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How to Remove Trade Barriers

The first step towards dismantling trade barriers is a notification from a Danish export company. Next, the notification will be processed by Danish authorities as well as by the EU Commission


Over the years, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs has helped many companies to remove trade and investment barriers. Therefore, we are well equipped and prepared to help your company.

Information about matters that are notified to the EU will be accessible to the general public and will – in an anonymised form – be available wholly or partly in the EU register on the Internet.

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For exporters: Reporting trade barriers

All Danish export companies feel the benefits of actions against trade barriers. The first step is to report a barrier by use of the notification form.

The procedure for reporting a trade barrier is described under register a trade barrier.

The company can seek assistance with the report from the Trade Council (Technical Export Advice can be contacted by telephone on 33 92 17 88 or by email to or from Danish representations in export markets.

Under all circumstances, it is crucial that the report concerns a concrete barrier that a Danish company has experienced in an export market.

The role of the company after reporting

After a report has been sent to the Trade Council, a company need not take any further actions.

When the Trade Council receives a report, the sender will receive an initial receipt. When the trade barrier is reported to the EU, the sender will receive a final receipt with a reference number, which can be used for follow-up enquiries. Handling of a report can be time-consuming, and therefore some time may pass between reporting and the final receipt.

A copy of the report can, if desired, be sent to the relevant industrial organization (eg. DI, Dansk Ehverv, Landbrug og Fødevarer, Håndværksrådet, Dansk Byggeri, Danmarks Rederiforening). The organisations can therefore be involved with the case through their relevant activities.

The Trade Council will on the basis of the report analyse the problem and develop a strategy for removing the barrier. If there is a need for further information in the course of handling a report, the Trade Council will in some instances contact the reporting company.

The Trade Council will also inform the reporter on progress in their case. Again, this can be a time-consuming process, and companies are thus always welcome to ask us about for a status update on the handling of their case.

In certain circumstances can the removal of a trade barrier take so long, that it may be appropriate for the company to focus on other export markets and later return to the specific market in light of how far progress of the barrier removal has come.

If the company is willing and able to, it may contribute to the process, for example with new information or more in-depth information about the nature and size of the problem or possible solutions.

It is still however also possible, if the company prefers, to leave any further work to the Trade Council, which will work further in collaboration with other Danish public authorities and industry organizations.

Reporting of a trade barrier is free of charge for companies. If the Trade Council in the course of handling the case become aware of the possibility to assist the company with additional services, which require payment, the company may receive an offer about these services. Paid services will however not be delivered, unless the company first accepts an offer in writing.

Subsequent case handling in Denmark

When the Trade Council receives a report of a trade barrier, a preliminary evaluation of the report will be undertaken:

  • Are all relevant details included, or are there queries that require further explanation?
  • How does the report relate to other reports; is this a new report of an already known barrier?
  • Are there other EU countries that may also have an interest in this case?

The report will then be registered, so that information on trade barriers in other countries that affect Danish exports, can be used in Danish public authorities’ work in removing barriers to trade.

At the same time, the barrier will be reported to the EU Commission with a view to handling the case via EU channels. In relation to the EU, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs will stand as the reporter of the trade barrier, and specific company details will not be given to the Commission.

Company details will only be used in conjunction with meetings, visits and other similar activities taken by Danish ministers or civil servants where commercial factors are involved.

Likewise, Danish overseas representations may only use details of reported trade barriers in their trade policy work.

Finally, reports from Danish companies will form the basis of Danish efforts in relation to a common EU trade policy. For example, Danish ambassadors together with representatives from the other EU countries and the Commission take part in local “Market Access Teams”, which improves the input in the formulation of the EU’s trade barrier efforts. Similarly, Danish participants in meetings of the EU’s “Market Access Advisory Committee” in Brussels may use report details as a basis for influencing the EU’s priorities for which trade barriers should be removed in other markets. The EU procedure is described in greater detail in the section on “subsequent handling in the EU”.

It should be underlined, that details of the reporting company will not be given further to the either the Commission of authorities in other countries.

Subsequent case handling by the EU

The Trade Council reports the trade barriers that Danish exporters have encountered to the EU.

The EU Commission has established a special database – “Market Access Database” (MADB) – where all the barriers with EU trade partners are registered. The database portrays a collective picture of the problems that European exporters have with regard to market access in the individual markets. One can search after registered barriers in the database according to country, sector or barrier type.

A special market access committee – “Market Access Advisory Committee” (MAAC) – meets every month in Brussels to discuss questions on market access. A dedicated working group is set up under the Committee, which discusses sector-specific questions.

In the countries where the EU has key export interests, dedicated “Market Access Teams” (MAT) have been formed. Representatives for all EU countries take part in the individual teams, which are led by representatives of the Commission. MAT meets regularly in the individual countries to discuss the market access problems that European companies experience in the market in question. On the basis of these discussions, the Commission reports back to Brussels. Likewise, meetings with public authorities in markets in question are taken so as to solve concrete problems.

The Commission and the EU presidency meet regularly with the EU’s trade partners to solve market access problems. That can be via bilateral negotiations, or that can be in the course of cooperation in the World Trade Organisation (WTO).

Read more about the EU’s market access strategy and the removal of trade barriers in the WTO.

Already registered barriers

On the EU Commission’s dedicated homepage for market access, one can find a overview of already registered trade barriers.

As part of the EU’s market access strategy, the Commission acting upon a Danish initiative, set in motion a system where all member state and the Commission in cooperation identify the key market access barriers in selected markets. Barriers that have been identified until now for further attention are listed here


Over the years, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs/the Trade Council has assisted many Danish companies in fighting protectionist measures and has therefore much experience in removing trade and investment barriers on export markets.

The removal of trade and investment barriers is, consequently, a well-known product of the Trade Council of Denmark which is contacted on a daily basis by companies asking for ’diplomatic assistance’ in solving problems that the companies are not able to solve themselves on the export markets.

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs has been extremely successful in resolving cases worth millions, even billions of kroner. Cases range from disputes in connection with the collection of outstanding amounts to inadequate market access in not very accessible export markets with, for example, comprehensive regulation, bureaucracy, corruption and government control.

The point of departure for these successful results is the huge internal and external global network of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. Therefore, due to its market position as a political organisation with a commercial understanding, the Trade Council of Denmark commands unique competencies and qualifications for being companies’ preferred ”problem shooter” in the export markets.

Commercial and political solutions of great value to customers are provided on a daily basis. This work is performed bilaterally through Denmark’s Missions abroad as well as multilaterally through the EU Commission and the WTO.

The EU Commission's website presents some of the cases that Denmark contributes to solving through active work on the EU Commission’s Market Access Advisory Committee in Brussels and through the Commission’s local Market Access Teams on the markets.

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Eksportrådet - The Trade Council
Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Denmark
The Trade Council
Asiatisk Plads 2
DK-1448 Copenhagen K

Phone: +45 33 92 05 00