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Brussels, 2 July 2007

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Opening new markets worldwide for Europe's ICT industry: Commission launches public consultation

The Commission launches today a public consultation to help strengthen the global position of Europe's Information and Communication Technology (ICT) industries by ensuring access to global markets. The consultation will run until 17 September 2007 and is open to all stakeholders, including industries, research community and consumer organisations. The Commission seeks to capture stakeholder views on market access and on regulatory issues so as to refine its EU strategy for international cooperation on ICT.

Our ICT industry in Europe needs to think and be global," said the EU's Information Society and Media Commissioner Viviane Reding. "While we have been working hard to create a single telecoms market in Europe, we must not lose sight of the global picture. There are further markets to take abroad for Europe's ICT industry if we strengthen its competitiveness and remove barriers to trade in third countries. Today's consultation therefore seeks to identify trade barriers and business opportunities that exist worldwide for Europe's ICT industry."

Internationally, the stakes are high for Europe's ICT industry: the EU represents approximately 30% of the world ICT market. Electronic communications, embedded computing, micro- and nano-electronics, micro-systems and ‘smart’ integrated systems are Europe’s main industrial and technological strengths. Europe also has 6 of the world's top 10 telecommunications providers and 4 of the top 10 equipment manufacturers (see list attached).

To help Europe's ICT industries sell their products and services globally, and increase market share, the Commission believes in open markets and free trade. The Commission in particular is working for further progress in multilateral trade relations under the World Trade Organisation, especially regarding trade in services, which is essential for Europe's ICT sector.

With the public consultation launched today, the Commission aims to formulate a more ambitious, targeted international EU strategy for ICT that explores new markets for EU industries, improves the competitiveness of Europe's ICT industry in global markets and promotes EU interests worldwide.

To request input for this international strategy (which will be published in the first half of 2008), today's consultation asks interested stakeholders for input in three areas:

• Regulatory, market access, trade issues, looking at regulatory cooperation, standards, intellectual property rights, access to spectrum and smart radio tags (RFID);

• Research and innovation, focusing on ICT research collaboration, research infrastructure and the role of ICT in global challenges such as energy efficiency, ageing, healthcare etc;

• Social aspects, such as network and information security, internet governance, the digital divide between poor and rich countries, and improving existing bilateral agreements with non-EU countries.

Today's public consultation is part of the overall i2010 initiative to create an information society for growth and jobs (see IP/05/643).

The public consultation document is available from:

For more on the EU's Information Society's international dimension: MEMO/06/461

Economic Background:

In 2006 the global telecom service market was worth €971 billion. The EU share was about €300 billion, compared to the US' €245 billion and Japan's €110 billion. The 2006 worldwide telecom equipment market was worth €216 billion. The EU share was €59 billion, compared to the US' €52 billion and Japan's €26 billion.

The world's top 10 telecommunications providers
(in services sales)

1. AT&T
2. NTT
3. Verizon
4. Deutsche Telekom
EU (Germany)
5. France Telecom
EU (France)
6. Telefónica
EU (Spain)
7. Vodafone
8. Telecom Italia
EU (Italy)
9. BT
10. Sprint Nextel

The world's top 10 equipment manufacturers
(in equipment sales)

1. Cisco
2. Alcatel Lucent
EU (France), US
3. Ericsson
EU (Sweden)
4. Nokia Siemens Networks
EU (Finland)
5. Nortel
6. NEC
7. Motorola
8. Huawei
9. Siemens
EU (Germany)
10. Fujitsu

Source: "DigiWorld2007. The digital world's challenges", IDATE Foundation, 2007, France

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