The European Commission has implemented a renewed Market Access Strategy to tackle barriers to trade and investment. The strategy involves the creation of specialised Working Groups in Brussels and Market Access Teams on the ground in key third-country markets to deal with specific trade barriers. The teams rely on co-operation between member state representative bodies - including The Department for International Trade - the local European Union (EU) delegation and businesses to push for the removal of the barriers in question. They establish a best practice approach based on their experience in removing trade barriers.
In some cases, barriers occur which are not linked to breaches of any specific trade rules. The commission and member states may enter into bilateral discussions about the problems with the countries concerned with the aim of finding a mutually beneficial solution. Alternatively, the UK may ask the commission to look at the prospects for challenging trade barriers through more formal procedures including through World Trade Organisation (WTO) dispute settlement arrangements or through dispute settlement arrangements forming part of bilateral agreements the EU has signed with certain countries.
The Market Access Database (MADB)
The MADB is an interactive database containing information on cases of trade barriers worldwide, which helps to identify and remove barriers. You can use the database to check the export situation by product, sector or country and to identify the possible significance of such barriers. The MADB is a way for EU governments to prioritise the manner in which such barriers should be tackled, and their urgency. The database also contains information on applied tariffs and has an Exporters' Guide to Import Formalities in key markets.
For more information, access the European Commission's MADB.