Enterprise and Industrial Policy
Most policy interventions, be they to improve the environment, health, social or economic wellbeing, involve actions on the part of one or more business sectors or industries to deliver them. Particularly where a new policy or a policy change is likely to affect the cost of inputs, the price of goods and the overall competitive position of firms (and potentially the wider competitiveness of the EU), there is a need to ensure that proper account is made of the impacts on industry and enterprise when trying to determine the most appropriate policy to put in place.
Since 2010, the European Commission has integrated the assessment of impacts on industrial competitiveness into the overall analyses of economic, environmental and social impacts of new policy proposals and the ‘Competitiveness Proofing Toolkit’ sets out the approaches that must be used. Competitiveness proofing specifically addresses the impacts of interventions on enterprise competitiveness and the toolkit outlines three dimensions of competitiveness that warrant consideration in any policy assessment: cost competitiveness, international competitiveness and the capacity to innovate. The relevant analytical framework for assessing competitiveness includes an assessment of sectoral inputs, structure and processes; external factors (e.g. market demand and supply); competitive benchmarks; and the impacts of regulatory initiatives and other framework conditions. The SME market share is also an important indicator to be considered in regards to the likely impact of any proposal on competitiveness, especially if the impacts on competitiveness are much more pronounced for SMEs.
As a result of this, as well as the more general need to capture all of the impacts of a policy, programme or project, most of RPA’s appraisal work involves assessing the impacts of proposals on enterprise and industry as well as on the issues that are the main target of the proposals for policy changes. Owing to this, we have conducted studies of the impacts on enterprise and industry across a very wide range of sectors including chemicals, tourism, manufacture of electronic and electrical goods, automotive industries, fisheries, energy, renewables, cosmetics, pharmaceuticals, steel, plastics, agribusiness, waste, water, nano technology, polymers and many more.
Such work requires considerable skill and adaptability when it comes to understanding both the overall markets and the specific processes operating in each sector. Engagement and consultation with stakeholders is essential to promoting understanding and we use a range of different techniques and approaches to achieve this. This can involve direct contact with individuals and organisations through face-to-face meetings, workshops and drop-in sessions, telephone discussions and video conferences, email contact, questionnaires and surveys or preparation of dissemination materials.
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