Brussels, 27 July 2009 - The European Commission has published its annual report on barriers to trade and investment in the United States. The report focuses on some key trade barriers and measures that prevent EU exporters from tapping into the full potential of the US market. It notes some continuing concerns and highlights a number of new barriers introduced in 2008.
Only a small proportion of EU-US trade is affected by trade disputes, but raising and addressing these issues helps to boost confidence in the transatlantic marketplace and allows exporters to reap the full benefits available.
The report highlights positive outcomes in the long-running dispute over hormone-treated beef and in the EU-US first-stage Air Transport Agreement, which creates new opportunities for EU air carriers to operate in the US.
The report reiterates concerns about U.S. legislation governing ports and freight, in particular with respect to the potential costs of the scanning requirement and its impact on EU supply chains. It also highlights problems arising from the complexity of US regulatory systems and regulatory divergences with the EU which can represent an important structural impediment to market access.
Regarding barriers which have been introduced or reinforced in 2008, the report includes details on registration and documentation procedures (Lacey Act), government procurement (Buy America provisions), tariff barriers (multilayer parquet) and sanitary and phytosanitary measures (dairy import assessment).
The European Union and the United States share the largest bilateral trading partnership worldwide, with 33% of world trade in goods and 44% of world trade in services. In 2008, the EU had a surplus of €63 billion in goods trade with the US, importing EUR186 billion while exporting EUR249 billion. Trade in services has continued to grow in both directions, with total trade in services more than EUR266 billion (2007 figures), with an EU surplus of EUR11 billion. The US is also the leading overseas destination for EU investment.