08 Feb 2021

Multilateral cooperation behind the trade war headlines

How much trade is freed up?

Lucian Cernat / David Boucher

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This paper highlights the importance of multilateral cooperation as an avenue for tackling technical barriers to trade (TBTs). These non-tariff barriers are some of the most prevalent affecting global trade. While the US-China trade war and its tariff escalation was grabbing headlines, multilateral cooperation was happening behind the scenes. The World Trade Organisation (WTO) TBT Committee has spent the past decade removing €80 billion worth of unnecessary trade costs affecting EU exports. This paper advocates the need for a renewed multilateral impetus in addressing TBT concerns as part of our post-Covid global recovery.