Europe looks to global trade to spur new growth
BRUSSELS THE European Union looks on Friday to spur growth via revamped trade with the Americas and the Far East, with a warning that it has to act now in view of the rise of emerging economies.
But a row with Russia over its threat to block pig imports from ex-Soviet Latvia seemed likely to feature in talks at a ministerial meeting in Brussels.
The European Union wants to stimulate trans- Atlantic trade ahead of a G8 summit in Chicago in May, and Friday’s talks among foreign and trade ministers are fundamentally about how to achieve this.
“This is not just political talk,” Pia Olsen Dyhr, Danish Minister for Trade and Investment, told AFP before chairing the meeting.
A former World Trade Organisation (WTO) specialist, she said that a changing environment which could be dominated by China meant that the EU had to act now, not least because “by 2050, I don’t see any of the big G7 economies as stands keeping their place in the future.” Estimates by employers’ federation Business Europe, to be presented to G8 business leaders at a so-called “shadow” summit next week and shown to AFP, suggest that between 200,000 and 520,000 new jobs could be created in the EU if a new baseline were agreed with the United States.
Between 110,000 and 400,000 more jobs could be created in America, if certain trade barriers can be eliminated, they say.
The employers estimate that a cut of 10 percent in non-tariff barriers could boost growth by 24.4 billion euros ($31.6 billion) in the EU, and 8.2 billion euros ($10.6 billion) in the United States.
As the EU slips into a longexpected “double-dip” recession following two years of austerity owing to the eurozone debt crisis, it is looking to a further opening up of trade as a route to new growth.
Work is being done on several Free Trade Agreements (FTA) intended to boost business sectors which have shown they can benefit from such arrangements but negotiations with countries such as India can take years.
The ministers are close to signing final contracts with Colombia and Peru, although not on this occasion since difficulties over equities trading are being ironed out before a visit by members of the Colombian government to Brussels next week, sources said.
There are also problems over access to banking markets and financial services in a negotiations for an agreement with Singapore which will be discussed by a wider meeting of European and Asian counterparts in Cambodia at the end of March.