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EU Report Identifies US Trade Barriers

The European Union (EU) said on Thursday that further US efforts to eliminate trade and investment barriers would strengthen the transatlantic economic relationship.  

In its 12th annual report on barriers to trade and investment in the United States, the EU executive European Commission said that further transatlantic economic integration is the key to realizing fully the competitive potential of both economies.


"Continued EU-US cooperation will yield significant economic benefits by creating additional trade and investment opportunities," it added.


One of the main problems the report identifies is the Byrd Amendment Act. In November 2004 the EU obtained the WTO (World Trade Organization) Dispute Settlement Body's authorization to impose counter measures on US products. The United States has not yet taken action to bring its law into WTO compliance.


The EU is also concerned that the new US methodology to apply countervailing duty to privatized companies is still not WTO compatible. At the EU's request the WTO Dispute Settlement Body established a compliance panel on this question in September 2004.


Other new developments in the course of the last year have also aroused concern in the EU. In 2004 the United States unilaterally withdrew from the 1992 EU-US Agreement on Trade in Large Civil Aircraft, despite the lack of any legal justification for doing so.     


In the Beef Hormones dispute, Washington has still not lifted its retaliatory measures against EU exporters or taken any action to challenge the WTO compatibility of the new EU Hormones directive that brought the EU legislation into WTO compliance.


The Commission remains concerned that a number of US national security measures that were adopted in response to terrorist threats have unnecessarily distorting effects on trade.


The implementation of the Bioterrorism Act, and in particular the food related provisions of this legislation, have far reaching implications for EU agricultural exporters.


In the area of public procurement, the US government continued in 2004 to award prime contracts for the reconstruction of Iraq only to companies from the United States, Iraq, coalition partners and force contributing nations.


The European Union and the United States are each other's main trading partners and account for the largest bilateral trade relationship in the world. In the year 2002, the total amount of two-way investment amounts to over 1.5 trillion euros (about US$2 trillion).


In the year 2003, EU exports to the United States amounted to 220 billion euros (about US$290 billion), while imports amounted to 151 billion euros (about US$200 billion).


(Xinhua News Agency December 24, 2004)

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