Non-Tariff Trade Barriers Should Be in Focus of TTIP Talks, ESC Says

The elimination of non-tariff trade barriers will have enormous positive effects on the European economy. The European Shippers’ Council (ESC) therefore wants that to be one of the main topics of the new free trade agreement that is presently being negotiated between the European Union and the United States.

The ESC, representing the freight transport interests (by all modes of transport) of business in Europe, made its statement today at the sixth round of the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) negotiations in Brussels.

When it comes to trade facilitation, the primary concern of European companies is the extensive increase of measures imposed for supply chain security, both by the EU and the US, ESC said.

Although it is understandable that the past few years have seen an increase in safety and security measures, the ESC believes that the requirements imposed on business should be proportionate.

Strict export control rules the US imposes, in particular result in high administrative burdens on trade. Companies often have to spend over 40,000 euros or more annually to comply and the total cost for safety and security measures ad up to almost eleven percent of total trade cost.

The ESC wants both governments to make use of security measures that are already internally taken by businesses, motivated by the nature of their goods. The ESC added that non-tariff trade barriers can also be reduced by improving cooperation between border authorities, both on the operational side as well as on data exchange.

The ESC reported earlier that non-tariff trade barriers hinder economic growth. In the WTO Doha Round a deal on trade facilitation accounted for approximately forty percent of the total package benefits. Similar benefits could be achieved by a comprehensive and ambitious deal on trade facilitation in TTIP.

Press Release, July 16th, 2014

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