EU Trade Commissioner Peter Mandelson said: "EU business relies on growing markets abroad to fuel economic growth and jobs at home. We need to ensure that European companies are able to compete fairly in those markets. This renewed strategy focuses on coordinating and strengthening the work of the Commission, Member States and business where it really matters - on the ground in our key markets".
Secretary General of Businesseurope Philippe de Buck, who joined Commissioner Mandelson for the launch of the new Market Access strategy, said: "For Businesseurope the review of the EU Market Access Strategy is crucial. Because the new strategy must give European companies better market access, especially in high-growth emerging countries. Businesseurope is fully prepared to work with the Commission to improve international trade conditions".
This new market access strategy comes at an important time; when large new trade partners are emerging and the nature of trade barriers altering. Modern trade barriers are more likely to be non-tariff and behind-the-border regulatory issues - harder to identify and often complex to address. A more concerted effort is needed in order for EU businesses - large and small - to compete effectively in global markets.
The newly-proposed Market Access Partnership will aim to benefit the interests of both larger and smaller EU businesses and Member States. Key elements of the new strategy include:
* Closer and more action-oriented cooperation between the European Commission, Member States and business, including the establishment of EU Market Access Teams on the ground in countries outside the EU, both to identify trade barriers before they appear and tackle existing obstacles to trade.
* Better prioritisation of resources, focusing on certain target markets, key sectors or issues such as intellectual property rights.
* Better use of opportunities presented by negotiations - in particular in the Doha Round and the new generation of EU Free Trade Agreements - to make progress on non-tariff barriers.
* Tougher focus on the enforcement of global and bilateral trade rules - through institutional dispute settlement and Europe's trade barrier instruments.
* A more efficient and transparent service to business, including more systematic registration and follow-up of cases and an improved Market Access Database.
The EU's original 1996 Market Access Strategy aimed at enforcing multilateral and bilateral trade deals and at opening third country markets. This strategy had two pillars: providing information on market access conditions to EU business with the involvement of all relevant EU stakeholders; and creating a method on how to tackle barriers.
In 2006, a decade later, the Commission's Global Europe: Competing in the World Communication called for the EU's strategy on market access to be renewed as part of its overall policy review.
To the special Market Access Partnership webpage