The European Commission has set out its trade strategy for the coming years.
The new strategy will strengthen the capacity of trade to support the digital and climate transitions. First, by contributing to achieve the European Green Deal objectives. Second, by removing unjustified trade barriers in the digital economy to reap the benefits of digital technologies in trade. By reinforcing its alliances, such as the transatlantic partnership, together with a stronger focus on neighbouring countries and Africa, the EU will be better able to shape global change.
Last trade figures
- In 2019, the EU exported over €3.1 trillion worth of goods and services and imported €2.8 trillion of goods and services. Taken together, it makes the EU the biggest player in world trade.
- Two-way trade accounts for 43% of the EU’s Gross Domestic Product.
- By 2024, 85% of the world’s GDP growth is expected to be outside the EU.
The EU is the largest trading partner in 74 countries worldwide. It is the leading trading partner for Asia, Africa, the United States, the Western Balkans and the European Neighbourhood.
What about the services?
The EU is the world’s leading service provider. Trade in services accounts for 25 % of the EU’s GDP. Exports of services exceed EUR 900 billion per year. 60 % of the EU’s foreign direct investment to the rest of the world concerns the services sector, as well as nearly 90 % of foreign investment entering the EU.
Free Trade Agreements
Following the series of new agreements concluded in recent years, the Commission will focus its efforts on exploiting the benefits of EU trade agreements, as well as on firm monitoring of compliance with market access and sustainable development commitments. European stakeholders need to be aware of the opportunities offered by trade agreements negotiated by the EU and be assured that they can reap the benefits resulting from them. The EU has concluded or is conducting negotiations for the conclusion of trade agreements in the Asia-Pacific region and Latin America, which open up considerable economic prospects. It was therefore important to create the conditions for ratification of the agreements with Mercosur and Mexico and to conclude the ongoing negotiations, in particular with Chile, Australia and New Zealand, which had made good progress. As far as Mercosur is concerned, a dialogue has been initiated on improving cooperation on the sustainable development dimension of the agreement, in particular on the implementation of the Paris Agreement and on deforestation.
Tools to help SMEs
The Commission will build on the success of the Access2Markets portal, integrate further functionalities into it and interlink it with other important information channels, especially for smaller firms:
- Establish a new Access to Procurement (A2P) IT tool to help EU companies verify whether a specific public procurement tender in a country outside the EU is covered by that country’s international commitments to the EU
- Extend the Access2Markets portal to include information for EU services exporters and investors
- Further develop the Rules of Origin Self-Assessment Tool (ROSA) to help companies, in particular European small businesses, to correctly apply rules of origin when exporting to countries outside the EU and to extend RoSA to cover more trade agreements.
- Explore more efficient digital systems for facilitating trade and proving compliance with regulations
Source: DG Trade