The EU enjoys the status of a global trade powerhouse. It is thereby uniquely positioned to shape the development of a rules-based global trading system and influence its external growth. The document is a summary of the conference on "Strengthening European Growth and Competitiveness: Proactive Trade Agenda – NOW!" that took place in Helsinki on 26 October. The participants identified major opportunities and challenges standing in the way of trade and espoused forward-looking global agreements based on transparency and the significant role for business.