It is a new facility to assist Danish companies. The objective is to remove the trade barriers that Danish companies encounter on the markets outside the EU. It is an important element of the Government’s proactive 2007 trade policy strategy.
By notifying trade barriers to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, it becomes possible to pass them on to the EU system so that a joint European effort can be made to remove them, and it enables Danish authorities in parallel to make a targeted effort to remove barriers that prevent or restrict Danish exports.
A trade barrier is a measure that a government or a public authority in another country has introduced to make imported goods, for example from Denmark, less competitive than locally produced goods.
It is a precondition that the trade barrier is registered by a Danish company. However, it is not decisive whether the notification is in Danish or in English. A notification may be submitted either by a parent company in Denmark or by a subsidiary in an export market.
Work is in progress to develop an English version of “Register Trade Barriers” to make it easier also for the foreign staff of Danish companies to use the facility.
The objective of registering trade barriers is to have the barriers removed. However, there is no guarantee that the objective will be achieved or that it will be achieved within a short time limit – irrespective of any efforts made by Denmark and the EU.
In all circumstances, a notification will mean:
- that clarity is achieved with respect to the requirements and conditions that apply to trade and investment in a given market;
- that the notification will be followed up on vis-à-vis the authorities in the countries that have trade barriers;
- that every effort will be made to ensure that EU trading partners comply with current rules and agreements;
- that problems that may not yet be subject to current rules and agreements can be included in negotiations on new agreements and that this approach may result in rules that solve the problems.
When a company encounters a trade barrier, the first step is to notify the trade barrier to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. The Ministry of Foreign Affairs will then analyse the problem and decide on a strategy to have the barrier removed. This will most often involve the EU Commission. At European level, a trade barrier in a third country may be pursued along a number of tracks ranging from informal bilateral contacts to a dispute in the WTO. Danish authorities may also pursue the matter in parallel, for example in connection with meetings, visits and travels.
The company will be kept informed of progress in the matter.
If the company is prepared to and in a position to help, it may contribute to the process, for example by providing new information, by elaborating on the information regarding the nature and scope of the problem or by presenting potential solutions. In so doing, the company may contribute to expediting an effective solution. However, it is also possible – if that is what companies prefer – to leave all further work to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. In collaboration with other Danish authorities and trade organisations, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs will then continue efforts to find a solution.
Registering trade barriers is free of charge for companies.
If, during the handling of a case, the Trade Council of Denmark becomes aware of opportunities to assist companies with additional services that are subject to a fee, the company will receive an offer for this. Chargeable services may, however, only be provided if the company has given its prior written consent.
In order to make an effective and targeted effort against a trade barrier, it is decisive that a notification is based on a specific export interest.
However, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs will not pass on information about the notifying company to the EU or to authorities in other countries.
If a notification contains information about criminal acts, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs will naturally pass it on to the relevant authority.
Open markets and equal access to markets provide the best opportunities for trade. It is important in order for Danish companies to compete on equal and fair conditions. Exports and international trade depend on equal terms of competition. That is the way to ensure growth and employment.
The regulation of trade that is needed must be conducted in a manner that is transparent and non-discriminatory. It is also important that it is a form of regulation that keeps trade restrictions at a minimum.
Market access is achieved through agreements – either through multilateral agreements in the WTO or bilateral agreements between the EU and third countries or groups of third countries (for example Canada and Korea or Mercosur and ASEAN).
On the basis of the notification of a trade barrier, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs will analyse the problem and decide on a strategy to dismantle the barrier. The Ministry of Foreign Affairs will cooperate with other Danish authorities and trade organisations.
Dismantling trade barriers will typically involve the EU Commission as the barrier will be notified by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs to the special Market Access Database of the EU and included in the work of the EU.
Furthermore, the Danish Mission/s in the market in question will also be involved in the handling of a case.
The Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Missions will subsequently ensure that the matter is taken up on an ongoing basis whenever it is relevant and possible, both in an EU context and in connection with meetings, visits, travels, etc.
The EU commands a great number of instruments that can be used when it is a matter of removing or reducing trade barriers in third countries:
- The EU Trade Barriers Regulation
- The WTO dispute settlement system
- WTO negotiation rounds, including the ongoing Doha Development Agenda (DDA)
- Negotiations on new countries acceding to the WTO
- EU enlargement and association negotiations
- The implementation of bilateral agreements between the EU and third countries or groups of countries
- The negotiation of new bilateral free trade agreements or other bilateral agreements between the EU and third countries or groups of countries
- EU bilateral meetings and consultations with third countries.