How the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (BIS) can help
Over half of the UK’s trade is with the European Union (EU) and, generally, it is easier to trade in Europe than with other parts of the world. Opportunities to take advantage of EU markets have increased further thanks to the recently implemented Services Directive which makes it easier to sell services in other EU countries. It does so by reducing and simplifying formalities that service providers need to comply with. Public bodies are required to put online all the information and transactions that companies need to go through to get licences to sell their services anywhere in the EU. To find the right national or regional portal, go to www.eu-go.eu and for applications within the UK, to www.businesslink.gov.uk/ukwelcomes
Sometimes, however, things do not run smoothly. Legal and regulatory hurdles can pose big obstacles to UK businesses trading within the Single Market but help is at hand from the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (BIS). Its EU Market Access Unit works with national authorities across the European Economic Area (EEA) – 27 EU member states as well as Norway, Iceland and Liechtenstein, to seek solutions wherever it can. In the event of a misapplication of European law, the team does this through SOLVIT, a free, informal problem-solving network set up by the European Commission with centres located in the EEA. Where the problem arises not as a result of the misapplication of European law but due to other national practices contrary to the spirit of the Single Market, the Unit works to resolve the issue with its contacts in the embassies and in other administrations.Some of the areas it has achieved success in include facilitating market access for goods and services, tax refunds and recognition of professional qualifications. Further information can be found at: www.bis.gov.uk/eumarketaccess and the team can be contacted on firstname.lastname@example.org .
A business guide, “How to tackle regulatory barriers when doing business abroad”, produced by BIS outlines the services that it, along with UK Trade & Investment (UKTI), offers to aid UK exporters and importers and also sets out how it can help UK firms overcome specific legal and regulatory barriers when trading globally, for example, technical regulations, unfair subsidies, onerous customs procedures and restriction on access to raw materials. It contains real-life examples of some of the businesses that have received this help. Further copies can be obtained from email@example.com.