EuroCommerce, the representative group for retail and wholesale in Europe, is calling on the EU to help the wholesale industry at a time of changing technological developments.
The organisation says that digital technology is transforming wholesale businesses, as with other sectors, and so new skills are needed to meet this challenge and contribute to a competitive EU economy.
“Wholesale is crucial for Europe's growth and employment," said Kenneth Bengtsson, president of EuroCommerce.
"Wholesale companies are at the heart of trade in goods and services worldwide, providing consumers with products from all corners of the world. We need the EU to help in dismantling barriers to market access and to make is easier for wholesalers to import and export goods and services.”
In response, MEP Brando Benifei said that the European Parliament is "committed to boosting the skills required" to transform the industry.
Speaking at the fifth annual Wholesale Day organised by EuroCommerce, Benifei noted that promoting digital skills will help workers and businesses adapt to new technologies.
"The EU New Skills Agenda therefore has a digital focus and will help increase the productivity and competitiveness of Europe’s workforce,” he added.
EuroCommerce is also calling on policymakers to recognise the contribution of B2B trade to growth, jobs and the economy in Europe, and set policies that help the sector to contribute in an efficient and productive way.
According to the organisation, wholesale in Europe represents almost two million companies, €6 trillion in annual turnover, and ten million jobs.
Bengtsson added that a focus on education would be beneficial to this industry.
“We need stronger partnerships between education providers and wholesale companies to provide the right skills for the sector and to make it easier for young people to make the transition into rewarding careers," he said.
"The sector is already doing its bit in providing a wide range of apprenticeships including training in skills in designing and using new technology.”
© 2017 European Supermarket Magazine – your source for the latest retail news. Article by Sarah Harford. Click subscribe to sign up to ESM: The European Supermarket Magazine.