With the Schengen Accord, the free movement of persons was won as a major, visible accomplishment for citizens as border controls between the member states were eliminated. Now the standardised exchange of information at the external borders of the Schengen contract territory is intended to compensate for the possible loss of security due to the elimination of internal borders. This will be accomplished with the Schengen Information System (SIS), which is now being implemented in its second generation.
The average wage costs between the EU states differ by a factor of ten. Bringing up the rear in terms of labour costs per hour are Bulgaria at EUR 3.70, Romania at EUR 4.40, Lithuania at EUR 5.80 and Latvia at EUR 6.00. The leader is Sweden with an average hourly wage of EUR 39.00. These figures for last year were presented on 10 April 2013 by Eurostat, the EU statistical office. Accordingly the statistical average wage in the European Union is EUR 23.40 per working hour and EUR 28.00 in the 17 states of the Eurozone.
The EU Commission presented its proposal to combat dumping and government-subsidised imports on 10 April 2013. Plans are in place to modernise the system to protect against unfair trade practices of foreign companies, which has remained largely unchanged since 1995. The proposals merely require the consent of the European Parliament and Council.
By Urban B. Eberle and Eduard Werder, Bank Alpinum
Is the boom in the luxury goods sector coming to an end? Investors were stunned by the subdued forecasts for the current year issued by consumer goods groups including LVMH and Richemont. The weakening of momentum in China, in particular, is raising a few concerns. Is it time to beat a retreat from the luxury goods sector?
The EU Commission has determined that the 20.8 million small to midsize enterprises (SMEs) in the European Union employ two-thirds of the workforce and are responsible for 85 percent of new jobs that are created. Yet EU legislative acts often place a burden on them in particular. On 20 March 2013, the EU Commission took a first step to provide relief for SMEs by lowering fees for chemicals.
On 12 March 2013 the European Commission in Brussels agreed on a draft mandate for negotiations with the USA about the planned transatlantic free trade agreement. Now the EU member states have to approve the draft in the European Council. Then the negotiations can begin. EU Trade Commissioner Karel De Gucht explained the subsequent schedule: "I am very pleased that the European Commission has already prepared a draft mandate for future negotiations, just one month after the EU and the USA announced the decision to pursue this revolutionary trade agreement. I hope that the approval of the member states is going to follow quickly, so that working with the United States can begin even before the summer break."
Eleven EU Member States have asked the European Commission to introduce a financial transaction tax (FTT) within the framework referred to as enhanced cooperation. The Commission gave the green light on February 14, 2013, since all legal requirements for the project were met. The eleven participating countries expect tax income of 30 to 35 billion euros per year. In addition, the financial transaction tax should ensure a fairer contribution by the financial sector to the national budgets.
By Rodolfo Sánchez-Arellano, New Corporate Approach, S.C.
According to information from the Mexican Geological Survey, Mexico has 23 sites classified as giant (world class) and six labelled super giants. Backed by the strong price of metals, mining investment in Mexico offers an excellent opportunity.
The EU Commission is insisting on increased security when it comes to imported goods. Furthermore, the risk management procedures at the EU's external borders should be standardized. In particular, the relevant customs information should be made quickly and reliably available to all of the participating authorities in each member state.
The standard form of foreign trade balance is facing criticism. The allegation is that the actual added value will no longer be mapped if the flow of goods and services is viewed as a whole each time it crosses a border. A method that takes the criticism into account will be applied in a database shared by the "club of the industrialized nations", the OECD and the World Trade Organization, WTO. This will compile only the added value that a country adds to an export product or to a particular service aimed at the external market.
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