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Automotive industry

The EU is the world's largest producer of motor vehicles. The automotive industry is therefore central to Europe's prosperity. It is a huge employer of skilled workforce and a key driver of knowledge and innovation. It represents Europe's largest private investor in research and development (R&D). It also makes a major contribution to EU's Gross Domestic Product (GDP), and exports far more than it imports.

The main objectives of the European Commission regarding the automotive sector are:

1) To strengthen the competitiveness of the automotive industry

The aim is to identify and assess policy issues of significant importance to the competitiveness of the EU automotive industry and to suggest solutions that take into consideration economic, social and environmental objectives.

2) To complete, adapt and simplify the Internal Market regulatory framework

The work on improving the Internal Market is built upon the introduction of the EC Whole Vehicle Type-Approval System which allows manufacturers to have a vehicle "type" approved in one Member State and then be able to market the vehicle in all other Member States without further tests.

3) To promote globalisation of the technical regulatory framework through UNECE

Global technical harmonisation is a key factor in strengthening the competitiveness of the European automotive industry world-wide. The EU is a Contracting Party to two agreements of the United Nations Economic Commission for Europe (UNECE): the 1958 Agreement on Uniform Technical Prescriptions for Vehicles, and the Global Agreement of 1998.

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