A glimmer brightens autumn

NEWS Published

COMMENTARY The EU and Canada have entered an important free trade agreement. This covers customs duties as expected, but also includes significant opening in market access in many respects. The agreement can be seen as a template for what can be achieved in the ongoing negotiations between the EU and the USA. This opens the possibility for a huge transatlantic free trade area.

The agreement between the EU and Canada is highly significant. For the EU, it is firstly useful as comparison in relation to ongoing negotiations for a similar agreement with the USA. And for Canada, the agreement has sizable economic value.

But the economic benefits for the EU are not small either – the agreement contains many more benefits than simply eliminating customs tariffs of all kinds. However, these are not insignificant, as EU based companies will save a total of nearly € 5000 million annually in these duties alone for exports to Canada.

This cost reduction is all the more significant considering the competitive situation for such fully developed markets as the EU and Canada, even though this represents only a few percent of the total value of goods traded. The agreement involves completely eliminating or significantly reducing all tariffs for both manufactured goods, and, importantly, for agricultural and fishery products. Costs for type testing will decrease through a mutual recognition of certain standards – especially for auto vehicles – and trade in services has been significantly opened, especially in relation to financial services, telecoms, energy, and maritime transport.

But the new agreement doesn’t stop there, it also includes: a process for successive mutual recognition of professional qualifications, obstacles related to investing will be removed, and the Canadian market for public procurement will be opened to EU companies. The agreement also strengthens the standing of EU IPR protections in Canada, including protection for geographic indications (GI) such as Parma ham and Swedish Västerbotten cheese.

Estimates for the agreement are that trade between the EU and Canada will increase as much as 23% or approximately € 26 billion, with a positive impact on EU GNP of approximately € 11 to 12 billion annually. But now, the primary consideration is the legal ‘cleaning’ of the agreement texts and approval by the parliaments in Canada and the EU, and then all 28 EU member states. This gives rise to serious concern that no narrow national special interest gets in the way of all these benefits in the end!

News

NEWS Published:

Close the ecocycle – recycling is better than burning

INNOVATION Anders Olsson is CEO for recovery business, Cassandra Oil, in Västerås, Sweden. He thinks that misdirected regulatory frameworks skew the way society manages plastic waste.
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Free data flows in focus for the entrepreneurial sector

Global free trade, technical development and free data flows are entirely essential to export dependent Sweden. We are in the midst of a transformation to a thoroughly digitalised society where the possibilities for innovation are great and integrity needs equally great. Companies cannot conduct their business across national borders without moving data, as well – whether small or large, and in every industry. How can Sweden and Europe establish data-driven policy where all interests – personal, business, and societal needs – are preserved in the long term?
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Plenty of red tape waiting to be cut

BETTER REGULATION Cutting red tape has long been a dream of Swedish companies. But the current coalition government (Social Democrats and the Green Party) has put little effort into this issue. Strong measures are needed now, argues a second report from the project A Challenged Sweden.
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Red tape clogs the Single Market

RED TAPE Design and Lighting business, Watt & Veke, struggles with the administrative burden of selling to the EU Single Market. Right now, they’re having trouble with administering producer responsibility obligations and recycling electrical products. “Things are not as open as we would like,” says CEO Johan Pehrson.
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Business community has an important role in the future EU

EU The Confederation of Swedish Enterprise and BusinessEurope remain active in working to impact the EU’s agenda for the future. “The way forward will build on its original ideas of openness, trade, and economic integration,” commented Jens Hedström in celebrating the Union’s 60th birthday.
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Reaction to the UK’s decision to leave the EU

COMMENT “We regret that the UK Government has decided to take this step” says Director-General of the Confederation of Swedish Enterprise, Carola Lemne, “This is the beginning of a process entailing great risks for our companies and bringing few positive aspects with it”.
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The VAT base and VAT rates - A contribution to the EU VAT Action Plan

TAXATION On the 7 of April 2016 the European Commission adopted the Action Plan on VAT - Towards a single EU VAT area. As a part of the action plan the Commission will present a proposal on VAT rates, with the aim of giving member states more freedom in this area. From a Swedish perspective this is the perfect time to further analyse and discuss how we want the VAT rules to be designed in the future.
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Positive announcement on changed trading rules for emission allowances

EU The European Parliament voted on changes to the EU Emission Trading System for 2021 to 2030. The proposal includes an increase of emission allowances allocated free to industry, representing a victory for this globally competitive industry.
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Is the EU single market SME-friendly?

COMMENT The European single market is supposed to be free from obstacles. People and goods, services and capital are to be treated equally - independent of which EU or ESS country they originate from. The single market is also a major reason why Swedish companies are generally very positive towards the EU.
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Government Welfare Inquiry proposal leads to total ban on profit

WELFARE SERVICES – WELFARE SERVICES – The Government Welfare Inquiry led by Ilmar Reepalu presenting a proposal for regulating profits was premised on enabling continued private sector provision of welfare services. The Confederation of Swedish Enterprise begs to disagree, based on a special study we assigned auditors PWC, and as argued by Caroline af Ugglas and Anders Morin.
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Proposal on Pillar of Social Rights threatens the Swedish model

PILLAR OF SOCIAL RIGHTS The EU is pushing strongly to address social problems. However, the Commission’s recent proposal restricts Member States’ right to decide, and so threatens the Swedish model.
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Free Flow of Data crucial for the Data Economy

COMMENTS Do not burden the digital development in the EU with a complicated framework that is too complex for companies to understand, let alone comply with. The digitisation of society and business will bring us great opportunities if the policies governing the data economy can develop strategically with an eye to the future.
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Creating a competitive EU post-Brexit

BREXIT The British government is expected to trigger Article 50 in a few months and the ultimate effect on both Britain and the European Union are still largely unknown. Since the British referendum on the exit of the EU, intense discussions on the future UK-EU relationship have unfolded. What is missing from the debate is an emphasis on how to make sure EU competitiveness is strengthened in this period of political uncertainty.
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The EU Commission publishes its “Services Package”

FREE MOVEMENT On 11 January 2017, the EU Commission a package containing four initiatives aimed at improving the free movement of services in the single market. The Commission’s ambition is to create “A European services economy that works for Europeans”. The services package was first announced in the Commission’s Single Market Strategy “Upgrading the Single Market: more opportunities for people and business” adopted on 28 October 2015. The response of the Confederation of Swedish Enterprise to the Single Market Strategy is available here
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Free movement in the internal market

EU For companies engaged in cross-border trade within the EU, it is particularly important that the obstacles to free movement in the internal market are removed.Särskilt angeläget är ett effektivt samarbete mellan EU:s institutioner och medlemsstaterna för att förfärdiga den inre marknaden. It is especially important that there is an effective cooperation between the EU institutions and Member States to complete the internal market.Större politisk tyngd måste ges till den gemensamma inre marknaden som är nyckeln till framgång i EU-samarbetet och avgörande för EU:s ekonomiska tillväxt. Greater political weight must be given to the common internal market, which is key to the success of EU cooperation and crucial for EU economic growth.
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Low growth expected for Swedish economy

ECONOMY The economy continues to show slow growth, in Sweden and around the world – as shown in the latest forecast from the Confederation of Swedish Enterprise. “Most concerning is the labour market. Bifurcation in the labour market is widening over time and will continue to do so without structural reforms,” says Bettina Kashefi, Chief Economist at the Confederation of Swedish Enterprise.
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Cutting red tape essential for a functioning Single Digital Market

OPINION Digitalisation enables faster growth and jobs creation. But the EU could miss this opportunity if the EU Commission Digital Single Market Strategy turns into a long list of demands on businesses, writes Carolina Brånby, Legal and Policy Advisor for Digitalisation at the Confederation of Swedish Enterprise.
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Uncertain environmental policy

OPINION The All Party Committee on Environmental Objectives has submitted its final report to the Swedish government. Though this is a broad agreement with clear formulations, it is unfortunately based on wishful thinking and hopes rather than facts and proper documentation, writes Maria Sunér Fleming, Head of Energy and Climate Policy at the Confederation of Swedish Enterprise, who also participated as specialist on the committee.
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Minister for Digital Development Peter Eriksson visits Brussels

Sweden should drive the development of a real Digital Single Market. The Swedish Minister for Digital Development Peter Eriksson came to Brussels, to meet with Andrus Ansip, Vice President for the Digital Single Market in the European Commission. He also attended a lunch seminar with the Confederation of Swedish Enterprise along with Swedish businesses represented in Brussels.
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Sustainable use of bioenergy

The European Commission recently presented a proposal containing sustainability criteria on bioenergy. Issues like the definition of sustainable bioenergy and its impact on the future use of biomass and forest management were discussed at a seminar in co-organised by Swedish Enterprise, the Federation of Swedish Farmers and the Swedish Forestry Industries Federation on December 7.