A report released on July 8, 2015, in Geneva by the World Trade Organisation (WTO) applauded the EU’s role in maintaining an open and transparent global trading system, particularly during a time of timid economic recovery. Among the high points outlined in the report is the EU’s role as a major investor and recipient of FDI: 45% of total outflows of FDI in 2013 came from the region. Equally, the report stated, the EU is open to foreign investment. It hosted about 48% of global inflows, not including investment flows between the EU member states.
The report recognised that to remain an attractive FDI destination, the EU must take steps towards further consolidation and completion of its internal market. “A more integrated European single market of more than 500 million consumers will benefit both European and foreign companies,” the WTO secretariat said.
The report emphasised that the EU’s role in the multilateral trading systems and EU trade policy matters not only to the EU, but also to the world. The EU is among the top three trade partners of no less than 107 countries. The report added: "The EU remains an open and transparent economy and, as one of the biggest economies and trading entities in the world, plays a critical role in the multilateral trading system."
The report emphasised the impact of EU trade on jobs both in and outside the EU. Thirty-one million jobs in the EU are supported by its participation in global trade.
While exports are important, the report maintains that imports are just as necessary to the EU's economy. “In today's world of global value chains, in order to export, companies need also imported inputs,” the WTO secretariat said. “The EU sources inputs from the rest of the world, and this also supports jobs elsewhere in the world.”
The report also pointed out that the Digital Single Market initiative launched in May 2015 is “an area of interest and opportunity”. “The EU's economic growth rests on its capacity to innovate,” said the WTO secretariat. “This makes protection of intellectual property rights – domestically and abroad – essential to the EU.”