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Trade | Brussels, Tuesday 05 February 2013

Letter of President Barroso to the European Council on the contribution of trade to growth and jobs

The President of the European Commission, José Manuel Barroso has written to his colleagues in the European Council ahead of their meeting later this week (7-8 February) to underline the contribution that trade can make to boost growth and jobs in the European Union.

Attached to the President's letter is a detailed paper that summarises the rationale behind the EU's trade policy, the changing nature of the trade agenda and sets out the main policy orientations the European Union should consider for the future.

President Barroso states: "Trade is an essential lever in our strategy to boost growth and jobs in the EU… In the future, 90% of world-wide growth is expected to be generated outside Europe. Grasping the opportunities offered by these external sources of growth will be critical for the future dynamism and sustainability of our economy… We are also well-placed to tap into the vast potential for future global growth... What is at stake is not just the capacity to maintain or expand market shares but also the ability of the EU to compete; to attract global investment and join global value chains; and to help our citizens and businesses to take up opportunities across the world."

He goes on to add that: "While preserving and reinforcing the centrality of the multilateral trading system is in our long-term strategic interest, in the current environment we must also be more proactive in our bilateral relationships."

"Working together closely, we have already concluded and implemented landmark agreements such as the EU - Korea Free Trade Agreement. We have also concluded negotiations with Singapore, expect to conclude soon with Canada and we hope to do likewise with India. We will shortly start negotiations with Japan and look forward to a positive outcome of the High Level Working Group on Jobs and Growth for a possible comprehensive Free Trade Agreement with the United States. The importance of these strategic partners cannot be overstated."

"While the EU overall is doing well in terms of global trade, the situation inside the EU differs from one Member State to another and between sectors and regions. We need to address these issues in our economic and structural policies, namely in the framework of the on-going reforms for competitiveness. And our commitment to open markets will continue to be upheld by our capacity to act against anti-competitive trade practices, through the appropriate instruments."