An overhaul of EU trade law is needed as parts of the EU trade legislation are outdated and not adapted to the profound and accelerated transformation of world commerce, according to comprehensive document released by the Foreign Trade Association (FTA), a body representing over 1,400 European retailers, importers and brand manufacturers.
The document entitled ‘Road Map for EU Trade Policy: 2014 - 2019’ has been released on the occasion of the first meeting of the newly elected European Parliament Committee on International Trade (INTA).
Stating that “legislation should facilitate trade, not hamper it”, the document suggests that serious change needs to be introduced to the current EU anti-dumping system which manifestly lacks transparency and predictability.
The FTA calls on EU policymakers to implement a strong trade agenda facilitating international commerce and promoting open markets. “The EU is at a critical juncture and only a liberal trade framework based on clear goals, ambitious negotiations and modern legislation will preserve its competitiveness, bringing it back to a solid growth path,” states the document.
In addition to overhauling of EU trade law, FTA identifies three objectives that the EU should prioritize in the new political term to develop the full potential of EU trade.
Firstly, EU trade policy should serve to strengthen commercial relations with the world and avoid protectionist measures. As stated by FTA Director General Jan Eggert: “Protectionism at EU borders will automatically trigger defensive measures and close export and investment markets. This would increase business costs and harm the competitiveness of European companies”.
Secondly, the retail sector emphasizes the need to develop a policy of actively concluding ambitious trade agreements to facilitate economic exchange. In this respect, a feasibility assessment for an EU-China FTA should remain high on the agenda.
Finally, European retailers strongly acknowledge the importance of promoting sustainable trade, as demonstrated by the successful CSR initiative Business Social Compliance Initiative (BSCI). Imposing binding rules on CSR will only increase administrative burden and costs. The legitimate objective of promoting European core values should not conflict with the primary task of trade policy, which is about facilitating the exchange of goods and services across borders.
“EU is at a crossroads and it is our responsibility to safeguard what has made Europe strong: a community of open borders and free trade with the world,” concludes Mr. Eggert. (RKS)