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The Complaint Register is a means by which EU companies or their associations can notify the European Commission of barriers they encounter to trade and investment in third country (i.e. non-EU Member State) markets.

As guidance, we consider an EU company to be a company formed in accordance with the law of an EU Member State and having its registered office, central administration or principal place of business within the Community. We will also consider complaints from companies whose output constitutes a major proportion of total EU production or provision of the services in question. The complainants should be directly involved in the production of the goods or the provision of the services which are the subject of the obstacle to trade. If you have doubts as to your eligibility as an EU company, you should justify your status in the Additional comments section of the input form.

The Complaint Register may also be used by Member States and diverse Commission Services, including Commission Delegations, for the centralised recording of barriers to trade and investment which have been notified to them by EU companies or their representative associations, or of which they have become aware.

For eligibility for the Complaint Register, we consider Trade Barriers to be measures imposed or practices carried out by third country authorities which hinder or restrict imports or investment from the EU into third country markets.

The measures imposed or practices carried out by third countries fall into two general categories:
Firstly, measures or practices which appear incompatible with international rules and agreements to which the EU is a party (such as the WTO Rules and bilateral trade agreements).
Secondly, measures or practices which may not be contrary to international rules or agreements but which nevertheless hinder or lead to restrict imports or investment from the EU to third countries.
Although we consider barriers falling into either of these categories as eligible for inclusion in the Complaint Register, the "illegal" measures falling into the first category give greater "leverage" for successful resolution in any subsequent discussion with the third country concerned and this may be a factor taken into account in prioritising action to tackle barriers. The Commission's Global Europe Communication of 18 April 2007 entitled "A Stronger Partnership to Deliver Market Access for European Exporters" provided the following illustrative list of Trade barriers in the modern global economy:

  • Tariff barriers. Although these have been eroded by successive multilateral trade rounds, high tariffs still pose problems for EU exporters.
  • Burdensome customs procedures for import, export and transit as well as unfair or discriminatory tax rules and practices .
  • Technical regulations, standards and conformity assessment procedures that are not in line with WTO rules on Technical Barriers to Trade (TBT Agreement).
  • Misuse of sanitary and phytosanitary measures i.e. those that are not justified on health and safety grounds within existing WTO rules.
  • Restrictions on access to raw materials , particularly restrictive export practices, including export taxes, which drive up prices for products such as hides and skins, and key mineral and metal goods, as well as dual pricing practices.
  • Poor protection of intellectual property rights including geographical indications and the lack of proper implementation and enforcement.
  • Barriers to trade in services and foreign direct investment such as unjustified foreign ownership caps, joint venture obligations and discriminatory treatment.
  • Restrictive government procurement rules and practices that prevent EU companies from bidding effectively for public contracts in third countries.
  • Abusive and/or WTO-incompatible use of trade defence instruments by third countries.
  • Unfair use of state aids and other subsidies by third countries in a way that constitutes market access barriers.

You should be aware that the Complaint Register is publicly accessible and the information you submit in response to certain fields may be adapted or modified and will be publicly visible in the Complaint Register. However, your company or association name and contact details will not be publicly displayed in the Complaint Register.
If, after reading these guidelines, you consider that your complaint, against a third country (non EU Member State) practice, qualifies as a Trade Barrier complaint.

If after considering the above, you wish to submit a complaint, plase click on the "Register a new complaint" button below in order to record and register your complaint.

Register a new complaint