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, according to a new report by the U.S. International Trade Commission (USITC).
The publication Trade Barriers That U.S. Small and Medium-Sized Enterprises Perceive as Affecting Exports to the European Union
, was conducted on behalf of the U.S. Trade Representative and 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 said 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.
Meanwhile, a number of barriers reportedly constrain U.S. exports of agricultural products, with SMEs in the corn, dried fruit, animal feed, cheese and wheat industries citing 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.