Trading with the European Union (EU) Countries.

March 28th, 2013

Does the EU face challenges and should we still be considering them in our sourcing strategies?

Today’s post is by Ronald D. Southard, CEO at SafeSourcing.

I like to read a lot, most CEO’s do. Some studies say that CEO’s read a minimum of 50 books per year. That certainly does not count the amount of trade periodicals, news media, white papers, blog posts and leisure non book related material I know we also read. After all how else would we keep up with what’s going on in our industries and the world. All of this helps as a foundation to strategic thought that is critical to our company’s evolution.

During my reading, it is probably of no surprise to anyone that much negative has been and will continue to be written about the European Union or EU. There have even been those that question sourcing from EU companies based on the potential for risk.

I thought it might be helpful for those of you that are not aware of who the EU is and why they are such an important source of import to the United States and in fact all of North America

Much of the information below can be attributed to the EU Website.

The European Union is the world’s biggest trader (surprised?), accounting for 20% of global imports and exports. Free trade among its members was one of the founding principles of the EU, and it is committed to liberalizing world trade for the benefit of rich and poor countries alike. The EU simply is committed to free and fair trade

The European Union is made up of the following 27 countries, with some being members since as early as 1952. Another 10 countries are in the process of becoming EU members. The population of the EU is 503,663,601 and unemployment is 11.9% (and we think we had issues in the U.S.)

1. Austria
2. Belgium
3. Bulgaria
4. Cyprus
5. Czech Republic
6. Denmark
7. Estonia 
8. Finland 
9. France
10. Germany
11. Greece
12. Hungary 
13. Ireland 
14. Italy 
15. Latvia 
16. Lithuania 
17. Luxembourg 
18. Malta 
19. Netherlands
20. Poland 
21. Portugal 
22. Romania
23. Slovakia 
24. Slovenia 
25. Spain
26. Sweden
27. United Kingdom

The goal of the economy of the EU is the creation of the single market and the corresponding increase in trade and general economic activity which has transformed the EU into a major trading power. The EU is trying to sustain economic growth by investing in transport, energy and research, while also seeking to minimize the environmental impact of further economic development. Gross domestic product (GDP) a measure of the economic activity for the period of 2010-2014 is listed below as a percentage change over the previous year with (f) equaling forecast.

1. 2010 2.1% 

2. 2011 1.5% 

3. 2012 -0.3% 

4. 2013 0.1% forecast 

5. 2014 1.6% forecast

This author believes that any global sourcing initiatives should have in the past and should continue in the future to include strong companies with head offices in the EU. It is incumbent on your sourcing team and partners to provide the proper vetting.

If you’d like to learn more about using EU based companies in your sourcing strategies, please contact a SafeSourcing customer’s services account manager. And don’t worry; our applications are multi lingual and being used globally. We don’t have to just do currency conversion and source in U.S. English, the application supports 67 languages including double byte countries.

We look forward to and appreciate your comments

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