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EU launches new complaints system to fight trade barriers

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EU launches new complaints system to fight trade barriers

Trade - Image © jeayesy - Fotolia

(BRUSSELS) - The EU Commission launched Monday a new complaints system for reporting market access barriers and breaches of Trade and Sustainable Development commitments in the EU's trade agreements.

The new complaints system reflects increased efforts by the Commission to strengthen the enforcement and implementation of trade agreements.

Enforcement is now a top priority, said Trade Commissioner Valdis Dombrovskis. "Under this new system, complaints relating to sustainable development commitments will be given the same level of focus and attention as market access barriers." He added that the complaints system would be accessible to all relevant parties and businesses, with Commission services assessing each complaint and taking action as needed.

The complaints procedure is open to EU Member States, individual companies, business/trade associations, civil society organisations and citizens from the EU. The complaint forms - one for market access barriers and one for violations of sustainable development commitments - will be accessible online for EU-based stakeholders on the 'Access2Markets' portal on DG TRADE's website. Complainants will be required to provide a detailed factual description of the issue at stake and to list any actions already taken to address it. For market access issues, the complainant will need to describe the alleged barrier's potential economic impact. For sustainable development issues, the complainant must give details of the impact and seriousness of the alleged breach.

After launching the complaint, the complainant will be informed as to whether it leads to an enforcement action. The Commission services will inform the complainant about the content of the action plan, which may identify the steps suitable for tackling the issues subject to the complaint but also indicate to the extent possible timelines of specific actions. The Commission services could also provide periodic updates on specific actions undertaken to address the issue, depending on the sensitivity and confidentiality of each of the steps undertaken.

The entry into operation of the new complaints system is accompanied, on the website of DG Trade, by a notice containing operating guidelines for the system and a notice on the broader working approaches to enforcement and implementation work of DG Trade under the CTEO.

The Commission says its action has removed barriers between 2014 and 2018 generating at least EUR 8 billion additional exports in 2019.

CTEO webpage with operating guidelines and document on working approaches

Complaint forms

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