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Missions for Growth: EU businesses benefit from emerging markets

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The world’s fastest growing economies are not in Europe. And that’s why the European Commission is committed to opening doors for European enterprises around the globe. The Commission has sent representatives and business delegations to emerging markets in Africa, Latin America and Asia. The insights they gain will help EU SMEs capitalise on external growth – which, in turn, will spur growth here in Europe.

In an effort to help EU businesses penetrate foreign markets, the European Commission is organising missions to a number of countries with fast-growing economies. Commission Vice-President Antonio Tajani, responsible for industry and entrepreneurship, and Daniel Calleja Crespo, the Director-General of DG Enterprise and Industry as well as Europe’s Small Business Envoy, are currently visiting growth regions around the globe to help EU enterprises better profit from so-called ‘emerging markets’ in places like China, South East Asia and Latin America.

Accompanied by up to 50 representatives of European companies and industry associations, the visits are designed to help companies and SMEs internationalise their activities, and to reinforce cooperation in areas such as industrial innovation, key enabling technologies, tourism, space and access to raw materials.

Said Tajani: ‘These missions for growth help create the conditions for win-win situations. European companies benefit from easier access to external markets, while local actors and authorities have a concrete chance to lure foreign investment’.

Added Calleja: ‘There is a direct link between internationalisation and increased SME performance. International activities reinforce growth, enhance competitiveness and support the long-term sustainability of companies. Yet despite the opportunities presented by globalisation at large, European SMEs still depend largely on their domestic markets’.

Typical issues being discussed during visits include enhanced cooperation in the following areas:

Reducing administrative burden through closer cooperation

The EC is determined to improve the business environment, promote entrepreneurship and help partner countries and European SMEs grow, do business together and compete in the global economy. Such cooperation identifies the main obstacles in the regulatory and administrative environment for SMEs, and finds appropriate solutions to overcome them.

Standardisation: removing technical barriers to trade

By removing technical barriers to trade, standardisation improves economic, scientific and technical relations, and ensures the compatibility and interoperability of products. Achieving these goals requires:

  • establishing a periodic dialogue and exchange of information on each side’s initiatives in standardisation;
  • improving the continuity, efficiency and effectiveness of this dialogue, in particular by involving all relevant stakeholders;
  • exchanging good standardisation practices between EU and partner state authorities and stakeholders.

Discussions have already led to concrete results, such as the successful EU-China standards Web portal, CESIP. Moreover, options for reinforced cooperation on intellectual property rights (IPR) are also being discussed.

Supply of raw materials to downstream industries

The EU and countries with emerging economies should strive to provide a comprehensive response to questions regarding the supply of raw materials to downstream industries. They should also cooperate to ensure the sustainability and long-term competitiveness of the phosphate rock industry – a must considering the use of phosphate rock as an input material for the production of food additives, feed additives and fertilisers. This should help limit risks to human health and the environment.

Cooperation in tourism policy

Collaboration on tourism policy will help establish consultation mechanisms to promote cooperation and a common understanding of tourism issues. This could be achieved by holding regular dialogues between senior officials and by exchanging best practices on subjects of mutual interest, such as sector-specific job creation, sustainable development and reinforcement of socio-economic knowledge.

Cooperation on satellite-based augmentation services

The EU’s various space programmes – which include the satellite navigation system Galileo; the environment and security programme GMES; and the satellite-based augmentation system EGNOS – also offer options for reinforced cooperation with partner countries.

In order to explore and take advantage of these possibilities, Vice-President Tajani chaired a delegation of EU businessmen that visited Mexico and Colombia in May 2012. Later, in December 2012, Tajani went to Morocco and Tunisia, and in 2013 he will go to Peru, Chile, China, India and Russia.

In 2013, SME Envoy Daniel Calleja will further develop and deepen the agreements made by Vice-President Tajani during recent Missions for Growth, namely by revisiting Mexico and Colombia in April 2013.

Photovoltaic power generation in Chile

A concrete result of a 2012 ‘Mission for Growth’ was cooperation between a French-German company and Chile. The EU company is now deploying its highly efficient photovoltaic power stations, which are more than twice as efficient as current Asian models, in Chile’s mining sector, thereby taking advantage of Chile’s abundant sunlight. The nation’s first solar power plant, located in the El Tesoro mine in northern Chile, started delivering electricity in January 2013.


For more information on Mission Growth, please visit:

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