News article

How to report a trade barrier

9 September 2019


New online reporting service to help reduce barriers to UK exports

Businesses can report trade barriers if they export goods or services. A trade barrier is something that slows down or stops a company from exporting goods or services to an overseas market.

How to report a trade barrier

Businesses can report a trade barrier online. Before reporting, businesses should:

  • check that the problem is a trade barrier
  • be ready to include as much information as possible about the barrier

What happens next

After reporting a trade barrier, a business will get an email from the Department for International Trade (DIT) within 5 working days.

DIT might be able to help resolve the barrier. For example, overseas staff could use their relationships with local governments and organisations to find and resolve the cause of the delay.

For longer-term, more complex barriers, DIT may decide to:

  • explore a diplomatic resolution
  • discuss strategic barriers at overseas ministerial visits
  • start government-to-government talks
  • raise the barrier with the World Trade Organization (WTO)
  • feed into Free Trade Agreement (FTA) negotiations

What is a barrier to goods

If a business is exporting goods, trade barriers can include:

  • customs procedures
  • problems with enforcing international rules and regulations
  • environmental, safety or quality regulations
  • government procurement restrictions
  • import quotas or price controls
  • packaging, labelling or design regulations
  • poor protection of intellectual property rights
  • requirements for goods to be locally produced
  • restrictions on live animals, or animal and plant products
  • requirements to use local assets, components or workers
  • rules of origin issues
  • state-granted monopolies or exclusive rights
  • testing, inspection and certification procedures
  • unfair use of state help, subsidies or application of competition rules

What is a barrier to services

If a business is exporting services, trade barriers can include:

  • difficulty accessing data or restrictions on storing or sending data
  • problems with enforcing international rules and regulations
  • fees that only apply to foreign service suppliers
  • government procurement restrictions
  • poor protection of intellectual property rights
  • limitations on access to key infrastructure
  • local presence requirements
  • price controls
  • qualification requirements
  • restrictions on foreign entry or movement of people
  • restrictions on business structure
  • restrictions on investment
  • requirements to use local assets, components or workers
  • restrictions on business names
  • state-granted monopolies or exclusive rights
  • taxes that protect or favour local suppliers
  • testing, inspection and certification procedures
  • unfair use of state help, subsidies or application of competition rules
  • unfair advantages to state-owned enterprises

Read more about reporting a trade barrier.