Brussels, Jan 18 (IANS) The European Commission proposed on Friday the elimination of tariffs for industrial goods with the US in future trade talks. The proposal will need approval from the EU member states.
The EU-US trade in goods amounted to 633 billion euros (about $722 billion) in 2017, of which 598 billion euros were in industrial goods, according to a press release by the European Commission.
In general, both the EU and the US have low tariffs on industrial goods. The average tariff rates on non-agricultural products were 4.2 per cent and 3.1 per cent respectively, said the press release cited by Xinhua news agency.
“While applied tariffs levels are relatively low, the sheer size of our trade relationship means that the elimination of all tariffs of industrial goods will have an important impact on businesses and consumers on both sides of the Atlantic,” it said.
An internal analysis by the European Commission showed that if zero tariff on industrial goods comes true, EU exports of goods to the US would increase by 10 per cent and US exports to the EU would increase by 13 per cent.
In addition, the European Commission also proposed a conformity assessment that would help remove non-tariff barriers, by making it easier for companies to prove their products meet technical requirements on both sides of the Atlantic.
The EU and the US have their respective practices of conformity assessment to ensure that manufacturers can only place a product on the market when it meets all the applicable requirements, which may include testing, inspection and certification.
Differences in approaches to conformity assessment can result in additional costs and lengthy and complex administrative processes without necessarily improving the safety of products, according to the European Commission.
It added that the reduction in the costs of conformity assessment can bring significant economic benefits, in particular for small and medium-sized enterprises
The member states must now give their green light to the proposals before the EU-US negotiations can begin.
The proposals followed a joint EU-US statement in July 2018, in which the two sides agreed “to work together towards zero tariffs, zero non-tariff barriers, and zero subsidies on non-auto industrial goods”.
“The joint statement was adopted under exceptional circumstances, in order to avoid an escalation of trade tensions between the EU and the US,” the European Commission said on Friday in an official document.