implementation of restrictive measures decided in international fora (UN, EU).
Within the framework of its attributions relating to investment protection, the Directorate monitors the investment protection agreements negotiated by the European Union and is directly involved in the negotiation of bilateral agreements between the Belgian-Luxembourg Economic Union and third countries. In this context, it ensures the protection of Luxembourg investments abroad against real and proven discrimination while ensuring that these agreements do not undermine the right of States to legislate in the interest of their citizens.