With the aim of simplifying access to information, on 13 October the European Commission, DG TRADE launched the Access2Markets online portal. This is a multi-dimensional, user-friendly and multi-language tool with practical information, tips and guidelines for all companies engaged in international trade, may it be for intra-EU or import & export activities.
Access2Markets responds to the requests submitted to the European Commission from various stakeholders to better explain trade agreements and help companies ensure that their products are eligible for duty discounts. The portal will provide a substantial support to both companies that already trade internationally and those that are just starting to explore opportunities in foreign markets. In particular, it will prove extremely useful to the SMEs, which not always have the necessary means to compete internationally or are not fully aware of the trade opportunities that the EU is making possible.
The new system combines two formerly existing databases (the Market Access Data Base and the EU Trade Helpdesk) into a single, multi-use portal, offering the possibility to look up the information product-by-product and country-by-country, in order to help companies find the information they need as quickly as possible.
Through an immediate and easy-to-catch display, users only need to surf on “My Trade Assistant” and input the type of product, the country of origin and the country of trade destination. With the new portal, the European Commission has tried to make the access to world market information and trade flows as easy as possible.
The portal breaks the complex set of rules down into practical information covering all the trade agreements the EU has established with 70 countries and regions, dealing with topics such as:
- taxes at national and regional level,
- rules of origin – including a self-assessment tool called ROSA,
- product requirements (e.g. labelling),
- customs procedures and formalities,
- VAT/excise duties/sales taxes,
- trade barriers,
- trade statistics by individual goods and country.
Together with the product-by-product and country-by-country specifications on imports and exports, Access2Markets also provides information on:
- step-by-step guides into importing/exporting goods and services,
- a tool to help assess the product’s origin,
- trade terminology explained along the way,
- examples of how certain tariffs will fall over time.