Learn about barriers to market entry and local requirements, i.e., things to be aware of when entering the market for this country.
Last Published: 7/19/2017
Issues exist as would be expected given the breadth and depth of the commercial relationship between the United States and the EU.  These issues generally come in the form of compliance requirements established by EU legislation. While the United Kingdom’s plan to depart the European Union provides uncertainty, the remaining 27 EU countries continue to be a strong market for the United States with goods and services exports to the EU 27 in 2015 of $369.3 billion.

EU legislation generally takes two forms. “Regulations” have mandatory language and are directly applicable in Member States when implemented. “Directives” provide a general framework and must be “transposed” into national legislation at the member state level.  Differences in how directives are transposed in Member States are common, which complicates compliance for U.S. companies doing business in the EU.  Industry has raised concerns over perceived onerous regulations and high compliance costs.

The EU has legislative harmonization competence that it can choose to exercise in such areas as the free circulation of goods, services, and capital within the internal market as well as agriculture, fisheries, transport, and energy.  Human health, tourism, and civil protection are examples of areas where the EU can only legislate in support of Member States’ initiatives.
While the EU continues to move in the direction of a Single Market, the reality today is that U.S. exporters continue to face barriers to entry and challenges with regulations, testing, and standards.  In several industries such as pharmaceuticals, chemicals, telecommunications, legal services, and government procurement, some of these barriers are more pronounced.

Because the EU and the United States have different legal approaches to protecting the data privacy of its citizens, the EU wants to be assured that its citizens’ data is protected in a manner consistent with EU law, when transferred for commercial purposes to the United States.  This has been the focus of much discussion between the EU and the United States and resulted in the adoption of the EU-U.S. Data Privacy Shield agreement, which provides a mechanism for companies that participate in the voluntary program to legally transfer data from the EU to the United States. The Privacy Shield helps foster a secure operating environment for both citizens and industry, while promoting a productive and innovative transatlantic digital economy and helping facilitate data transfers, while protecting the fundamental rights of EU citizens whose data is transferred to the United States as part of a commercial transaction.

Discussions on a range of existing and proposed trade irritants are ongoing, including transparency in developing regulatory procedures and standards. To ensure that U.S. companies get the full benefits of the trade agreements the United States has negotiated, the U.S. Government has developed a trade compliance initiative that includes the establishment of the Interagency Trade Enforcement Center. U.S. trade agencies work closely and diligently with the business community to ensure that the EU and its Member States comply with their bilateral and multilateral trade obligations, and to minimize market access problems affecting U.S. firms.

Prepared by our U.S. Embassies abroad. With its network of 108 offices across the United States and in more than 75 countries, the U.S. Commercial Service of the U.S. Department of Commerce utilizes its global presence and international marketing expertise to help U.S. companies sell their products and services worldwide. Locate the U.S. Commercial Service trade specialist in the U.S. nearest you by visiting http://export.gov/usoffices.



European Union 28 Trade Development and Promotion