Luncheon-debate held with Arancha González Laya, President of the Wise Persons Group on Challenges facing the Customs Union


On Monday October 23rd, the Official Spanish Chamber of Commerce in Belgium held a new luncheon-debate in the framework of its “Business Circle” forum, in which the president of the Wise Persons Group on Challenges facing the Customs Union, Arancha González Laya, spoke on “Reforming the Customs Union, improving control and facilitating trade in the EU”.

After the welcome cocktail, the president of the Chamber, Pablo López-Álvarez, opened the lunch by introducing the topic of the debate, giving a summary of the speaker’s professional career and giving way to the general director of Trade & Access Consulting (sponsor of the event), César Guerra.

During his brief speech, Guerra thanked Ms González Laya and the audience for their presence, stressing the need to continue to spread the notion that “trade enhances prosperity”.

Arancha González Laya then took the floor and began her speech by contextualising the current crisis in global international trade, amid geopolitical rivalries “that could threaten prosperity”. According to the speaker, increasing import controls at the global level could generate a “slippery slope” effect that would greatly damage international trade.

Regulatory management of climate change is another of the current potential threats to trade, as González Laya explained. In this regard, he called for avoiding unilateral regulations and suggested that the EU should approach the problem in a collaborative manner.

“In Europe, two thirds of economic growth depend on international trade,” she said. As a remedy that would allow Europe to navigate this turbulent geopolitical framework, González Laya put on the table the need to reform the Customs Union.

According to the expert, the Spanish Presidency is working on three lines of action to improve the Customs Union: putting companies at the center of policies, promoting more intelligent customs controls, and leveraging the boom in electronic commerce.

At the end of the presentation, there was an extensive question and answer session in which topics such as customs control between EU and non-EU countries, as well as the need to increase the visibility and importance of customs were raised.

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