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Accessing markets

The European Union wants to make sure that accessing foreign markets is made easier for everyone.

The Market Access Database helps EU businesses export worldwide by providing information on market access conditions.

The Market Access Database brochure (other languages)

Fight against protectionism

The Market Access Strategy is part of the EU's efforts to create the best possible conditions for European firms to export around the world and to make sure international trade rules are enforced.

The 2018 eighth annual Trade and Investment Barriers Report (TIBR), analyses trade and investment barriers reported by businesses and Member States to the Commission through the Market Access Partnership.

The main findings of this report were that:

  1. protectionism is on the rise
  2. the EU's Market Access Strategy is tackling barriers

The report also revealed that:

  • 396 such barriers were in place at the end of 2017 across the world
  • European exporters reported 67 new obstacles in 2017 that could affect EU exports that are currently worth around €23 billon.

The report also confirmed that, as part of the EU's enhanced Market Access Strategy, 45 obstacles were lifted in 2017 – a record number and more than twice as many as in 2016.

This was possible due to effective cooperation between the Commission, EU Member States and European business representatives through the EU Market Access Strategy and improved relations with trading partners under the EU's recent trade agreements.

The EU main market access policies

Goods and services in the EU's export markets

The EU's market access strategy, removing of tariff barriers and non-tariff barriers such as technical barriers to trade and sanitary and phytosanitary measures.

Public procurement

Public procurement rules in EU trade deals, revision of global trade rules.

EU intellectual property protection & enforcement in non-EU countries

Intellectual property rights in world trade, patents, access to medicines, enforcement, geographical indications (GIs).

Rules on investment

The EU's investment policy, statistics, info on the new investment court system, EU membership of international investment groups.

Defending the EU market against unfair trade

Includes trade defence against unfair subsidies and dumping.

Taking action during international trade disputes

Bilateral dispute settlement rules, WTO-specific dispute settlement procedures, investment dispute rules.