Économie et Statistique n° 363-364-365 - 2003 Firms on The Global Markets Labour Market - Attractiveness - Debt - Enlargement toward East en South
The trade stakes of European Union enlargement
Central and Eastern European Country (CEEC) trade with France and, more broadly, with the European Union as a whole is currently showing a marked imbalance. France's 2001 surplus for goods trade alone came to 1.7 billion euros. Following more than a decade of transition in the CEECs, the potential for growth in their trade with the European Union remains considerable. Given the different partners' current GDP levels, European exports to the CEECs should be nearly twice as high as they currently are and imports nearly three times as high. The CEECs' still relatively mediocre trade performances on the European market are due mainly to the relative mismatch of their supply to European demand. Despite the recent development in their specialisation, driven mainly by incoming foreign investment, their strong points in foreign trade are still mainly in sectors where demand for European imports is relatively low and sluggish. The elimination of certain non-tariff barriers and the greater economic and political stability offered by entry into the European Union should contribute further to enhancing the attractiveness of the CEECs to investment. Hence the trade potential of these countries should catch up faster in coming years due to a stepping up of foreign direct investment and the resulting sectoral reorientation of their exports.