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Enforcement and protection

The EU enforces trade rules on both the EU export markets and on the EU market.

Enforcing international trade rules

Removing trade barriers

The EU’s market access policies help create the best conditions for European firms to export worldwide and to make sure our trading partners follow international trade rules.

The EU monitors and tackles trade barriers in foreign markets and publishes its results in a yearly report.

Settling trade disputes

The EU enforces its rights under international rules alongside the EU’s trade agreements with partner countries.

Under the WTO
Under the EU’s bilateral trade agreements

Accessing government contracts in non-EU countries

The EU public procurement market is one of the most accessible in the world. However, EU companies do not have the same access when participating in tenders abroad.

Protecting European industry from unfair trade practices

Protecting through trade defence

The EU uses trade defence instruments to stop imports of artificially cheap goods from flooding the EU market. It imposes additional import duties so that competition is fair.

Current trade defence measures

Protecting EU innovations, creations, and brands

The Commission negotiates with trading partners to raise the standards of intellectual property in non-EU countries, protect the intellectual property of EU companies and to stop the trade in counterfeit and pirated goods and services.

The Commission also investigates the state of intellectual property rights in non-EU countries.

The EU's Counterfeit and Piracy Watch-List identifies online and physical marketplaces outside the EU, which are reported to engage in, facilitate or benefit from counterfeiting and piracy.

Investment screening

On 19 March 2019, the EU adopted a regulation to create a system to cooperate and exchange information on investments from non-EU countries that may affect security or public order.

The regulation will make sure that the EU is better equipped to protect its interests, while remaining among the world’s most open investment area.