23 June 2015

  |  CBI Brussels


Trade Policy Day

Sean McGuire, Director of CBI Brussels is speaking at the European Commission’s ‘Trade Policy Day’ looking at trade policy for the 21st century economy, and exploring the interaction between trade policy and global value chains. 

Trade Policy Day

Global value chains reflect a key feature of the modern economy. The CBI believes there are four key points that should be central to the EU’s trade strategy going forward:

First, we need to intensify efforts to speedily deliver, implement and enforce EU Free Trade Agreements. 

We strongly support the FTAs that have recently been agreed with South Korea, Central America, Peru & Colombia, Singapore and Canada. 

High importance must be given to increasing the pace of other key negotiations currently underway, most notably with the United States, Japan and India. 

Generally, the length of time between political agreement and entry into force is far too long, most aptly shown at the moment by the delays with the Singapore and Canada agreements. 

Delays mean exporters are still having to pay tariffs which should have been scrapped months ago, so we need to look at ways to speed up the process.

Second, we need to devote more attention to addressing trade issues faced by SMEs. 

Only 1 in 5 British SMEs currently exports, which is not good enough, but there are ways where the EU’s trade agenda can really help SMEs. For example: 

a)    facilitating the cross-border mobility of professionals, essential for both goods and services companies;

b)    simplifying compliance with rules of origin requirements in order to reduce administrative burdens;

c)    making it easier for SMEs to access targeted online information about regulatory requirements.

Third, we should look at ramping up the EU’s Market Access Strategy. 

The global economy has evolved significantly since the strategy was created in 2007 and the emergence of newer, hidden forms of protectionism through the introduction of discriminatory regulations can be seen.  

The EU’s market access strategy has therefore become even more critical and must be geared up accordingly to tackle a broader range of issues. 

Fourth, we need to think about the WTO. 

Whilst turbo-charging free trade agreements, the EU must in parallel remain a leading advocate of the multilateral trade agenda, which is crucial in a GVC-driven global economy. 

The WTO is an important guard against protectionism, and swift ratification of the Bali Trade Facilitation Agreement by all WTO members, will speed up customs procedures globally. 

According to the latest OECD research, implementation of this agreement would reduce global trade costs by between 12.5 and 17.5%, which is huge. 

The Doha Round more broadly appears to be blocked and we must continue to demand an urgent conclusion.

For further information: contact tom.sallis@cbi.org.uk