It is estimated that in 2015, 90% of world growth will be generated outside the EU. Despite being the largest economy in the world, the EU as a whole has the fewest trade agreements in place. Bringing down both trade and non-trade barriers abroad helps our companies – small, medium and the big ones – grow, thus creating new jobs in our Member States. This means that trade is actually the cheapest stimulus package for the EU’s economy. It contributes to increased external competitiveness and could add immediately to more than 1.5% of direct economic growth as well as bring significant consumer benefits. It is also estimated that 14% of the employees and workers, or 31 million jobs, are dependent on the Union’s trade performance.
We are proud to have laid the groundwork for the timely and successful implementation of the European Commission’s Trade Strategy. As the largest economy in the world, Europe has the weight to shape an open global trading system based on fair rules. We want improved access to markets while remaining vigilant about safeguarding our high standards. The future EU-US Free Trade Agreement is key to fixing world standards. We also support the quick ratification of the balanced trade agreement with Canada.
We are witnessing the major positive results of the EU-South Korea Free Trade Agreement, the first of its kind, but this is not enough. In order to make a genuine trade policy become reality, the pace of the ongoing negotiations with other countries has to speed up. The EPP Group strongly supports negotiations with major EU partners – the United States, Japan, China and Mercosur countries – and asks for the rapid launch of negotiations with Mexico and Chile, and further impetus in negotiating Free Trade Agreements with Australia and New Zealand.