A strong Europe and free trade are essential for the competitiveness of companies in Europe - especially in these tense geopolitical times with increasing protectionism. The export markets must be kept open and existing trade barriers in markets removed so that mechanical and plant engineering, with its average export quota of around 80 percent, can continue to operate successfully in the world. According to the VDMA, this is the only way to achieve sustainable growth in the EU, as well as to create or at least keep jobs and diversify supply chains.
Stronger focus on free trade by the EU Commission
"It is gratifying that the EU has recognized the strategic importance of free trade in the past few months," explains VDMA Managing Director Thilo Brodtmann.
For example, the EU signed the free trade agreement with New Zealand in July. Also in July, the EU and the Philippines announced their intention to explore resuming negotiations for a free trade agreement. But that's not enough.
“European industry not only needs agreements to be concluded, but also free trade agreements to come into force quickly. The EU Commission should finally implement the agreements with Mexico and Mercosur," said Brodtmann.
Trade negotiations with Mercosur ended in June 2019, but four years later it is still not clear when the agreement will come into force.
"Politicians must keep their promises here and finally find a compromise for the environmental standards demanded by the EU side," says Brodtmann.