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G20 Summit outcome – a strong signal to be converted into actions

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Lamia Kerdjoudj-Belkaid

A strong message from G20 leaders about global playing field to be converted into concrete actions

Brussels, July 11th, 2017

On July 4th, on the eve of the beginning of G20 Summit discussions in Hamburg, Mr. Tusk, President of the European Council, and Mr. Juncker, President of the Commission,  sent a joint letter to EU Heads of State, setting out the EU priorities and announcing that these priorities would be reflected in a number of internal and external responses to shape globalisation in line with EU shared interests and values.

Current concerns about job losses and erosion of standards are legitimate and indeed call for action. Those concerns should nevertheless be addressed whilst avoiding the erecting of protectionist barriers or by being “naive” about the fact that a number of countries outside the EU do not always respect the rules on market access and State Aid. The result is an unbalanced situation that harms the interests of EU companies and their employees.

As mentioned by G20 leaders in the final declaration of the summit, strong, sustainable, balanced and inclusive future growth will have to rely on multilateral cooperation and a rules-based order. More than never, the EU and its partners will have to mobilize to create a real global playing field.

Benefits of globalization should also be assessed in an inclusive way and not only on the basis of positive effects for few sectors.

FEPORT, the organization representing European port operators and private terminals, welcomes G20 summit declaration about international trade and investment and “the importance of reciprocal and mutually advantageous trade and investment frameworks as well as the principle of non-discrimination” and the necessity “to continue to fight protectionism including all unfair trade practices”.

Better harmonization of competition rules, a real monitoring and control of State aid regimes at global level, more robust anti-dumping rules to defend EU industry and jobs  and a more holistic approach in the framework of negotiations of agreements between the EU and its partners will be essential tools. They will certainly empower workers, companies and businesses of all sizes to benefit from open markets and help them to make the most of opportunities offered by the global economy.

As highlighted by G20 leaders, the digital revolution will also require the need to ensure effective competition to foster investment and innovation. In this respect, FEPORT supports the recommendation regarding the need to “promote effective cooperation of all stakeholders and encourage the development and use of market and industry-led international standards for digitised production, products and services that are based on the principles of openness, transparency and consensus”. “Standards should not act as barriers to trade, competition or innovation. They can promote interoperability and security in the use of ICT”.

The digital revolution will increasingly play a key role for global supply chains. With an accessible, open, reliable and secure cyberspace, digitisation will drive productivity and sustainable development. However, this must be done whilst respecting applicable legal frameworks for privacy, personal data protection and taking into account cyber threats.

The development of a global digital economy strategy offers a good opportunity to address the social challenges of a new globalization model by preparing for the impact of digitalisation and automation on labour and by investing in digital skills.

FEPORT hopes that the European Commission will propose relevant responses to ensure an open, fair and transparent global policy environment taking into account EU shared interests and values.

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