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Export from EU | Brussels, 15 December

European Commission and EU Member States redouble efforts to fully exploit trade deals and boost market access for EU exporters

The European Commission and EU Member States joined forces today as they agreed to redouble their efforts to tackle non-tariff measures and red tape that hamper EU exports. Today’s move represents the first concrete action taken under the Enhanced Partnership for Implementation – a joint strategy bringing together the Commission, business, and national governments to help European exporters get the most from EU trade deals.

In 2014 EU action to remove trade barriers in third countries already generated additional exports of €2.4 billion, supporting about 30,000 jobs and equivalent to the benefits of a medium-sized free trade agreement.

But a joint report published today by the European Commission and the Geneva-based International Trade Centre (ITC) reveals there are still problems. The report, entitled “Navigating non-tariff measures: insights from a business survey in the European Union”, also shows that, against a backdrop of slowing growth in trade and increasing protectionism, removing increasing trade barriers abroad is more important than ever. Sounding out more than 8000 export-oriented businesses, the report highlights that non-tariff measures and red tape are at the heart of lost opportunities on international markets, often obtained through hard-fought trade negotiations.

EU start-ups, and especially other innovative and knowledge-intensive small and medium-sized firms, find these trade barriers erode their competitive edge. While 80% of barriers are in third countries, 20% of complaints by EU business concern burdensome procedures at home. The role of Member States is therefore key in tackling such barriers.

Today’s decision will focus efforts on removing the most important barriers, coordinating trade diplomacy, eliminating obstacles at home, and help for business to make full use of the opportunities EU trade agreements offer.


Navigating non-tariff measures: insights from a business survey in the European Union
- Publication, December 2016