Cost of Transatlantic Non-Tariff Barriers     Print

A major new study documents the potential extra economic growth available on both sides of the Atlantic if the remaining non-tariff trade barriers were eliminated between the U.S. and the European Union.

The 700-page study, “Non-Tariff Barriers to Trade and Investment between the U.S. and the EU,” analyzed 23 sectors of the transatlantic economy and concluded that roughly 50 % of the remaining restrictions could be eliminated. That step could push up EU gross domestic product by 0.8 per cent by 20018 while gross domestic product would rise 0.3 percent in the U.S. over the same period.

U.S. exports would rise by a higher percentage (6.1 percent) than EU exports (2.1 %), but the overall impact would bring improvement to the EU and the U.S. trade balances, the study said, noting that special arrangements could be made sector by sector to balance the benefits of non-tariff barrier dismantlement since some sectors are more protected than others.

The report can be read at: http://trade.ec.europa.eu/doclib/docs/2009/december/tradoc_145613.pdf

It represents a preliminary effort to identify the issues which the EU and the U.S. would need to address across the board as part of a new Transatlantic Agenda aimed at resurrecting prospects for Transatlantic Free Trade Area. This idea, TAFTA, has been discussed in European Affairs articles available on this website (use the search function).

As an overall goal, such an ambitious project has never been accepted on both sides of the Atlantic. Now, however, discussions are under way about a progressive approach in the form of discussions similar to the negotiations at the World Trade Organization: this technique is designed to facilitate trade-offs on benefits and sacrifices across a multiplicity of trade sectors.

The economic analysis was conducted by ECORYS Nederland BV, and the study was financed by the European Commission and released on December 11. The U. S. member of the Steering Committee for the project was Dan Hamilton, Director of the Center for Transatlantic Relations Johns Hopkins University SAIS.

The European Institute will monitor these developments and continue reporting on them on our website. Direct information can be obtained by contacting jattinger@europeaninstitute.org.