The IMF has issued its latest six-monthly World Economic Outlook, which again marked a continued shift towards protectionism in advanced economies. “This is short-sighted”, says EuroCommerce.
As this and other recent reports – and the direct experience of retailers, wholesalers and traders – show, there is a continued move away from open trading policies. In EuroCommerce’s view, the accelerating trend of countries looking to short-term measures to protect a particular sector ignores the long-term damage, not only to the wider economy, but also the long-term cost to themselves in lost competitiveness and economic health. A free global market and an open EU Single Market aim to allow consumers and businesses access to the goods and services they want to buy. Protectionism is essentially about the state making decisions which close off choices for ordinary people and companies.
Commenting on the publication of the IMF report, EuroCommerce Director-General, Christian Verschueren, said:
“Too many countries in and outside the EU are trying to gain a marginal advantage by creating new barriers to businesses seeking to offer choice and good service to consumers. This is short-sighted - and ultimately self-defeating, hindering countries’ own growth and the creation of new jobs. In the EU, it is also undermining the Single Market on which all our economies depend. An unfinished and fragmented Single Market costs consumers and businesses billions of euros every year. This IMF report provides further valuable evidence for why the EU needs to equip itself to compete globally by eliminating discriminatory and unjustified restrictions on providing consumers with the best goods and services.”