Friday, July 1

The trade demands aid to face the reconversion and the Chinese competition

The European Economic and Social Committee has presented this Tuesday a opinion stating the need for the commercial section receive EU aid for reconversion of an activity especially affected by the covid and the venta ‘on line’, with clear emphasis on normative measures to tackle the growing competition from chinese imports. The opinion of the CESSATION highlights the effects that the conjunction of the pandemic and the change in consumption habits is having on employment and the transformation of companies and the effects that it will have in the future, for which you consider essential the development of a new community regulatory framework that prevent unfair practices, mainly competition from low-priced Chinese imports without sufficient quality standards.

In the opinion of Felipe Medina, EESC adviser, secretary general of the Asedas supermarkets association and rapporteur for the opinion, a new legal framework in the EU is imperative that “avoids distortions of competition” given the growing weight of online sales in the form of a broad European pact for trade and training plans in digital skills. The EESC considers that “the retail and wholesale ecosystem has been one of the sectors most affected and ranks second in terms of investment support needs”.

The opinion highlights that the lack of clear regulations at the European level means that there is “unfair competition for traders based in the EU who comply with Union rules that require products sold to consumers to be safe and to be respect the rights of such consumers. ” The problem is aggravated “by poor market surveillance and ineffective customs controls, to which are added the high cost of compliance with the rules for traders who abide by the laws,” adds the opinion. According to EESC data, “almost 70% of EU consumers who buy in third countries have purchased products sold in China, a figure that stood at around 15% in 2014.” EESC experts acknowledge in their opinion that digital innovation “enhances Europe’s competitiveness on a global scale”, but at the same time an appropriate regulatory framework is needed to seize the opportunities. It is estimated that one in two European customers already make purchases on the internet, with an expense that represents 424,000 million euros per year. According to these data, only 15% of customers currently buy in third countries and only 7% of European SMEs sell outside their own country.

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The sector report points out that the sum of the covid and automation are putting more than five million jobs at risk (data from the McKinsey consultancy), which is why the EESC points out that “it is necessary to redesign the measures to support employment and professional skills of the EU in order to favor easy and quick access to financing that allows restructuring this sector and cope with the needs for changing skills motivated by the acceleration of market changes brought about by covid-19.

The EESC opinion comes at a particularly opportune moment due to the distribution of European funds for the recovery, in what Paz Guzmán, economic adviser of the EU representation in Spain, considers “an unprecedented solidarity response” by Europe . In any case, despite the fact that trade accounts for 13% of Spanish GDP and 17% of employment, the distribution of aid cannot be indiscriminate. Guzmán recalls that public managers are currently working “to finance results.” Along the same lines, the head of European affairs of the CEOE, Patricia Círez, the distribution of public aid has as a “vital” element the economic issue, which finally allows companies not to lose competitiveness. For Illeana Izveniceanu, director of institutional relations of the Organization of Consumers and Users (OCU), support measures for the commercial sector should also be aimed at developing complaint channels and improving product information systems.

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