Press Room

September 29, 2017

Opinion: Brexit revitalises EU trade policy

Source: Rafael Ripoll Navarro - Andersen Tax & Legal in Spain, a member firm of Andersen Global

The extent of this loss will depend on the final agreement, which must first be ratified by European negotiators and institutions before it is then ratified by the other Member States. The new status of the United Kingdom as a mere trading partner of the European Union will quantify the trade ratio between the two parties. Specifically, and in view of the departure of one of the main export markets of several Member States and, in short, the strengthening of the single market, European trade policy should assume special significance. It is a vital instrument, not only to neutralise the regressive effects of the departure of our British partners but also in view of an opportunity in globalised trade to increase opportunities for wealth and employment creation within the Union. There are more than 30 million jobs in the export sector across Europe.

At present, more than 90 per cent of economic growth is being generated outside Europe. There are plans for trade agreements with some of these areas, agreements which, if all were to come to fruition, would increase European GDP by more than 2 per cent.

Thus, in our opinion this is not the right time to call the policy of major trade agreements into question, but rather to develop it in accordance with the legal parameters and values assumed by the treaties of the EU. In this regard, reciprocal treatment and the protection of aspects such as consumer protection and sustainable development appear to be key to the future of these agreements, many of which have already produced satisfactory results for the signatories.

This is what has happened with the agreement signed with South Korea in 2011. Since this agreement was signed, exports of the European Union have risen by around 55 per cent and, in the case of some agricultural products, by up to 70 per cent. There has been a notable increase in sales by the automotive sector, helping turn the trade deficit into a trade surplus.

From a European perspective, the EU should ensure treatment that is similar to that given to exports, not only in the form of a reduction in tariffs but also in any other barriers.

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