The latest edition of the Trade and Investment Barriers Report (TIBR) identifies 45 new trade barriers put in place in countries outside the EU in 2018, bringing the total number to a record high of 425 measures in 59 different countries, costing EU businesses billions of euros every year.
In the context of a growing number of trade tensions and protectionist measures around the world, Commissioner for Trade Cecilia Malmstroem said "making sure that the existing rules are respected is of utmost importance," promising that the EU would keep defending the interests of its companies in the global markets.
She added that the Commission had worked hard at eliminating trade barriers that arose. "Thanks to our successful interventions, 123 barriers hindering EU exports opportunities have been removed since I took office in late 2014. Working on specific problems reported by our companies we manage to deliver economic benefits equivalent in value to those brought by the EU's trade agreements. Those efforts certainly must continue."
China and Russia top the overall list, maintaining respectively 37 and 34 problematic trade measures. Most impact for EU exports arises from measures introduced by China, U.S., India and Algeria. These concern 80% of all EU exports affected by new measures and focus predominantly on steel, aluminium and Information and Communication Technology (ICT) sectors.
The EU's efforts to enforce the existing international trade rules are providing clear results, says the EU executive. Intervening in close collaboration with EU Member States and businesses under the EU's enhanced Market Access Strategy, the Commission says it eliminated last year as much as 35 trade barriers, among others in China, Japan, India and Russia.
The measures spanned across eight key EU export and investment sectors including agriculture and fisheries, cars, textiles and leather, wines and spirits, cosmetics, mineral products, aircraft parts and ICT equipment. Some of them also affected various sectors in a horizontal way.
Trade and investment barriers eliminated in 2018 included among others: Chinese restrictions on imports of bovine and ovine products; Russian unlawful anti-dumping measures on light commercial vehicles; Duties on electronic goods and mandatory veterinary certificates restricting exports of leather goods in India; Restrictions on use of authorized additives in wine and spirits in Japan; Mandatory labelling of textiles in Egypt.