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"EU trade policy must focus on market opening"

Date

18 Feb 2021

Sections

Trade & Society

Brussels/Frankfurt, 18 February 2021 - Commenting on the Commission's review of EU trade policy, Ulrich Ackermann, Head of the Foreign Trade Department at VDMA, says:

"We welcome the fact that the EU-Commission in its new trade strategy continues to focus on free trade and the opening of markets through EU Free Trade Agreements. This creates reliable framework conditions for exports of the medium-sized mechanical engineering industry and enables the resilience of supply chains to be increased by diversifying sources of supply.

The proposed further development of instruments to protect the EU Internal Market from unfair competition is also overdue. We need an instrument to limit market distortions caused by subsidized companies from third countries. At the same time, we welcome the EU's intention to propose a new legal instrument to contain risks for European companies against the backdrop of increasing economic coercion by third countries. Finally, the EU's support for WTO reform across all its functions and regulatory cooperation is an important initiative. This will also increase the competitiveness of the engineering industry.

In addition to these positive elements, however, the Communication on trade policy also contains some negative elements. The idea that EU trade policy can solve all contentious issues in international politics is wrong. EU Free Trade Agreements must not be overloaded with other policy areas, such as sustainability or environmental requirements. Because otherwise we will soon run out of partner countries that are interested in a trade agreement with the EU. India is an example of that.“

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