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Accessing markets | Brussels, 19 March 2015

Trade and investment barriers persist despite prospects of global recovery, says EU report

The EU’s strategic economic partners – Argentina, Brazil, China, India, Japan, Russia, and the United States – maintain a variety of barriers that significantly hinder international trade and investment opportunities of EU companies. This is the conclusion of the fifth edition of the EU’s Trade and Investment Barriers Report (TIBR) presented today, identifying concrete obstacles to trade.

"After years of turmoil, the global economy is improving. In these conditions, it's disappointing to see so many obstacles to trade and investment persist. Now more than ever, determination is needed to level the playing field and get rid of barriers," EU Trade Commissioner Cecilia Malmström said.

The European Commission works towards this aim using a combination of different tools under the EU Market Access Strategy - negotiation, advocacy and enforcement of the existing rules.

Report's main findings

The report lists all major obstacles identified in the EU's priority markets. With 7 cases mentioned in the report Russia tops the list. China follows closely with 6 cases. The report outlines also 4 barriers both for India and Brazil and 3 cases respectively for Argentina and the US.

Barriers identified in the report include requirements to use locally-produced goods, or to be based in a country as a condition to obtain certain advantages. Discriminatory taxes and subsidies for domestic producers in Brazil or a new law in Russia requiring personal data to be stored on a local server are some examples of highly trade-distortive practices. This trend is a concern in a wider perspective, as several other countries – including China - have adopted or are contemplating similar measures.

The report also identifies a high number of sanitary and food-related barriers that persist in Brazil, China, the US and Russia, and highlights intellectual property rights issues in China and the US.

Background

The Trade and Investment Barriers Report is part of a broader EU trade enforcement strategy set out in the 2010 Commission Communication "Trade, Growth and World Affairs". A new report has been presented to the European Council every spring since 2011. Its purpose is to assess progress towards the elimination of trade and investment barriers faced by European companies and to point out actions taken by the European Commission to secure access to global markets for European firms.

For more information

Trade and Investment Barriers Report 2015
The Market Access Strategy