Victor Ciumac

Europe is Open for Business.

“Partners across the globe are lining up at our door to conclude trade agreements with us […]. Trade is about jobs, creating new opportunities for Europe’s businesses big and small. Every additional €1 billion in exports supports 14,000 extra jobs in Europe. Trade is about exporting our standards, be they social or environmental standards, data protection or food safety requirements.” ( Jean-Claude Juncker #SOTEU 2017)

On 13 September, European Commission President, Jean-Claude Juncker proposed in his annual speech on the State of the European Union, a Roadmap for a More United, Stronger and More Democratic Union. The first proposal addressed on the top five priority list for the 2018, was the European Trade Agenda with an emphasis on comprehensive trade agreements and investment screening in the strategic sectors of the EU economy.

A success story in this regard is the Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (CETA) between the EU and Canada. On 21 September, the document entered into force, removing duties on 98% of products (tariff lines) that the EU trades with Canada. It also gives EU companies the best access ever offered to companies from outside Canada to bid on the country’s public procurement contracts – not just at the federal level but at provincial and municipal levels, too. Also , an existing political agreement with Japan on a new economic partnership, sustained negotiations with Mexico and South American Countries is a big step forward in reaching legal harmonization in terms of trade by 2018.

According to Eurostat, the first estimate for extra-EU28 exports of goods in July 2017 was €155.8 billion, up by 9.7% compared with July 2016 (€142.1 bn). Imports from the rest of the world stood at €146.9 bn, up by 5.6% compared with July 2016 (€139.1 bn). As a result, the EU28 recorded a €8.8 bn surplus in trade in goods with the rest of the world in July 2017, compared with +€3.0 bn in July 2016.

Intra-EU28 trade rose to €260.3 bn in July 2017, +5.3% compared with July 2016. In January to July 2017, extra-EU28 exports of goods stood at €1 087.3 bn (an increase of 9.6% compared with January-July 2016) and imports at €1 076.5 bn (an increase of 10.1% compared with January-July 2016). As a result, the EU28 recorded a surplus of €10.8 bn, compared with +€14.0 bn in January-July 2016. Intra-EU28 trade rose to €1 938.3 bn in January-July 2017, +6.9% compared with January-July 2016.

I have the utmost confidence and optimism in the economic future of our Union, but we have to work for it. We need stronger initiatives and more political will at national, regional and local level in order to bring small and medium-sized businesses across Europe closer to the policy decision making process in Brussels.

As President Bill Clinton once said, it’s all about the Economy.

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