While the European Union and Russia are already strong trading partners, differences in standards still prevent truly unfettered bilateral trade. To remedy these differences and unleash the potential of this partnership, European standardisation authorities and Russia signed a landmark agreement that will promote cooperation and enable easier, more profitable trade.
After successful rollouts in China and Southeast Asia, the European Commission will launch a helpdesk in South America’s Mercosur region. By providing free information and a variety of services, including legal assistance to help protect intellectual property rights, the Commission will help Europe’s SMEs benefit from Mercosur’s continued growth.
The EU and China together are on a ‘green growth’ mission, one that supports environmental protection and sustainable prosperity by promoting regulatory harmony. Strengthening EU-China cooperation will lead to more international business opportunities for EU companies, particularly SMEs, active in the ‘environmental’ sectors. The end result: helping the global economy and slowing global warming.
The European Commission is determined to strengthen ties between the EU and its Mediterranean neighbours, which together form the Union for the Mediterranean (UfM). As part of this effort, the Commission hosted a meeting in June to review objectives that will benefit the UfM and, importantly, improve the environment for SMEs both inside and outside the EU.
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.
China has become a key market for SMEs hoping to make a splash overseas. Even so, China poses a series of challenges, including problems with protection of intellectual property rights and a dizzying web of regulations. But the China IPR Helpdesk, the EU SME Centre and the European Enterprise Network are here to help by bringing the risks – and rewards – of the Chinese market into focus.
Helping small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) tap into markets on the other side of the Atlantic was the central topic of the fourth European Union-United States SME Workshop, held in Washington, DC, on December 3 and 4, 2012. At the workshop, two business support networks – the EC’s Enterprise Europe Network and the US International Trade Administration – signed a Memorandum of Understanding on promoting cooperation. Specific areas for cooperation include the promotion of SME events and business partnering activities, participation in sector-specific or thematic seminars and the exchange of information on SME networking opportunities.
Because toys are for children, it is important to have additional regulations to ensure safety. That’s why the Netherlands – one of the EU’s main entry points for toys – has teamed up with China – one of the EU’s main sources of toy imports –signed an action plan called, ‘Cooperation in the field of toy safety’. The resulting collaboration will promote toy safety and, by extension, promote child safety.
While all countries have the right to adopt technical regulations to achieve legitimate purposes (e.g. ensuring public health or protecting the environment and consumers) the TBT Agreement (Technical Barriers to Trade) helps prevent unfair, protectionist measures. Administered by the World Trade Organisation (WTO), the TBT Agreement alerts European businesses about potential new regulations and encourages global harmonisation and mutual recognition. European businesses can contribute to work of the European Commission on avoiding technical barriers to trade. This collaboration benefits enterprises large and small. The resulting collaboration benefits enterprises large and small.
By finding common ground and shared incentives, the European Commission and China are working together to improve industrial efficiency. Having already agreed on numerous cooperation themes, this collaboration will increase market access and decrease greenhouse gases.
The Europe-China Standards Information Platform, or CESIP, provides valuable, bi-lingual information to Chinese and European businesses on everything from technical regulations to market access requirements. Launched last October, CESIP has details on thousands of standards and offers a progressive way to enhance collaboration and spur economic growth.
Despite the rise of developing industrial powers, the European Union remains the world’s biggest exporter, as well as the No. 1 target for foreign direct investment. The European Commission’s annual ‘European Competitiveness Report’ details how the EU has stayed on top and what the Commission is doing to make sure it stays there.
If you are considering entering these markets or expanding your activities there, the European Commission offers two valuable programmes to help you to do so. Previous participants explain how their companies benefited from the Executive Training Programme (ETP) and the EU Gateway Programme.
Stakeholders from EU countries and those countries on the southern rim of the Mediterranean met in Milan to discuss ways the neighbours can partner to help businesses become more competitive through closer cooperation.
The EU will support the Southern Mediterranean people’s democratic aspirations by creating a Euro-Med area of shared prosperity with a special focus on entrepreneurship and small business. To this end, industry ministers have agreed upon a series of practical actions during the latest Euro-Med meeting held in Malta.
In order to seize the opportunities opened up by internationalisation, enterprises need to take care of several aspects, not least the protection of their intellectual property rights. A new EU-US portal provides a wealth of useful information in this domain.