How an EU-US trade deal can boost Europe’s digital economy

BY Christian Borggreen
February 3, 2015

Brussels — In case you missed the good news; Europe’s digital economy is thriving.  Consider a few facts:

– The EU Internet economy is projected to grow 7 times faster than the overall EU GDP, with an impressive  €179 billion in annual revenues.

–  European firms are net-exporters of digitally delivered services to the world.

75-percent of the Internet’s benefits are enjoyed by so-called “traditional industries.” These are manufacturers and other established sectors that have leveraged digital technology to optimize production, supply chain, distribution and related core operations. This kind of innovation doesn’t always make headlines, but it’s driving tremendous growth in these sectors and for the EU economy overall.

– European small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) are also winning.  Online trading platforms like eBay and Amazon are helping SMEs become “micro-multinationals” that can easily sell to the world and outperform their offline competitors.

– The mobile Internet is driving significant and growing revenues across Europe; €90 billion in the EU5 in 2013.
– European consumers directly benefit from unprecedented choice of products and services and more convenient delivery models

In short; the Internet has reduced  traditional barriers to trade – and Europe is benefiting from it!  But to keep on winning, we need to agree on new trade disciplines for online goods, services and markets, and prevent new digital trade barriers from arising.  By connecting Europe’s Digital Single Market to a globally connected economy, startups can scale up and become global champions.  Data flows, have become the key enabler for all types of companies engaging in international trade.

Classic trade distinctions are becoming blurred by technology. The Internet is disruptive and ever-changing, and existing trade laws struggle to keep up.  That’s why the ongoing EU-U.S. trade talks offer an historic opportunity to pioneer and introduce new principles for digital trade and create rules that reflect the realities of a 21st century, globally connected economy.

And Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) is not just about our economy and job creation.  EU-U.S. trade rules can also help strengthen our shared values.  Transatlantic standards to ensure data flows can improve access to information and knowledge globally; keep the Internet open.  It may also exert pressure for change on certain emerging countries’ censorship and closed systems.

CCIA has developed five core, practical recommendations to EU and U.S. negotiators as they negotiate the next generation of trade policies to reflect the digital economy’s tremendous role in driving innovation and prosperity in Europe.

Check out our recommendations on how to boost Europe’s digital trade on www.ccianet.org

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