Economic growth is increasingly concentrated in markets outside the EU: By 2030, an estimated 60 % of world growth will take place in emerging economies. Led by European Commission Vice-President Antonio Tajani, representatives and business delegations from Europe are visiting growth markets throughout the world to increase the chances of success for EU companies.
In an effort to tap into emerging markets, European Commission Vice-President Antonio Tajani launched ‘Missions for Growth’, a series of overseas visits designed to help EU enterprises do business abroad. These emerging markets introduce a host of opportunities – and challenges – that European industry must embrace in the 21st century.
Today, only 13 % of EU small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) are doing business beyond the borders of the European Union, and Missions for Growth are designed to change that. These missions enable SMEs to take part in political meetings with local authorities, as well as organise business-to-business exchanges to gain insights into foreign administrative and regulatory environments.
‘For many smaller companies lacking the credentials and recognition of well-established European brands, participation in these missions lends them more credibility and reliability in the eyes of potential business partners in third countries,’ Vice-President Tajani said. ‘The insights EU businesses gain from our Missions for Growth help them capitalise on external growth – which, in turn, will spur growth here in Europe.’
Generally, a few months after Tajani touches down, DG Enterprise Director General and EU SME Envoy Daniel Calleja visits the same countries, also accompanied by EU entrepreneurs. These follow-up visits demonstrate the Commission’s willingness to translate political agreements into concrete actions.
More than 800 participants representing nearly 600 companies and business associations from 26 Member States have embarked on Missions for Growth. A typical mission usually has a delegation of 60 to 120 companies, including both small and large enterprises. All manufacturing sectors are represented in these missions: construction, transport and real estate; oil, gas and renewables; medical devices and pharmaceuticals; key enabling technologies; and tourism.
During these missions, Vice-President Tajani has signed more than 70 Letters of Intent and Joint Declarations to work on common objectives, particularly in the areas of SME policy, tourism, regulatory issues and standards. Implementation measures are already taking shape, including the nomination of SME Envoys in countries such as Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Peru and Uruguay, as well as the transposition of European industrial standards as national standards in Morocco, Tunisia, Egypt and more.
Many companies have reported clear business results from these missions. At the Mission for Growth in China, for example, five Danish companies signed a deal to conduct a long-term project with their Chinese counterparts. The project, which centres on the biomass and bioenergy sectors, generated €1.2 million in less than six months. Meanwhile, in Tunisia, long-term partnership agreements worth more than €480 million were signed in the aeronautics sector.
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