The EU’s Market Access Strategy: does it reach its main goals?

13-12-2017

The EU Market Access Strategy (MAS) and associated Market Access Partnership (MAP) is a EU trade policy operational instrument designed to identify and remove market access restrictions confronting EU firms in third country export markets. Since the 2008 financial crisis, there has been a steady increase in the number of trade restricting measures imposed by EU trading partners. The MAS is a key tool through which the EU seeks to work with third countries to prevent, remove and reduce market access barriers. There is broad support for the MAS among stakeholders who are aware of the mechanism and a virtual consensus that greater emphasis should be given by the European Union to identifying and removing barriers to trade and investment in third countries. Two types of challenges confront the MAS and, as a result, its effectiveness. One centres on the identification of protectionist measures and the ability of the EU to induce policy changes by trading partners. The other is to improve awareness among EU exporters of the existence of the MAP and leveraging the tools that are available to address market access restrictions. The European Parliament can contribute to addressing these challenges by engaging with national parliaments and constituencies on the existence and utility of the MAS and in advocating that market access issues be prioritised in the activities of the European Commission. The European Parliament can also play an increased role in helping to achieve the goals of the MAS and support EU exports by raising market access issues when they engage with third country counterparts.

The EU Market Access Strategy (MAS) and associated Market Access Partnership (MAP) is a EU trade policy operational instrument designed to identify and remove market access restrictions confronting EU firms in third country export markets. Since the 2008 financial crisis, there has been a steady increase in the number of trade restricting measures imposed by EU trading partners. The MAS is a key tool through which the EU seeks to work with third countries to prevent, remove and reduce market access barriers. There is broad support for the MAS among stakeholders who are aware of the mechanism and a virtual consensus that greater emphasis should be given by the European Union to identifying and removing barriers to trade and investment in third countries. Two types of challenges confront the MAS and, as a result, its effectiveness. One centres on the identification of protectionist measures and the ability of the EU to induce policy changes by trading partners. The other is to improve awareness among EU exporters of the existence of the MAP and leveraging the tools that are available to address market access restrictions. The European Parliament can contribute to addressing these challenges by engaging with national parliaments and constituencies on the existence and utility of the MAS and in advocating that market access issues be prioritised in the activities of the European Commission. The European Parliament can also play an increased role in helping to achieve the goals of the MAS and support EU exports by raising market access issues when they engage with third country counterparts.

External author

Bernard HOEKMAN, Matteo FIORINI, Roberta IGLIOZZI, Naïs RALAISON and Aydin YLDIRIM.