BusinessEurope | November 2014
Trade roadmap for the European Commission
In the last 15 years we have witnessed dramatic changes in the way we live and the way we do business. The digital revolution made the world smaller and more connected. New business opportunities were created and new markets emerged.
Globalisation of the supply chains is one of the most important changes with direct impact on Trade. Production is organised to an increasing extent by international or global value chains. Goods and services are not produced in a single location, but are the result of a combination of tasks executed in different countries.
This change puts additional pressure on the EU, as well as other trading partners, to finding ways of supporting global value chains. The worldwide elimination of tariffs and non-tariff barriers, and facilitation of trade and investments are the right answers to this new international trading environment.
The EU is adjusting to this challenging environment and remains the world’s largest trading block representing around 16% of the World’s Imports and Exports. In spite of the decrease in the World’s Investment share the EU continues to rank first in both inbound and outbound international investment flows. This gives a good indication of how open to the world the EU economy is and how important an ambitious Trade agenda is to ensure that the Europeaneconomy remains competitive.
In the coming years the European Union will have to improve access to worldwide markets accelerating its external trade agenda in a spirit of reciprocity, as a way to boost competitiveness, job creation and investment, stimulating a sound industrial and services base in Europe.
An ambitious trade agenda should cater to the interests of SMEs and support them to be more active in international markets. This would lead to new market opportunities for a greater portion of our companies that remain absent from the global scene.
Recently business is also being confronted with the increasing political role of Trade. Trade is being used more and more as a foreign policy tool. This is constructive when leading to economic and political stability in sensitive and unstable areas but it also brings an element of uncertainty as trade is increasingly dependent on geopolitical constraints. Even more worrisome is the growing trend of dissociating Trade from the economic reality, using it only to pursue political objectives (e.g. recent public debate on ISDS).
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