Now more than ever is the time to break down trade barriers
Posted, December 14, 2011 @ 09:00
The current crisis affords the EU with a golden opportunity to lead the world in breaking down all barriers to trade, including non-tariff barriers, Robert Sturdy MEP, said today after his report on the subject was overwhelmingly backed by the European Parliament.
Mr Sturdy's report sets out proposals that would help remove or reduce unjustified non-tariff barriers (NTBs) and regulatory obstacles to trade, such as export subsidies, anti-dumping, packaging and labelling conditions, product standards, intellectual property conflicts or lengthy customs procedures.
In his report, Sturdy proposes the EU leads by example by reviewing its own NTBs so that it can then raise other partners' NTBs in negotiations, particularly regarding Free Trade Agreements. Sturdy also calls for High Level Dialogues to be more commonplace between the EU and trading partners so that international standards can be converged and potential disputes avoided.
Sturdy's recommendations will now feed in to the commission's annual report on NTBs which will be published in March 2012.
Speaking after today's vote, Mr Sturdy, who is ECR international trade spokesman and Vice-President of the trade committee, said:
"Removing, or at least restricting, NTBs should be a top trade priority of the EU this decade. To only see the immediate tariff-based obstacles to trade misses the wider point that even if we did away with tariffs tomorrow there would still be barriers to overcome for a business wishing to trade globally.
"EU businesses should now be able to feel the benefit of the opportunities that are available in the global marketplace without unnecessary red tape or governmental interference.
"Breaking down the barriers to trade across the globe should be a top priority for the EU."