Trade and Investment Barriers Report 2011

April 14, 2011 at 7:00 am

ENGAGING OUR STRATEGIC ECONOMIC PARTNERS ON IMPROVED MARKET ACCESS:
PRIORITIES FOR ACTION ON BREAKING DOWN BARRIERS TO TRADE

As the world’s largest trading bloc and as the most important source and destination of foreign direct investment, the EU has an inherent interest in ensuring an open and fair global trading system. This interest can only grow in the years to come – by 2015, 90% of world growth will be generated outside Europe. The European economy needs to seize the opportunity of higher levels of growth abroad, in particular in Asia.

A key message of the new EU trade strategy

1 is that in parallel to the negotiating agenda, our renewed trade policy must take a more assertive approach, not least to ensure that European companies are not deprived of legitimate market access opportunities and that our rights are properly enforced to ensure a level–playing field. The Commission will be focused and toughvin pursuing this agenda. The Commission is also determined to continue the fight against protectionism. Indeed, it is precisely because the EU believes in the benefits of open markets at home and abroad that the EU needs to engage its partners on matching its efforts, in a spirit of reciprocity and mutual benefit2.

Helping European companies gain access to third country markets has been and continues to be an essential element of the EU’s trade policy, but the EU needs to step up its efforts. It is well established that today’s main trade policy challenge does not primarily lay in cutting tariffs for goods, but in overcoming regulatory barriers, gaining better market access for services and investment, opening public procurement markets, better protecting and enforcing Intellectual Property Rights (IPR), and tackling unjustified barriers hampering the sustainable supply of raw materials. More generally it needs to be ensured that trade contributes to sustainable development, taking into account the social impacts of barriers to trade. Studies show that the EU’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP) could be boosted by more than half of one per cent if we complete our bilateral and multilateral negotiating agenda.

3 Yet, this figure can be doubled if the EU makes real progress on non-tariff barriers (NTBs) and regulatory issues with its major trade partners such as the US and China.4 Trade policy can and must make a major contribution to jobs and growth. Read more. European  Commission,

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