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USITC — Trade Barriers that U.S. SMEs Perceive as Affecting Exports to the EU

April 4, 2014 Comments off

Trade Barriers that U.S. SMEs Perceive as Affecting Exports to the EU
Source: U.S. International Trade Commission

Standards and a variety of other trade barriers in the European Union disproportionately affect the exports of U.S. small and medium-sized enterprises more than those of large firms, reports the U.S. International Trade Commission (USITC) in its new publication Trade Barriers that U.S. Small and Medium-Sized Enterprises Perceive as Affecting Exports to the European Union.

The USITC, an independent, nonpartisan, factfinding federal agency, completed the report for the U.S. Trade Representative.

As requested, the report catalogs trade-related barriers that U.S. small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) and related industry associations reported as limiting their exports to the European Union (EU). Highlights of the report follow.

SMEs explained that many EU trade barriers, particularly those related to standards and regulations, affect their exports. They stated that complying with EU regulations and procedures are costly for all firms, but potentially prohibit SMEs from exporting to the EU because such costs are often the same regardless of a firm’s size or export revenue. Other difficulties that were cited include protection of trade secrets, high patenting costs, and logistics challenges, especially customs requirements, inconsistent Harmonized System classifications, and the EU’s value-added tax system.

  • SMEs and related industry associations described many industry-specific barriers. For example:
  • SMEs in the chemical industry frequently cited the high cost of complying with the EU chemical regulation (Registration, Evaluation, Authorisation and Restriction of Chemicals or REACH).
  • SMEs exporting cosmetics expressed difficulties meeting the EU’s cosmetics directive.
  • SME clothing exporters said that they were disproportionately affected by the recent EU retaliatory additional duties on U.S. exports of women’s denim jeans.
  • SMEs producing machinery, electronic, transportation, and other goods cited a lack of harmonized international standards and mutual recognition for conformity assessment, as well as problems complying with technical regulations and conformity assessment procedures.

A number of barriers reportedly constrain U.S. exports of agricultural products. SMEs and industry groups in the corn, dried fruit, animal feed, cheese, and wheat industries cited high tariffs, stringent and inconsistent EU rules and testing mandates, lack of a science-based regulatory focus (especially for genetically modified traits), lack of harmonization between U.S. and EU standards, and the EU’s protected designations of origin (PDOs). The U.S. poultry and lamb industries reported that they are effectively banned from exporting to the EU.
U.S. services SMEs in the healthcare, engineering, testing, and audiovisual industries highlighted a lack of mutual recognition of licensing, credentials, and standards, as well as issues with broadcasting and film quotas, language dubbing requirements, government subsidies, and safeguarding intellectual property.
In certain industries, SMEs or industry associations also provided suggestions for increasing U.S. SME transatlantic trade with the EU and, at times, stories of successfully exporting to the EU.

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Econometric Estimates of the Effects of NAFTA: A Review of the Literature

January 6, 2014 Comments off

Econometric Estimates of the Effects of NAFTA: A Review of the Literature (PDF)
Source: U.S. International Trade Commission, Office of Economics

This paper reviews a series of econometric studies of the impact of the North American Free Trade Agreement on the economies of Mexico, Canada, and the United States. It highlights eleven papers from the last decade that vary in the economic outcomes analyzed (trade flows, wages, employment, productivity, investment, and income in one or more of the countries) and in the statistical methodologies and types of data that are utilized.

USITC Releases Shifts in U.S. Merchandise Trade 2010

August 19, 2011 Comments off

USITC Releases Shifts in U.S. Merchandise Trade 2010
Source: U.S. International Trade Commission

Shifts in U.S. Merchandise Trade 2010, an annual compendium of data and analysis examining changes in trade with key U.S. partners and in important U.S. industries, was released today by the U.S. International Trade Commission (USITC).

The USITC, an independent, nonpartisan, factfinding federal agency, releases the information in a web-based format that provides details and reasons for key shifts in trade and that can be searched by country or industry group and subgroup.

Shifts in U.S. Merchandise 2010 can be accessed at http://www.usitc.gov/publications/332/pub4245.pdf (PDF).

Users will find a comprehensive review of U.S. trade performance in 2010, focusing on changes in U.S. exports, imports, and trade balances of agricultural and manufacturing industries; key natural resources; and changes in U.S. trade with major partners and country groups. Also included are profiles of the U.S. industry and market for over 250 industry groups and subgroups, featuring data for 2006-10 on consumption, production, employment, and trade.

The report examines:

  • industry developments and the principal drivers influencing trends in U.S. trade;
  • leading products the United States exported to and imported from its most important trading partners, and the key factors influencing trade in these products;
  • price fluctuations, increased global consumption of energy-related products, greater consumer access to financing for the purchase of durable products, and other major factors affecting U.S. trade in 2010.
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