The Department for International Trade has launched a new digital ‘Check for barriers to trading and investing abroad’ service – extremely helpful for UK businesses trading exporting to China
In December 2020, the Department for International Trade (DIT) started publishing some of the information it holds on trade barriers via a new user-friendly online service on gov.uk. This aims to support British businesses in their awareness and understanding of international markets when making trade and investment decisions.
Users will be able to search for barriers based on sector or location and read descriptions explaining the barrier’s affect. It will also identify where barriers are no longer active, thus indicating potential growth areas for UK firms.
The new service for checking barriers will draw on the existing ‘Report a trade barrier’ service and internal Digital Market Access Service (DMAS) database to provide British firms with relevant information on trade barriers – forming the next stage of the Department’s investment in digital tools to support the opening of markets.
Taken together with other relevant gov.uk services such as ‘Check How to Export Goods’, it more fully supplants EU online services open to UK companies until the end of the Transition Period with a service designed to be specific for UK businesses with information tailored to their needs.
Reducing trade barriers is a key aspect of the Government’s value-generating and values-led independent trade policy, and supports UK businesses to grow internationally in a sustainable way. The new service provides information on trade barriers to support businesses with their considerations of international markets.
Barriers include individual tariffs, non-tariff barriers (NTBs), overseas direct investment (ODI) restrictions, and other unnecessary, costly, or out of date requirements that impede the ability of UK firms to trade and invest effectively. OECD analysis (2019) shows cutting tariffs, and addressing unnecessary costs associated with non-tariff measures, could increase trade by over 20% among G20 economies. It is estimated that such liberalisation could boost UK exports by £75 billion per year.
The service will be specific to UK businesses and accessible to all. While the WTO, EU, UN and US all provide public databases of trade barriers, these are not necessarily specific to UK exporters and are not easy to navigate, particularly for first-time exporters or SMEs who may be inexperienced in these services.
It builds on the ‘Check how to export goods’ service, which replaces the service currently provided by the EU portals – there is an expectation that trade barrier information should be made available by the end of the Transition Period to provide continuity.
Learn more here.