EU Trade Commissioner Peter Mandelson has today argued that Europe must strengthen its commitment to open markets and open trade at home and abroad as part of its wider economic and social reform strategy. Speaking at the 5th Market Access Symposium in the European Parliament in Brussels, Commissioner Mandelson argued that an openness to international competition is an essential part of any convincing vision of Europe’s future and the effective reform of its Social Models. Commissioner Mandelson argued: “The European economy stands or falls on our ability to keep markets open, to open new markets, and to develop new areas where Europe’s inventors, investors and entrepreneurs can trade.”
– Commissioner Mandelson reasserted the case for renewed competitiveness, free trade and market opening as the only means for Europe to benefit from globalisation. He argued that the EU must match an aggressive export strategy with a clear acceptance of the value of greater openness to imports, and a strong commitment to lowering the EU’s tariff and non-tariff barriers – through a successful Doha Round and afterwards.
– Commissioner Mandelson rejected the claim that higher growth based on such policies will increase inequalities and erode Europe’s social values. He argued that liberal economic policies must go hand in hand with modern social policies that attack the insecurity and inequalities associated with globalisation, giving support to those affected by necessary industrial restructuring, demands for new skills and changing flows of trade.
– Commissioner Mandelson argued that Europe is the most open major economy in the world, but he argued that further openness can both lower the costs of agricultural and industrial inputs for European producers and increase the competitiveness of Europe’s companies.
– Commissioner Mandelson argued that while Europe rightly uses its trade policies to press for core labour standards and environmental responsibility around the world, has no right to block developing countries exploiting their legitimate comparative advantages. He argues that Europe cannot try “to shape the global pattern of production to suit its own interests…the world does not owe us a living”.
– Commissioner Mandelson identified priorities for improving the trading conditions of European businesses abroad: working better with partners to secure the defence of intellectual property rights; stronger pressure on foreign barriers to European investment alongside market access for goods and services; a better balance in access to public procurement markets from countries that benefit from access to Europe’s public procurement markets; and more effective identification with industry of sectors where trade barriers limit opportunities for European exporters.
The full text of Commissioner Mandelson’s speech is available on RAPID: SPEECH/05/521