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Frequently asked questions and answers

What is the Commission doing for companies in the EU to facilitate trade between them and companies in other countries?

The Commission tackles tariff and non-tariff barriers to trade in multilateral fora such as the World Trade Organisation (WTO) and through bilateral contacts with third parties.

The Commission negotiates on behalf of the 27 Member States in trade negotiations at the WTO. It is pressing hard for a successful outcome to the Doha Development Agenda round of trade negotiations.

The Commission is also working to reduce non-tariff barriers, either through multi-lateral bodies such as the United Nations Economic Commission for Europe (UNECE), or through bilateral negotiations. The link between the Commission's work to improve market access and its international cooperation in regulatory matters is explained in the 2008 Communication on the external dimension of the Lisbon Strategy for growth and jobs: reporting on market access and setting the framework for international regulatory cooperation.

Why are there different requirements for EU products in different countries outside the EU, and what is the Commission doing to minimise these diffe

In many cases, differences arise because different jurisdictions regulate independently, in order to meet genuine public interest safety concerns according to their own traditions.

The Commission seeks to reduce the impact of such differences by various means. For example, by harmonising regulations on mutual recognition agreements, or by reducing the cost to manufacturers of conformance testing under different national regulations through mechanisms, such as harmonising tests and the presentation of results.

Occasionally regulations may be drawn up which favour a national supplier. In such cases the Commission uses the tools available under the WTO agreement on Technical Barriers to Trade (TBT) to oppose such measures.

Why does the EU sometimes have to impose antidumping fees on imported goods?

Anti-dumping duties are imposed when imported products are sold in the EU at a price which is below the cost of manufacture, resulting in unfair competition to EU industry.

Typically, dumping occurs when a well-resourced company is attempting to eliminate competition by undercutting prices and forcing existing suppliers to withdraw from the market. Once competition is removed, prices quickly revert to previous, or higher levels, so there is no gain to consumers.

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