Trade barriers still being used to block EU exports

Barriers that significantly hinder international trade and investment opportunities for EU companies, some including pigmeat business, are highlighted in the latest EU report on the issue, where they’re described as “concrete obstacles to trade”.

“It’s disappointing to see that so many obstacles to trade and investment persist,” said EU trade commissioner, Cecilia Malmström. “Now more than ever, determination is needed to level the playing field and get rid of barriers.”

According to the 5th annual edition of the EU’s trade and investment barriers report, Argentina, Brazil, China, India, Japan, Russia, and the United States are all still guilty of maintaining trade barriers, despite being described as the EU’s “strategic economic partners”.

The report lists major obstacles existing in each of these priority markets with Russia topping the offenders chart with seven cases mentioned, followed by China on six, India and Brazil with four each and Argentina and the US with three.

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 also seen in the report as a concern in a wider perspective, with several other countries, including China, reported to have adopted or to be contemplating similar measures.

On pigmeat, in particular, in addition to the obvious barriers to trade with Russia, the report identifies continuing problems in relation to business routes into Brazil.

“In the field of sanitary and phytosanitary measures (SPS), there has been some, albeit insufficient, progress with regard to imports of dairy, pork and beef from the EU into Brazil,” states the report.

“The competent Brazilian authority performs three to five audits per year and has started audits in some EU member states, but the backlog related to 50 applications submitted by member states remains the main concern. Overall, Brazil still has a lengthy, burdensome and unpredictable SPS procedure to allow imports from EU member states.”

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