The European Commission has released a report highlighting the scale of American trade barriers that impede European Union (EU) clothing and textile exports to the US.

Brussels and Washington have been discussing outstanding tariff, subsidy and bureaucratic problems through a Transatlantic Economic Council.

But a new Commission-published US Barriers to Trade and Investment Report for 2008 stressed "there still exist trade barriers and differences that hinder trade and investment."

The apparel trade is widely mentioned, with Brussels complaining that "extensive product description requirements complicate EU textile exports to the US and result in additional costs".

It noted: "Rules are burdensome for marking and labelling retail packages to clarify the country of origin; ultimate purchaser in the US; and the…country [where] the article was manufactured or produced."

These rules are toughened through requirements for the typology/physical characteristic of clothing labels (size, font used, etc). These standards differ from those in the EU, meaning "special labels are needed…"

By Keith Nuthall.