Antonio Tajani, Vice-President of the European Commission responsible for Industry and Entrepreneurship, has launched the Centre for European Union Small and Medium Enterprises (EU SME Centre) in Beijing on 5 November. Funded by the European Commission, this new venture will provide information, advice, training and matchmaking opportunities for European SMEs wishing to export to or invest in the Chinese market.
China is the single most important challenge for EU trade policy. EU-China trade has increased dramatically in recent years. China is now the EU’s 2nd trading partner behind the USA and the biggest source of imports. The EU is China’s biggest trading partner. China is set to be the biggest national exporter in the global economy in 2009. China now accounts for about 9% of world trade in goods. Total bilateral trade between the EU and China was worth €326 billion in 2008.
This year’s EU-Canada summit will take place in Prague on 6 May. The EU will be represented by European Commission President José Manuel Barroso and the Czech Prime Minister Mirek Topolánek in his role as EU President in Office. Canada will be represented by Prime Minister Stephen Harper. The Summit agenda will cover a range of issues starting from a follow-up to the recent G-20 meeting in London to an array of bilateral topics, such as the marking of the EU-Canada Air Transport Agreement and the EU-Canada Air Safety Agreement. The centrepiece of this year’s summit is the EU-Canada economic partnership as it will see the launch of negotiations towards a new economic and free trade agreement. This agreement will go beyond current WTO commitments and will reinforce the already strong bilateral trade and investment relationship. Furthermore, leaders will express their commitment to building a low-carbon global economy while strengthening capacity to adapt to the impacts of climate change. Other issues to be touched upon will include Afghanistan, where the EU and Canada are co-operating closely together to promote good governance and the rule of law.
The European Commission and EU Member States have decided to lower further the fees payable to the Community agency responsible for granting EU-wide trade mark rights, OHIM (Office for the Harmonization in the Internal Market, located in Alicante, Spain), and to simplify the registration procedure. This measure, which follows an initial reduction in 2005 (IP/05/1289), will make trade mark protection much cheaper and easier to obtain for businesses operating in the EU single market, saving them some €60 million a year. It will come into force on 1 May 2009.