Removing barriers to trade

The Ministry for Foreign Affairs offers companies services that help to eliminate barriers to trade. Ongoing dialogue with the business sector is of paramount importance for us to be able to promote the removal of trade barriers in an efficient and effective manner.

Trade barriers include all measures by the public authorities that restrict market access of goods. Examples of barriers to trade include:

  • high customs tariffs
  • import, export, or customs formalities that are ineffective or create unnecessary expenses
  • technical regulations that discriminate against foreign companies or products
  • insufficient protection of industrial property rights and copyrights
  • lack of transparent regulations.

How to identify barriers to trade?

The best prospects for removing barriers to trade exist in cases that involve an infringement of some international obligation, such as WTO rules or rules recorded in bilateral free trade agreements.

Problems relating to barriers to investments can be addressed most effectively in cases where Finland has an agreement on promoting and protecting investments with the country in question.

The following questions, which are based on the basic principles determined in international agreements on trade policies, can be used for identifying barriers to trade.

Non-discrimination

Are the measures non-discriminatory towards foreign and domestic products, investments and actors?

Proportionality

Are the means used in the measure in question such that they restrict trade as little as possible, considering the underlying policy objectives?  Could the same objectives be achieved using measures that are less restrictive to trade?

Conformity with international practices

Are the basic principles and the implementation of the measures in agreement with the general practices of international trade?  Do the measures substantially differ from existing international standards?

Prohibition against quantitative restrictions

Is import or export of goods subject to quantitative restrictions or bans on export or import?

Free transfer of funds

Can investments and investment-related funds be freely transferred from country to country?

Transparency

Have the details of and instructions for the measures been published clearly and in good time, so that the private sector has had time to adapt to them?

Reporting barriers to trade

Trade barriers can be reported via email to teamfinland(a)formin.fi or by phone on +358 295 351 133. 

All reports are treated as confidential information and no further action will be taken without the consent of the company in question.

More information

In Finland, the Ministry for Foreign Affairs and the Ministry of Economic Affairs and Employment are responsible for questions concerning trade barriers.

The Ministry for Foreign Affairs is responsible for the overall coordination of matters relating to trade barriers as well as for trade with non-EU countries.

Contact details:

Ministry for Foreign Affairs, Department for External Economic Relations, Market Access Unit, tel. +358 295 351 133
PO Box 413, FI-00023 Government
Email: teamfinland(a)formin.fi


Ministry of Economic Affairs and Employment is responsible for single market issues, that is, trade with the EU Member States. Read more on the website of the Ministry of Economic Affairs and Employment.Link to another website.(Opens New Window)

The European Commission offers useful information for companies on export to non-EU countries and import to the EU at the Access2Markets service.Link to another website.(Opens New Window)