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IP/10/1484

Brussels, 9 November 2010

EU sets assertive trade policy agenda for next five years

The European Commission today laid out its blueprint for an EU trade policy to help revitalise Europe's economy. In its discussion paper "Trade, Growth and World Affairs", the Commission analyses how trade is an engine for economic growth and job creation. It proposes a strategy to reduce trade barriers, to open global markets and to get a fair deal for European businesses. The overarching aim is to take a more assertive approach to ensure the benefits of trade reach European citizens.

"Trade is working for Europe's economic recovery by ensuring growth and jobs", said EU Trade Commissioner Karel De Gucht. "A renewed trade strategy will open markets and connect Europe to the main sources and regions of global growth. My aim is to ensure that European business gets a fair deal and that our rights are respected so that all of us can enjoy the benefits of trade."

The paper sets out the triple benefit of trade for Europe: stronger economic growth, more jobs and increased consumer choice at lower prices.

The Commission plans to use trade policy to help exit the current crisis and to create the right environment for a strong EU economy. Specifically, the Commission proposes:

  • to complete its ambitious negotiating agenda at the WTO and with major trading partners such as India and Mercosur. Completing this agenda would increase European GDP by more than one percent per year;

  • to deepen trade relations with other strategic partners, such as the US, China, Russia and Japan, where the main focus will be on tackling non-tariff barriers to trade;

  • to help European businesses access global markets by setting up a mechanism to redress the balance between open markets in the EU (for example in public procurement) and more closed markets with our trading partners;

  • to start negotiating comprehensive investment provisions with some of our key trading partners;

  • to make sure trade is fair, and our rights are properly enforced, translating promise on paper into concrete benefits;

  • to ensure trade remains inclusive so that the benefits go to the many, not the few. We will spell out how trade can continue to support development as we set up a new framework of rules for trade preferences for developing countries.

These priorities mirror the concerns of people across the EU. A Eurobarometer survey on international trade, also released today, shows that two thirds of European citizens feel that the EU has benefited from international trade. A majority is confident that European products and services can compete successfully in the global market.

Background

The discussion paper is accompanied by two more documents. A report on "Progress achieved on the Global Europe strategy 2006-2010" reviews progress made over the last five years in achieving further trade opening between the EU and its trading partners. A working paper "Trade as a driver of prosperity" shows the contribution that sustainable, smart and inclusive trade can make to growth and job creation, and examines the most important remaining barriers to trade in goods, services and investment.

A public consultation on EU trade policy helped to identify the priorities of a wide group of stakeholders and delivered important contributions to the Commission's new strategy.

The Eurobarometer survey was conducted by interviews with 26,635 EU citizens in the 27 EU States between 26th August and 16th September 2010.

For further information

For the Communication "Trade, Growth and World Affairs" and accompanying Staff Working Papers "Trade as a Driver of Prosperity" and " Progress achieved on the Global Europe strategy 2006-2010"

http://ec.europa.eu/trade/trade-growth-and-jobs/

Summary of the Eurobarometer survey on international trade:

http://ec.europa.eu/trade/trade-growth-and-jobs/public-opinion/


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