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Internal Market, Industry, Entrepreneurship and SMEs

Barriers to trade

2015/1535 notification procedure

The 2015/1535 notification procedure allows the European Commission and EU countries to examine technical regulations for products and information society services (online services including e-commerce) that other EU countries intend to introduce.

TBT notification procedure

The TBT notification procedure helps prevent the creation of international technical barriers to trade. It was introduced by the Agreement on Technical Barriers to Trade (the TBT Agreement), a multilateral agreement administered by the World Trade Organisation (WTO).

Physical barriers to trade

To ensure the free movement of goods and prevent the creation of physical barriers to trade, an early warning mechanism was established. The Rapid Intervention Mechanism enables the sharing of information on obstacles between all EU countries.

New or changing technical regulations in different countries can create unnecessary and unjustified technical barriers to trade. Discrepancies between product rules can impose additional costs on exporting enterprises and restrict inter-EU trade. The European Commission’s objective is to prevent the creation of these barriers and help enterprises trade freely in the EU and beyond.

To help prevent the creation of technical barriers to trade, the Commission manages two notification procedures:

The benefits of the notifications procedures:

The two notification procedures allow for the examination of any national technical regulation before it is adopted. This allows the Commission and EU countries to:

  • detect barriers to trade and protectionist measures before they have negative effects
  • make notified drafts compatible with EU law and WTO rules
  • create an effective dialogue
  • engage with economic operators to make sure their voice is heard and give them time to adapt their activities to future regulations
  • identify harmonisation needs.

The Directorate-General (DG) for Internal market, Industry, Entrepreneurship and SMEs coordinates the two procedures, consults all other relevant DGs, and prepares responses to ensure the compatibility of national technical regulations with EU law and WTO rules. Industry and other stakeholders are welcome to contribute to both procedures by sending their concerns to the Commission.

Links to databases: