Argentina was the first Latin American country to formalise relations with the EU under a 3rd generation cooperation agreement. The Framework Trade and Economic Co-operation Agreement between the EU and Argentina entered into force in 1990 and includes two recurrent principles of their cooperation: the strengthening of democracy and human rights, as well as regional integration. An EU-Argentina Joint Commission has also been established. A number of sectoral agreements were established in the 1990s. The main focuses of cooperation are education and training; economic competitiveness; capacity‑building in the public and academic sectors. Argentina is part of the EU's negotiating with the regional bloc Mercosur for a free trade agreement which will form the back bone of EU-Latin American relations.
The EU is Argentina's second largest export market (after Brazil). Argentina's exports to the EU are mainly agricultural and other primary goods. The EU exports less goods to Argentina in return (giving the EU a deficit of €3.4 billion) but has a surplus in services of €0.4 billion. The EU is also Argentina's biggest foreign investor, accounting for half of Argentina's foreign direct investment (FDI).