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EU publishes annual report on U.S. trade, investment barriers
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08:46, July 28, 2009

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The European Commission Monday published its 2008 annual report on barriers to trade and investment in the United States, focusing on some key trade barriers and measures that prevent EU exporters from tapping into the full potential of the U.S. market.

"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," said the European Union (EU)'s executive body in a statement.

The report noted some continuing concerns and highlighted a number of new barriers introduced in 2008.

It reiterated 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.

The report also highlighted problems arising from the complexity of U.S. regulatory systems and regulatory divergences with the EU, which can represent an important structural impediment to market access, the statement noted.

Regarding barriers which have been introduced or reinforced in 2008, the report included 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 report also mentioned positive outcomes in the long-running dispute over hormone-treated beef and in the EU-U.S. first-stage Air Transport Agreement, which creates new opportunities for EU air carriers to operate in the United States.

The EU and the United States share the largest bilateral trading partnership worldwide, with 33 percent of world trade in goods and 44 percent of world trade in services, according to the Commission.

In 2008, the EU had a surplus of 63 billion euros (89.9 billion U.S. dollars) in goods trade with the United States, importing 186 billion euros (265.4 dollars) while exporting 249 billion euros (355.2 dollars).

Trade in services has continued to grow in both directions, with total trade in services more than 266 billion euros (379.6 dollars), according to 2007 figures, with an EU surplus of 11 billion euros (15.7 dollars).

The United States is also the leading overseas destination for EU investment.


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