Report "The Use of the EU’s Free Trade Agreements: Exporter and Importer Utilization of Preferential Tariffs"

15/09/2020

Date: 2018

By: National Board of Trade Sweden and the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD)

In the last few decades, there has been a proliferation of free trade agreements on a global level. The European Union (EU) is one of the most prolific negotiators in recent years. Even though the scope and depth vary across the free trade agreements, they all have the overarching purpose of reducing or removing tariffs and other obstacles to trade between the partner countries. 

The issue of free trade negotiations has increasingly become the focus of the trade policy agenda. As such, it is increasingly important to base negotiating proposals and policy decisions on empirical data and objective facts. This report – prepared in collaboration between the National Board of Trade Sweden and the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) – constitutes a first effort to analyse the use of tariff preferences in free trade agreements from both parties and from both an exporter and importer perspective. The observations and findings are based on the EU’s free trade agreements with a number of developed and developing countries. The EU is one of the principal negotiators of free trade agreements on a global level and one of the few free trade parties where data on preference utilization is – more or less – publicly available. The findings may, however, be relevant for all free trade agreements in force and under negotiation.

UNCTAD and the National Board of Trade Sweden hope that the report “The Use of the EU’s Free Trade Agreements: Exporter and Importer Utilization of Preferential Tariffs” will inspire progress in the analysis of preference utilization of free trade agreements based on empirical evidence in the future.

The publication is attached in the file below: