You don’t have to be an economist to understand the value of trade. A simple trip to the local supermarket provides ample proof – aisles laden with thousands of products that have travelled the world over through complex supply chains to land on our plates. Trade is also a key driver of business, with thousands of companies, big and small, signing deals to sell goods and services across international borders every day. Trade brings efficiencies, by allowing countries to focus on producing and exporting what they are relatively better at producing, while importing from other countries the goods and services that they are relatively less able to produce domestically. Openness to trade brings greater choice for consumers; cheaper prices due to greater competition; and encourages higher productivity and innovation thanks to the free flow of ideas and technologies. The EU is a fine example of what openness to trade can bring: it is the engine of economic prosperity in the bloc. Trade in goods and services accounts for over one-third of EU GDP. One in seven jobs in the EU is supported by exporting activities. However, even before the pandemic struck, global trade growth was being challenged by escalating trade tensions, rising protectionism and a growing mistrust of multilateralism. In light of the grave disruptions to vital supplies brought on by the pandemic, concerns about critical dependencies within the complex global value chains that deliver goods and services across the world have surfaced. Meanwhile, fears abound of the impact of globalisation on local communities. As leading global companies, we believe we have a responsibility to contribute to the public debate on the impacts of trade. This new research explores the effect of exports on employment and output across EU regions. It also features case studies and stories of cooperation between American companies and local businesses. As the global geopolitical landscape shifts, globalised commercial ties based on the principles of free trade are increasingly under scrutiny. It is important to continue to make the case for openness and its positive outcomes for local communities in the EU. For an open and outwardlooking EU is a more prosperous, innovative and efficient EU – and can remain the most attractive place for American companies to conduct their business abroad.
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