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:

A framework for free flow of non-personal data in the European Union

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Nordic labour market models and the Social Pillar – complementary or colliding?

SOCIAL PILLAR The Nordic employer organizations organised a seminar in Brussels where invited representatives from the EU institutions, industry and trade union discussed their views on the Social Pillar taking into account the Nordic labour market models.
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Connected consumers: risk or opportunity?

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Business and politics hand in hand to solve environmental challenges

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The recipe for a competitive EU

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Trump cannot kill climate hope

As the USA now plans to exit the Paris Climate agreement, the EU and Sweden can have the greatest impact by demonstrating that combining competitiveness and high levels of prosperity with continuing to reduce climate emissions is possible. The entrepreneurial sector will drive climate issues forward, more than policy makers. Technical innovation is advancing quickly in many fields, reducing costs for new technology. Even US President Donald Trump cannot change these facts despite his misguided passion for coal, writes Maria Sunér Fleming, Head of Energy and Climate Policy at the Confederation of Swedish Enterprise.
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Do we need a more social Europe?

Is a “Social Europe” the right medicine to stop growing populism? Can new social rights and social legislation foster growth and jobs? Is the fight against social dumping in fact a pretext for protecting domestic workers? What is the role of the EU and the Member States?
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Trust in the European Union at a crossroads – Europaperspektiv 2017

Swedish universities have since 1998 cooperated in national networks within political science, economics and law. The purpose is to enhance the interest and knowledge in the European Union. Each year a book is published to disseminate knowledge to a broader audience. The book is divided into three main areas, political science, economics and law and each year grasps a specific topic. The topic of the year is trust, which incorporates trust both between member states but also between citizens and institutions.
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How the Nordics achieved an integrated electricity market – Lessons for Europe?

Last November, the European Commission presented its package "Clean Energy for All in Europe". Among the proposals currently being discussed in the Council of Ministers and in the European Parliament are the draft legislation on the electricity market design, security of supply and governance of the energy union.
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Close the ecocycle – recycling is better than burning

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

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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.