The European Union (EU) has agreements on trade (export and import) with many countries outside the European Union. In terms of trade, these are “third countries”. Anne Griffioen, Chief Policy Officer for International Business at evofenedex: “These trade agreements have really worthwhile benefits for entrepreneurs. But by no means everyone reaps these benefits.” What do entrepreneurs face?
A good example of this is the Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (CETA), a trade agreement between the European Union and Canada. This treaty has been in effect since 2017, for both imports and exports. Anne explains what the advantage is for Dutch companies that export the products. “CETA has eliminated 98 percent of Canadian import duties. It makes a big difference if you export European products to Canada. You can save 8 to 15 percent on costs.” Such a trade agreement gradually became known. In 2017, 31 percent of Dutch exporters to Canada benefited from these beneficial trade tariffs. In 2018, a year later, this was 50 percent and in 2019 60 percent of exporters. But Ann doesn’t think that’s enough: “40 percent don’t take this opportunity!” What’s wrong with that?
Ann benefits greatly from the experiences of entrepreneurs. “They tell us what they are facing and how these trade agreements work in practice. Entrepreneurs also come up with ideas for new trade agreements.” With this information in her pocket, Anne begins a conversation with policy makers and MPs.
More interest in trade agreements
Entrepreneurs who want to take advantage of the benefits of trade agreements must arrange it properly. Ann: “That means you have to invest in knowledge. You have to prove to customs what the origin of your product is. For entrepreneurs, uncertainty about this arrangement is still a barrier.”
Since the UK left the European Union, we have an important “third country”. Ann believes this will create more interest in trade agreements. “The UK is one of our preferred trading partners. Entrepreneurs see the benefits of learning more about doing business with countries outside the European Union.”
Finally, Anne points to the European Commission’s free portal Access2Markets on trade agreements with countries outside the European Union. Entrepreneurs, for example, can look up tariffs for importing their products there. Very useful, but completely unknown. Ann: “Only 10 percent of export managers know about Access2Markets.”
National Export Event
Do you do business outside the European Union? Do you take advantage of the advantages of international trade agreements? Find out during the ‘Profit from Trade Agreements’ knowledge session at the National Export Event (NEX21) in Den Bosch on 3 November.