The European Union’s Trade Barriers Regulation (TBR) gives one or more exporting EU companies a way to defend themselves and their employees when a non-EU country violates international trade rules. They can ask the European Commission to investigate, if they can show ‘’material injury’’ such as financial losses, lower profits, employee redundancies, or lack of investment, as well as a surge in imports or a fall in exports. The Commission would seek to settle the dispute through bilateral contacts, through the WTO or other dispute settlement procedures.
The EU’s International Trade Rules Enforcement Regulation of 2014 empowers the European Commission to retaliate if a third country doesn’t comply with international trade rules. The Commission can restrict access to the EU market – a market of a half billion consumers - until that country does comply.
In 2016 alone, the EU removed 20 existing market access barriers in 12 countries in several sectors including pharmaceuticals and automotive, restoring export opportunities for EU companies worth billions of Euros per year.