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Europeâs Increasing Bilateral Relations

Published: 20 May 2015 01:05:39 PST

Taken as a single geographic entity, Europe has the largest economy - generating nearly a fifth of global output, the highest average per capita incomes and a major exporting powerhouse. Its latest economic outlook paints a disheartening picture with stagnant growth, rising unemployment and public dissatisfaction threatening to undermine the cohesion of the European Union itself. The 17-nation bloc’s economy sank further into recession in the last three months of 2012 and will shrink 0.3% in 2013, remaining in its second recession since 2009, for a year longer than originally foreseen.

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Trade has never been more important for the European Union’s economy! It’s a way to achieve growth without depleting public finances as open economies tend to grow faster than closed ones. To boost the EU’s capacity to benefit from trade, the European Commission has developed an ambitious bilateral trade agenda that fosters innovation and efficiency. Liberalizing E.U.’s world trade will foster sustainable economic, social and environmental development, creating jobs and union growth in the process.

Traditionally barriers to trade were addressed mainly through reductions in tariffs, however to create open markets in the 21st century goes beyond tariff reduction to the barriers that lie behind borders. Technical and regulatory obstacles are just as important; non-tariff barriers have sensitive cultural and social issues create additional obstacles to fair trade. Over the next two years, 90% of world demand will be generated outside the E.U.; therefore it is a key priority to open up more market opportunities for European businesses by negotiating new Free Trade Agreements with key countries. This is why the European Commission proposed an ambitious new generation of deeper, bilateral free trade agreements with key partners:

    • ASEAN
    • Canada
    • Gulf CO-operation Council (i.e. Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates)
    • India
    • Malaysia
    • Morocco
    • Japan
    • Peru
    • Singapore
    • Ukraine
    • United States

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