All tariff and non-tariff barriers between the European Union and Japan and the US should be dismantled, clothing and textile organisation Euratex has told negotiators.

At a lunch in the European Parliament organised by International Trade Committee chairman Prof Vital Moreira, Euratex president Alberto Paccanelli said EU negotiators should strive for duty free access to both countries “without exceptions”.

They should also aim for harmonisation and mutual recognition in talks over non-tariff barriers, Euratex added.

According to Euratex, the US is the second biggest EU market for textiles and clothing, worth more than EUR4.5bn (US$6.08bn) a year, and the top textiles export destination.

Meanwhile, Japan ranks seventh for textiles and clothing at almost EUR1.9bn, and fifth for clothing alone.

But Paccanelli said there was still potential for growth in both markets, adding: “The US market is highly price-sensitive and this is one of the reasons why tariffs remain an effective barrier to EU exports…On the other end, Japan is a market where the main hurdle is not tariffs, but the non-tariff barriers.”

A trade agreement that scraps barriers could add 2.5-3.5% a year in terms of export growth, on top of normal growth rates, Paccanelli said.