A Commission's report underlines that the struggle against protectionism continues

The Trade and Investment Barriers Report that will be presented to the European Council on 14-15 March 2013, shows that the efforts of the European Commission to fight protectionism over the last year bear fruit and could create better trade and investment conditions for EU companies. However, the Commission also stressed that the struggle against protectionism continues.

The European Commission published the Trade and Investment Barriers Report which shows that in 2012 achieved progress towards eliminating some of the most trade distortive barriers hindering global activities of EU companies. As examples, the EU victory in the WTO case against China on access to raw materials brings to an end a fundamental disadvantage affecting the competitiveness of the European industries; Many years of difficult negotiations over the Russian accession to the WTO resulted last year in the significant lowering of import duties; And the EU trade diplomacy made progress toward the opening of the Indian market to EU telecommunication equipment, tyres and steel products. Also the bilateral discussions conducted with Japan are making it easier for EU producers of liquor, beef meat and processed foods to respond to the Japanese appetite. Through the report published in 2012, the Commission called to remove barriers in relations with its trading partners.

The report also shows that not all of the 25 key trade and investment barriers identified by the European Commission last year could be satisfactorily addressed. Several long-standing obstacles, together with a number of new trade-distortive measures taken by our partners in 2012, still stand in the way of European companies looking for markets outside the EU. For example, the Commission highlighted that Chinese investment barriers persist.

The Commission pointed out that it will continue to ensure that the EU's trading partners stick to their commitments and keep their markets open. Firstly, it will use the trade diplomacy instrument, leveraging on EU's global network of Delegations and working closely with the EU Member States. Secondly, it will use the WTO's Dispute Settlement Mechanism and the EU's presence in WTO Committees to enforce international trade rules. The European Commission also stressed that it will use negotiations for bilateral trade agreements and WTO accessions to address certain specific trade disruptive measures in third countries.