European Economic integration and its impact on foreign trade
The essence of European economic integration. The consequences of economic integration in trade, the consequences of Market integration of the European Union and its impact on foreign trade. Threats, challenges in the last stage of economic integration.
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With no doubt the SEM has brought the European Community at a new level, it is one of the main pillars, helping daily to establish new trade relations (EU-US; EU-Japan; etc.) and to further develop the existing ones. The creation of an internal market was a necessary stage of development, which raised the EU economy to a record level.
However, the idea of a single market has not reached its full potential (in all the areas), yet. A lot has to be done in order for the single market of the European Union to become more innovative and competitive. In pursuance of this, it is necessary for the European Union to address the challenge of globalization and promote the principles of the open market in a context in which there can be no protectionism and in which the competition is genuine. For an effective completion of the process through which EU becomes “a true internal market” the elimination of all the resting barriers and the ensuring of an effective implementation of legislation is required.
To do so, the internal barriers faced by the small businesses must be removed first, for them to benefit from the single European market (SEM). Only the pursuit of the principles and legislation can ensure equal treatment between all the members of the SEM (small and big businesses), including in the social aspect and in problems concerning the public access to services.
To fight against these remaining barriers, in 2007 a recommendation in form of an research was made- “Steps towards a deeper economic integration: the Internal Market in the 21st century A contribution to the Single Market Review” by Fabienne Ilzkovitz, Adriaan Dierx, Viktoria Kovacs and Nuno Sousa Directorate-General for Economic and Financial Affairs. This research aimed to examine the effects of the implementation of the Internal Market concept and to
suggest ideas on how its potential can be better exploited.
In regard to the microeconomic effects, the authors of that paper wrote that “the consolidation of the Internal Market and the introduction of the euro are expected to deliver welfare gains that result from associated profound micro-economic changes, notably in terms of competition pressure, price setting behavior of firms and changes in specialization patterns. The reduced barriers to cross-border flows of products and factors and the associated increase in price transparency across Member States reinforce competition pressures within the EU and contribute to higher productivity levels and greater competitiveness via three main channels:
v Increased allocated efficiency, which results from forcing firms to set prices lower and closer to marginal costs, reducing monopoly rents and distortions in the allocation of resources while pushing total output closer to the social optimum level.
v Increased productive efficiency, due to the fact that inefficiencies are more strongly penalized in the marketplace.
v Enhanced dynamic efficiency, which results from the greater incentives to invest in the adoption and development of product and process innovations.
While it is still too early to draw definite conclusions about longer-term effects, existing empirical evidence allows a first investigation of the short and medium term changes triggered by the integration process. What emerges from the available evidence is somewhat of a mixed picture: while the Internal Market has helped to promote integration and, to a certain extent, competition within the EU, it has been relatively ineffective as a driver of innovation. The potential of the Internal Market has therefore not yet been fully exploited.”
The adoption of an internal market, according to economic theory has had four main effects. The first effect is related to competition. “The removal of barriers to intra-EU product and factor flows facilitates firm entry and the introduction of new brands in the various national markets, leading to an increase in inter-brand competition. This results in an increase in allocated efficiency and declining prices and profit margins. The EMU by increasing cross border price transparency and increasing intra-brand competition has further reduced firms' ability to exploit market power via price discrimination strategies. This effect is further reinforced by the growing importance of electronic commerce that minimizes cross border search costs”.
The second effect relates to the firm's behaviors. In the context of high competition, firms must adapt to the new requirements. To do so they must adopt different strategies, such as:
Optimization of costs- directing all their resources toward their “core business” the thing at which they are best.
Product differentiation- “the objective of the firm may indeed be to use product differentiation (in variety or quality) to create a firm-specific demand curve that is more inelastic than the industry-wide demand curve”.
The third effect may concern the structure of the industry. An industrial concentration may happen as a result of the simplified procedure of establishing a company or subsidiary in another EU country.
The last effect relates to innovations. In the conditions of increased competition, only very skilled and creative companies can survive. This is why innovation becomes an indispensable tool that helps EU companies retain their market share throughout time.
3.2 Threats and challenges in the last stage of economic integration
The European Union has successfully passed throughout the threats and challenges that turned up at each of the stages of economic integration. Still, it has not completed its designation. Encountering itself in the last stage of integration, the union faces external and internal pressures.
The Economic and Monetary Union (EMU) is the culmination of European integration project from the monetary perspective. It is an old European aspiration, which has its roots in the late sixties and was definitely recognized in institutional terms with the reform of the Treaty establishing the European Community, which was held in Maastricht at the beginning of the current decade.
The main objective of EMU is the introduction of a currency, the Euro, unique in all Member States of this integration project. The introduction of the single currency can be understood as a necessary corollary to the single market project, which began in the late eighties, which should allow the free movement of persons, goods and capital throughout the territory of the European Union.
To facilitate the handling of a single monetary policy by the European Central Bank certain economic criteria that countries must meet were established in the Maastricht Treaty, the so-called convergence criteria (deficit, public debt, inflation, interest rates and stability exchange rate). With these criteria economic convergence is guaranteed among countries that share the same currency, so that the rest of economic policies would be compatible.
Within the framework involving EMU we can distinguish two different levels:
Economic Union: consisting of the coordination of economic policies of the Member States, the completion of the internal market and the definition of common objectives of economic policy.Размещено на http://www.allbest.ru/
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The Monetary Union: is Размещено на http://www.allbest.ru/
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based on the irrevocable fixing of exchange rates between the currencies of the participating countries to achieve the implementation of a single currency, as well as in the implementation of common monetary policy and types of change, whose fundamental objective is to maintain price stability.
From a microeconomic point of view, the replacement of national currencies with the euro eliminates transaction costs and the need for foreign exchange in trade and tourism. It also allows greater transparency, as it will be possible to directly compare the prices of products in different countries, which is an incentive for competition. The use of the common currency also involves the removal of the segmentation of financial markets, created by national currencies, which can allow full integration with the positive consequences that this entails on prices of financial assets. Among other things EMU, offers:
ь Reduction of interest rates in the long term. Decreased risk premium implied in real interest rates as a result of the removal of uncertainty regarding the level of exchange rates.
ь Promote the integration of national markets. Without the stability of the exchange rate, the single market is not sustainable politically, since interested countries would devalue its currency to obtain profit from markets and profit from investment location.
ь Strengthening of price stability, thereby increasing efficiency in resource allocation for medium-term growth.
ь Increased prestige and bargaining power of countries, due to the increased size of the new unit representative decision.
ь The loss of the exchange rate instrument as an element of adjustment is not complete, since the Euro may vary relative to other currencies outside the EMU area.
ь Fiscal discipline is also associated with higher growth in the medium term.
ь Before the euro, monetary policy was neither autonomous to fix the financial conditions of the economy (was only in the short term), since the integration of financial markets means that these conditions are increasingly influenced by the behavior of non-resident investors
ь The prospect of entry into the EMU can help reduce inflation with lower real costs by weakening inflation expectations.
ь The larger size of financial markets may allow a better exploitation of economies of scale.
ь Faced with increasing demand for the new currency, exporters set prices in Euros, which is more favorable for them.
Nevertheless, the EMU brings some threat and challenges for the countries that choose to adopt the single currency. The most notorious, are:
o The loss of the exchange rate instrument to deal with possible disturbances. This loss will be more significant the more asymmetrical disturbances in the EMU are, the less diversified the national economies are and the more closed (because otherwise, the exchange rate mechanism is not an suitable adjustment instrument, as it causes price changes and changes in the real exchange rate, which neutralize the initial effects).
o The loss of the exchange rate instrument is compounded by the virtual absence of other variables to compensate. Labor is hardly mobile, prices and wages result to be rigid to change the real exchange rate in the right direction, the limits imposed on the public deficit and the public debt in the Maastricht Treaty, reduce the margin of movement of fiscal policy.
o Monetary policy loses autonomy to adjust interest rates to economic conditions. Decisions will be made jointly.
o The pursuit of a given economic balance is sacrificed in terms of inflation and unemployment, for another, fixed in accordance with other countries.
o The reduction of the inflation rate, in some countries may have an elevated real cost as a result of the restrictive policy that must be implemented to achieve the objective.
In terms related to intra-community trade, a minimization of transaction costs and costs of using the single currency is expected, without necessity of paying commissions for currency exchange, nor exporters/importers or will need to “evade” transactions or insurance exchange risk.
In the non-EU foreign trade, given the economic power of countries that comprise the Euro area, it is expected that some of the transactions will be denominated in Euros, not dollars. This, apart from the international prestige, will benefit European economic agents, who would bear a lower risk of exchange in the context of the turmoil in the dollar market.
With regard to the effects on interest rates, compliance with the convergence criteria and the need to maintain budgetary discipline will result, in some countries, a reduction in both nominal and real interest rates.
Speaking of real data, the Eurostat mentions that “the first estimate for euro area (EA19) exports of goods to the rest of the world in February 2016 was €163.5 billion, an increase of 1% compared with February 2015 (€161.4 billion) (see figure 3.2.1). Imports from the rest of the world stood at €144.4 billion, a rise of 2% compared with February 2015 (€141.5 billion). As a result, the euro area recorded a €19.0 billion surplus in trade in goods with the rest of the world in February 2016, compared with +€20.0 billon in February 2015. Intra-euro area trade rose to €141.0 billon in February 2016, up by 3% compared with February 2015.
Figure 3.2.1. “International trade in goods of the euro area”
Source: Eurostat, the statistical office of the European Union
In January to February 2016, euro area exports of goods to the rest of the world stood at €308.5 billion, nearly stable compared with January-February 2015. Imports stood at €281.5 billion, also nearly stable compared to January- February 2015. As a result the euro area recorded a surplus of €27.1 billion, compared with +€27.0 billion in January- February 2015. Intra-euro area trade rose to €273.0 billion in January-February 2016, up by 1% compared with January-February 2015”.
Making a comparison between the European Union (EU28) and the Eurozone (EU19), we can observe the following:
· In the first quarter of 2016, there is an increase by 1% in the exports of the EU19 and a decrease by 1% in the exports of the EU28.
· The exports of Eurozone for the first quarter of 2016 count for 163.5 billion of euro, whereas the exports of the EU (EU28) counts only for 137.1 billion of euro.
There is an upward tendency for EU19, considering the fact that it comprises national economies of medium and high development: Lithuania, Ireland, Estonia, Slovakia, Spain, Italy, France, Luxembourg, Belgium, the Netherlands, Austria, Germany, etc.
· The countries outside the Eurozone, are rich and have an powerful export potential: United Kingdom, Sweden, Denmark, Czech Republic, the previously mentioned advantages derived from the adoption of a single currency might explain this downward tendency od EU exports.
We cannot make a definite assumption weather is better or worse to enter the Eurozone based only on the analysis of import and export operations. As, if we analyze the trading situation of member states of EU as countries apart (see table 3.2.1), the countries that are not part of the monetary union have big share of exports, also the majority have a positive trade balance.
Moreover, Volker Nitsch and Mauro Pisu, in their article- “The euro and trade: New evidence”, wrote that “economists argue that the increase in trade due to the euro is likely to have been generated by a rise in the number of exporters and products traded across borders. By reducing the fixed and/or variable costs of exports, the euro has enabled previously non-exporting firms to start exporting and already exporting companies to expand the range of products they sell abroad.
Trade of EU member states
Source: Eurostat, the statistical office of the European Union
http://trade.ec.europa.eu/doclib/docs/2013/december/tradoc_151969.pdf (cited on: 04.20.2016).
We ask the following questions: Has there been a change in the number of traded goods after the introduction of the euro? Has there been a change in the number of exporters? Has there been a change in the (average) price of traded products? Was the reaction of small and less productive firms different from large and highly productive firms?
Examining the trading activities of Belgian firms, we find that the euro has raised the propensity of firms to export to countries in the euro area. Moreover, the euro has increased the number of products that exporters ship to the euro-area. Also, the newly exported products appear to be characterized by lower unit values than those firms already export. All these effects are stronger for smaller and less productive firms. Overall, these firm-level results suggest that the euro has lowered the fixed and/or variable costs of exports. Some smaller and less productive firms now find exports to the euro-area profitable. The newly exported goods are of lower unit values than those previously exported because the euro has made exporting them profitable, particularly for small exporters.”
Since its inception in 1958, the European Economic Community has expanded, attracting a number of new members. At the same time it became stronger since the Member States transferred a growing number of functions to the European institutions. Thus, the original European Economic Community of six founding members became the European Union of 28 countries with a single market, common currency and common policy coordination. The large number of applications for admission reflects the economic attractiveness of the European Union.
The internal market is an essential element of the process of European integration, as already highlighted in the Treaties establishing the European Communities. Ensuring free movement in the broad sense of people, goods, services and capital is one of the fundamental objectives set once with its creation. The internal market has been and remains a key element, partner and builder in the process of European integration. However, the single market goes beyond the simple idea of a common market as it requires respect for free competition, an environment regulatory system capable to ensure the rules of a fair competition and harmonization of the regulation in many aspects. Despite the progressive reduction of barriers to operate the internal market, there are still some that slow its advance.
Among the main obstacles that currently limit the development of the internal market include the lack of a common framework in relation to the social dimension, taxation, promoting entrepreneurship, innovation and research, energy, financial services or necessary harmonization of rules protecting consumers and users. In addition, it also involves a restriction - despite having a regulator, robust, comprehensive framework, so far, the domestic market has not paid sufficient attention to the social, economic changes and other measures that occur in the within the Union. Changes that directly affect the foreign trade.
Economists divide these changes into static and dynamic. The static effect implies a relocation of resources in the productive system and changes in the structure and consumption patterns.
Static trade effects divide into trade creation and trade diversion. By trade creation we mean the substitution of expensive domestic production with less expensive imports from another member country of the customs union. The trade diversion may imply an opposite effect, if a country substitutes a cheaper import from a non-member country with a more expensive one from a member country of the union.
The European Union is both a common market (as it provides the free circulation of goods, services, capital and factors of production) and a customs union (since its countries adopt an unified approach when setting a tariff in commerce the rest of the world). The two are directly related and complement each other. The European Union needed to enter the customs union in order to be later able to form the single market. This is why, we cannot analyse the effects of the European integration without considering the both stages, conjunctively.
In the case of the European economic integration we distinguish three conditions, which might
have positive or negative influence on the national and international commerce of the member countries:
1. The efficiency of internal producers relative to external producers.
2. The price elasticity of demand (PED) and price elasticity of supply (PES) in the domestic market.
3. The size of the tariff, or common external tariff (CET).
In relation to the first condition we can draw the following conclusions-if trade is diverted from the most efficient producer (external) to internal producer, net gains in domestic welfare are more likely to outweight the net losses to domestic welfare if the internal producer produce at a cost closer to the costs of the more efficient external producer.
Domestic welfare is more likely to be reduced if the external producers are able to produce at much lower cost than internal producer, as trade is diverted to much less efficient producers.
It is difficult to say wether welfare will increase as a result of economic integration. If there is more trade creation than trade diversion. Welfare is more likely to improve. However, even when trade is diverted, total domestic social welfare may improve.
In regard to the second condition, it is more likely of a country to experience a welfare gain if its domestic supply and demand are elastic (respond to price changes). Still, it is unlikely to certainly say that once with the entering of the country in the European Union its national welfare will increase as a result of the new trade opportunities (mostly because the PED and PES differ even between markets of EU member states). A thing is certain, once a country enters the European Union, it can increase its welfare and consequently its trading power only by becoming higly competitive.
As concerns the size of the tariffs and the CET, it is more likely that trade would be created, and welfare will increase, if CET's are low. Welfare would increase, if the external price including the CET were lower that the internal price, as more trade would be created. Opposing, if the CET is higher than the original tariff protection, domestic welfare is likely to reduce, as a result of trade diversion. Using the market based model, the greatest gains in welfare are seen when protectionist measures are removed (CET's = 0), as a result trade would be created and output would be produced by most efficient producers.
The last stage of European Economic integration equals entering the Eurozone. While 19 of the 28 countries adopted the common currency nine, among which United Kingdom, Sweden and Denmark have remained with their own currency. There are some strong drawbacks opposing the various benefits that could bring a single currency.
“Eurozone nations first thrived under the euro. The common currency brought with it the elimination of exchange rate volatility (and associated costs), easy access to a large and monetarily unified European market, and price transparency. However, the financial crisis of 2007-2008 revealed some pitfalls of the euro. Some Eurozone economies suffered more than others (Greece, Spain, Italy and Portugal). Due to the lack of economic independence, these countries could not set monetary policy to best foster their own recoveries. The future of the euro will depend on how EU policies evolve to address the monetary challenges of individual nations under a single monetary policy.”
Summing up all of the above-mentioned facts, the author would like to underline that there is no single answer to the question: Will EU membership favor the foreign trade and by this, increase the economical power of the country that will enter the Union? Economists divide their opinions between yes and no. The simple fact that this union comprises countries of different levels of development shows us that this is a circumstantial question. The asymmetries are reflected in the GDPs per capita and the balances of foreign trade. The country with the largest and most advanced economy is Germany, which has a GDP per capita four or more times bigger that of the less industrialized countries. Its trade surplus is on the order of 247.8 billion euros compared with a deficit of the rest of the EU countries with more than 200,000 million euros. At one extremity we have countries like Germany, Sweden, Denmark, UK, etc., on the another extremity we have countries like Greece, Portugal, Ireland.
We were witnesses of success and failure stories of member countries. A thing is certain, in order for the country's commercial potential to survive within the EU, the country must be highly competitive and innovative.
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