FAQ
 
YOUR GUIDE TO CRACKING WORLD MARKETS
 
   
FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

GENERAL QUESTIONS


TERMS OF USE


OTHER ISSUES


GENERAL QUESTIONS

  1. What is the market access database ?

The Market Access Database is an important operational tool of the European Union's Market Access Strategy, supporting a continuous three-way exchange of information between the EU institutions, Member States and European business. The Market Access Strategy is a key pillar of the EU's Trade Policy which aims to reduce the obstacles faced by European exporters of goods and services. The Market Access Database is a free, interactive, easy to use service providing:
  • Information about Market Access conditions in non-EU countries.
  • A systematic way for the European Commission to follow up complaints from businesses about barriers to trade in non-EU countries.
  • A means of ensuring that our trading partners are abiding by their international commitments.
  • Better input for defining the EU's trade policy objectives on further trade liberalisation in the framework of the World Trade Organisation (e.g. Doha Development Agenda) and new free trade agreements between the EU and preferential partners (e.g. EU - MERCOSUR).
  •   2. How does the EU's Market Access Strategy help you ?

    The EU's Market Access Strategy can help by :
  • Providing basic information to businesses on conditions for exporting to and investing in key third country markets.
  • Following up complaints received from businesses about barriers to trade in third countries, whether in the WTO or in bilateral consultations with the countries concerned. The Market Access Database currently lists a substantial number of specific barriers reported by European business.
  • Ensuring that our trading partners effectively comply with their international commitments.
  • Contributing to the creation of a suitable framework for international trade especially in the context of new negotiations such as the Doha Development Agenda or bilateral free trade agreements between the EU and preferential trade partners.
  •   3. What's in the Market Access Database ?

    Sectoral and Trade Barriers
    Here you will find information on trade barriers which may affect you in the individual countries.
    Applied Tariffs
    By simply entering a HS code or product description, this section will provide you with the duties and taxes applicable to your products, allowing you to calculate a landed cost.
    Exporters' Guide to Import Formalities
    All you need to know about the import procedures and documents required for the import of a particular product is available by simply entering a HS code or product description.
    Statistical Database
    An invaluable overview of trade flows between the EU and non-EU countries, accessed by simply entering a HS code or product description, can be obtained from this section.
    SPS Database
    This database is designed to facilitate the identification of Sanitary and Phytosanitary export problems with any non-EU country.
    Studies
    You can download the full text of reports concerning market access related studies referring to geographical areas, selected business sectors or relevant horizontal issues (e.g. labelling).
    Your Comments
    You can send us your questions, comments and suggestions by filling in the form in this section.

      4. How does the EU eliminate trade barriers ?

    After an in-depth analysis of each specific barrier, comprising an assessment of both leverage and economic impact, the Commission will define an appropriate strategy aiming at removing the obstacle. For this purpose, the following courses of action can be envisaged :
  • Trade barriers regulation
  • WTO dispute settlement
  • DDA and WTO accession negotiations
  • EU enlargement negotiations
  • Implementation of existing bilateral agreements
  • Negotiation of new free trade agreements and other relevant agreements
  • Other trade consultations
  •   5. How can you help yourself ?

    When you bring evidence of a market access obstacle to the attention of DG Trade, we :
  • Post it on the Market Access Database,
  • Analyse your problem,
  • Determine an appropriate course of action,
  • Several means of addressing the issue are available, ranging from informal bilateral contacts to litigation in the form of WTO dispute settlement. European business has a vital role to play in this process. The Market Access Database is therefore interactive, and the Commission is very much open to hear your complaints, queries and suggestions on market access issues on-line or by any other means.
    We need to know :
    About any trade restrictions not yet included on the database. What kind of information your business would find useful and which could reasonably be introduced into the database. The more information you give us about a market access problem, including its economic impact, the more effectively we can formulate a policy aimed at resolving it.
    You need to know :
    That details concerning your firm will not be divulged without your explicit prior permission and sensitive commercial information will be protected. That we will follow up on your information and keep you informed of developments.

    TERMS OF USE

      1. Do I have to pay ? Can anyone use it ?

    Access to the Sectoral and Trade Barriers Database, SPS Database, Statistics and Studies sections is free. However, information in the Exporter's Guide and Applied Tariffs sections is restricted to users in the Member States of the European Union and Acceding or Candidate Countries.
    From a technical point of view, if the computer on which your browser is running is not directly connected to the internet via an Internet Service Provider located in one of those countries, then you are prohibited from viewing the Exporter's Guide and Applied Tariffs data for any purpose.

      2. I am located in the EU. Why can I not get access to applied tariffs or import formalities ?

    This is most probably due to the fact that, even if you are located in the EU (or in one of the Acceding or Candidate Countries), your internet connection goes through a proxy which is located in a non-EU country. In this technical configuration, we are not allowed to grant access to you. This limitation is imposed upon us by the licensing contracts we have with our external contractors.
    Note that if you have the possibility of using another PC (for example your home PC) connected to a local internet service provider (ISP), you should be able to access the information in both sections without any difficulties.

      3. I am an official representative of a member state and I work in a non-EU country. How can I get access to applied tariffs or import formalities information?

    This is the only situation in which the Commission is allowed to grant access by providing passwords. This possibility is open, for example, to embassies and economic/commercial missions.

      4. I get the message "Access is not allowed from an open proxy server". What does that mean ?

    It means that the proxy you are using to connect to the internet has a technical configuration problem. Unauthorized persons located anywhere in the world could use your proxy to forward requests to our database as if they were coming from your own proxy. If we accept those requests, we do not comply with our contractual obligations of restricting access to some sections to users located in the EU.
    Note that an open proxy like yours can also be misused by hackers for other purposes, such as data plundering or denial of service attacks. For that reason, our policy is to reject requests originating directly or indirectly from open proxies. We advise you to take contact with your IT department or internet service provider (ISP) in order to correct the configuration of your proxy.

    OTHER ISSUES

      1. Where can I find similar information on helping developing countries exporters export to EU countries ?

    If you want to find similar information concerning exports from developing countries to the EU markets, you may find it useful to consult our Export Helpdesk which contains information on EU and Member States import requirements and internal taxes, import tariffs, customs documentation, rules of origin and statistics, as well as a market place section, a variety of useful links and more...

      2. Where else do I find tariffs applied by the EU on imports originating from third countries?

    This information is available on the TARIC web site of the Taxation and Customs Union Directorate-General (TAXUD). Click here to connect to the TARIC website.

    ABBREVIATIONS

      List of abbreviations used in the Market Access Database

    Abbreviation Definition
    MFN Most Favoured Nation. When we speak about duties in the Market Access Database, especially in the Applied Tariffs section, MFN means the duty applied under WTO conditions prohibiting any discrimination against trading partners except for tariff preferences granted under free trade agreements (FTAs) or special, lower tariff regimes such as the GSP.
    GSP Generalised System of Preferences. This is the special, lower duty applied to developing countries.
    LDC Least Developed Countries. The poorest developing countries who get tariff free, quota free treatment in all imports into the EU.
    "EU" When we speak about duties in the Market Access Database, especially in the Applied Tariffs section, EU means the lower duty applied for EU originating products under the rules set out in a bilateral Free Trade Agreement.
    CB In the context of automotive products this stands for "completely built". If it refers to a specific tax or duty it is explained in the explanatory notes which you can access by simply clicking on the notepad located at the bottom of the result screen.
    CKD In the context of automotive products this stands for "completely knocked down".