There is an apparent trend towards greater use of trade restrictions imposed as a result of negotiated 'voluntary export restraints' both between governments and between enterprises. Such restraints on trade frequently involve enterprises in importing and exporting countries agreeing among themselves on future levels of imports and exports from the country whose exports are to be restrained; and the reaching of agreement by enterprises in the latter country on how the quantity agreed upon is to be shared out among them. In certain cases, agreement is also reached on the prices of such exports. Such restraints have continued in 'sensitive' areas such as steel, electronics, machine tools, and canned food, and have increased and strengthened in respect of motor vehicles. The actual extent of such restrictions is unknown because of the secrecy which surrounds them.
A voluntary export restraint agreement between Japan and the UK limits imports of Japanese cars to 11% (1992) and is considered a serious factor in higher retail car prices in Britain than other EEC/EU countries.