BusinessEurope Director General Markus J. Beyrer met with European Commissioner for Trade Cecilia Malmström on 14 June in Brussels. In these challenging times for global and European trade policy, BusinessEurope offered its support to the European Commission and urged for an ambitious trade policy agenda at all levels – multilateral and bilateral. The meeting focused on trade relations between the EU, the U.S. and China, as well as the importance of the World Trade Organisation (WTO). BusinessEurope passed a clear message against escalation with the U.S., while the EU rebalancing measures – a response to the adoption of additional tariffs by the U.S. on steel and aluminium – are expected to come into effect next week, but not before 20 June. BusinessEurope also highlighted that the EU should engage with China as a way to address grievances. Read more
Today BusinessEurope published a detailed explanation on the various customs implications of Brexit and the solutions that business requires to mitigate the impact on their operations. The analysis addresses a multitude of customs issues related to import and export procedures, processing, transit and regulatory matters. Director General Markus J. Beyrer commented: “Brexit could result in a myriad of costly customs procedures, non-tariff barriers and regulatory issues, dependent on the type of the future EU-UK relationship. In our analysis we show that every degree of divergence from EU membership creates additional economic barriers. We highlight numerous customs-related concerns and offer our views on how these are best addressed. We now call on negotiators on both sides to take them into account and deliver the outcomes that businesses urgently need.” Read more
Two months after business leaders of the seven most advanced economies – Canada, the European Union, France, Germany, Italy, Japan and the United States – met in Quebec, Canada, it is now the turn of the political leaders of the G7 to gather on 8-9 June in Charlevoix, Canada, for the 44th G7 Summit. BusinessEurope President Emma Marcegaglia commented: “This meeting comes in difficult times when some are questioning the world trading system. We urge G7 leaders to reject unilateral actions and remain committed to rules-based trade. Multilateral rules and institutions are key in ensuring a stable and predictable environment for companies.” Regarding the possible outcome of the G7 gathering, she added: “Many question existing rules and institutions claiming they are not fit to address overcapacity or certain market distortions. European business wants a level playing field, but this can only be achieved by improving the world trading system not by ditching it. We need common responses to global challenges including on trade...”
Regrettably starting on 1 June, the EU will no longer be exempted from US additional duties and our steel and aluminium exports will be subject to additional tariffs of 25% and 10%, respectively. Commenting on the US decision, Markus J. Beyrer, Director General of BusinessEurope, said: “This is bad news for European business, the transatlantic relationship and world trade. The European Union and its Member States did their outmost to show the EU is not part of the problem of overcapacity, while presenting a constructive and mutually beneficial negotiation agenda that included working together to reform and update multilateral trading rules. Europe and the US are facing the same problems and should join their forces to address them as like-minded partners, instead of imposing unjustified tariffs on each other.” When asked about next steps, Beyrer added: “In view of the US decision the EU should have a proportionate reaction to effectively defend its rights in a WTO conform way. Global trade is currently under high pressure and companies are suffering the most from uncertainty and market volatility. The EU needs to remain a strong leader against protectionism and unilateralism in support of rules-based trade.”
Speaking at the Closing Plenary of the European Business Summit after the keynote speech of UK Chancellor of the Exchequer Philip Hammond, on 24 May in Brussels, BusinessEurope Director General Markus J. Beyrer recalled that BusinessEurope and its member federations were instrumental in facilitating a political agreement on a status quo-like transition period to avoid a cliff-edge Brexit. "We are ready to continue playing a constructive role in the next phase of the negotiations. Time is running out and we need a full agreement on the proposed legal text covering the withdrawal and the transition issues. We also need more clarity on the future relationship", he said. Tata Consultancy CEO N. Ganapathy Subramaniam, and Huawei Deputy Chairman Ken Hu also participated in the panel discussion that followed.
“The current trade and investment climate in Europe is positive. However, there are many international uncertainties. The challenge now is to find answers to alleviate those risks”, said BusinessEurope Director General Markus J. Beyrer during the plenary session of the European Business Summit on 23 May in Brussels. European Commission First Vice-President Frans Timmermans, Tata Consultancy CEO N. Ganapathy Subramarian, and the President of the Federation of Enterprises in Belgium, Bernard Gilliot, also joined the debate, which was later completed by Lilyana Pavlova, Minister for the Bulgarian Presidency of the Council of the EU. “We are in a phase when it will be decided if we shape globalisation or if others will shape it. In this crucial time we need to show European unity”, Beyrer added.
During its meeting in Sofia today, the Council of Presidents of BusinessEurope unanimously elected Pierre Gattaz, current President of the French business federation MEDEF and CEO of Radiall, to succeed Emma Marcegaglia as President of BusinessEurope from 5 July 2018. He is elected for a period of two years, renewable once. Pierre Gattaz said: “I will do my utmost to fulfil the expectations of the 39 member federations of BusinessEurope. Taking up this important responsibility is an honour and a challenge. Emma Marcegaglia has set the bar very high and we are at a turning point in the global economic order. European business has to speak up. I am looking forward to contributing to increasing employment and growth across Europe and will fight protectionism with all my determination.”