The EU is currently shaping a new trade policy for the years to come (Trade Secrets, FT.com, September 3).
On top of the existing challenges of escalating trade conflicts and now the ongoing pandemic are the recurrent debates on deglobalisation and bringing home production, or reshoring.
The upcoming EU trade policy will have to show the way. Europe must not only resist the renewed pressure for protectionism arising from the pandemic but needs, more than ever, to show the way forward for global trade.
Global trade will take a severe hit from the Covid-19 crises with historic falls in activity. Our economies, businesses and jobs will suffer. If we choose the right way forward, we can avoid long-term negative effects.
Europe needs an assertive trade policy, combining traditional market access with an ambitious sustainability agenda and a robust approach to all those questions that are generally bundled up in “level playing field”.
And lastly, let’s not forget. It is businesses that trade, not countries.
It is also businesses that suffer from tit-for-tat protectionism and trade conflicts. The realities facing companies — SMEs and multinationals — must be the starting point for trade policy. Trade policy needs to be in line with the realities of those that do trade.
These are the reasons behind the agenda for open and sustainable trade that the Confederation of Swedish Enterprise is putting on the table today.
Deputy DG and Head of International and EU Affairs,
Confederation of Swedish Enterprise, Stockholm, Sweden