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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)

Fighting protectionism and trade barriers

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 ensure enforcement of international trade rules.

The seventh edition of the annual Trade and Investment Barriers Report (TIBR), published in June 2017, analyses trade and investment barriers reported by businesses and Member States to the Commission through the Market Access Partnership.

The main findings of the report were that:

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

In more detail, the report revealed that in 2016:

  • 372 barriers were in place in over 50 trade destinations across the world
  • European exporters reported 36 new obstacles that could affect EU exports that are currently worth around €27 billon
  • G20 members figure prominently among countries having created the highest number of import obstacles. Russia, Brazil, China and India top the list
  • most of the new protectionist measures reported appeared in Russia and India, followed by Switzerland, China, Algeria and Egypt

The report also confirmed that the Commission removed as many as 20 different obstacles in 2016 affecting European exports worth €4.2 billion, mainly in South Korea, China, Israel and Ukraine.

The food and drink (such as canned peachesor wine and spirits), automotive and cosmeticssectors benefited the most from EU action.

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.