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News article31 March 2022BrusselsDirectorate-General for Trade1 min read

EU knocks down barriers to exports of ceramic tiles

As of today, 31 March 2022, EU exporters of ceramic tiles will no longer need to undergo redundant testing or product audits when they export to Saudi Arabia, meaning exporting will become cheaper, faster and more predictable. 

The EU secured a commitment from Saudi Arabia on the latter’s removal of a number of obstacles currently affecting the import of ceramic tiles.

This commitment is the result of a constructive engagement between the EU and Saudi Arabia in the framework of a Trade Barrier Regulation (TBR) case opened in 2020 following a complaint lodged by European industry. The Commission will monitor the implementation of Saudi Arabia’s commitment to ensure completeness before any potential closing of the TBR case.

Third countries are an important market for EU ceramic tiles. Saudi Arabia is a notable export destination, representing 2.8% of EU tile exports and sales of €100 million in 2019. A 2021 Commission examination found that Saudi Arabia’s technical regulations were hindering 75% to 80% of EU exports of ceramic tiles, affecting SMEs in particular.


Part of the EU’s trade rules enforcement arsenal, the Trade Barriers Regulation is a legal instrument that gives EU companies, industries, associations and Member States the right to lodge a complaint with the Commission about trade barriers in third countries. If the complaint fulfils the criteria for admission, the Commission then examines the case to determine whether there is evidence of violations of international trade rules resulting in adverse trade effects or injury, and whether it is in the EU’s interest to act. If the procedure concludes that action is necessary to ensure the respect of international trade rules and to remove the injury caused, appropriate measures can be taken, which may include the initiation of dispute settlement proceedings.

For more information

Trade Barriers Regulation

Trade Barrier Investigations

Working Approaches to Implementation and Enforcement


Publication date
31 March 2022
Directorate-General for Trade
Country or region
  • Gulf region
Trade topics
  • Actions against exports from the EU
  • Trade defence