European companies generated €8 billion in additional exports in 2019, according to the European Commission's annual Trade and Investment Barriers Report, but the year saw a continuing rise in the number of new restrictions.

Trade Commissioner Phil Hogan said: “We have been facing a worrying sea change in world trade. Barriers affect EU export sectors of particular importance and obstacles spread across regions. While we focus all our efforts on the post-COVID economic recovery, this calls for new impetus to enforcement.”

The 10th (2019) edition of the Trade and Investment Barriers Report can be found at https://trade.ec.europa.eu/doclib/docs/2020/june/tradoc_158789.pdf.

It highlights a number of successes for the Commission as beef exporters from France, Ireland and the Netherlands regained access to China while Dutch pork producers can now export to Mexico.

On the negative side, the total number of existing trade barriers around the word now amounts to 438, out of which 43 were introduced in the year under review by 22 different countries.

The highest number of trade restrictions concern access to the Chinese and Russian markets (respectively 38 and 31 measures). China also imposed the highest number of new restrictions in 2019, followed by South Mediterranean and Middle Eastern countries.

Given the need to step up enforcement efforts in the area of trade, Mr Hogan announced, a Chief Trade Enforcement Officer will soon be nominated to coordinate and steer all EU enforcement actions.

This will include the establishment of a single entry point for trade enforcement issues to respond faster and more effectively to trade restrictive practices by EU trading partners.

The Commission report includes a chapter devoted to problems with the United States, emphasising the need for a strong EU-US partnership but detailing the growth of trade tensions between the two.

Last reviewed 24 June 2020