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GLOBAL TRADE BRIEFING: Database for trade barriers

Which of your target export markets have introduced new regulations that could create commercial opportunities or make it harder to supply foreign buyers? The improved database "Global Trade Briefing" by the University of St. Gallen and Switzerland Global Enterprise lists these markets. It covers 53 countries and includes the sectors MEM, medical technology, biotech, food and ICT products.

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New trade barriers may prevent exporters from doing business

To support Swiss exporters we have put together a comprehensive database of the regulations that have either been implemented or announced in the most important Swiss export markets since 1 January 2017 until 31 May 2018 – for instance, new certification requirements, safety standards or state subsidies for local manufacturers. 

This easy-to-use database can be accessed here 

Please find below a little description of what has changes in each sector over this period of time.

The database of new foreign regulations can be searched by industry (MEM, medical technology, biotechnology, food, ICT products), by the HS code of the products that you export, or by the 53 most important export countries. The industries are arranged according to the respective customs tariff number.

The regulations can be filtered by industry (MEM, medical technology, biotechnology, food, ICT products) by your individual customs tariff number, or by the 53 most important export countries. The industries are arranged according to the respective customs tariff number.

There is a brief description of each regulation on the overview page. The date of its announcement or implementation is also listed. Indeed, using this database you can see whether the regulation has already been implemented or if it has just been announced. This allows you to prepare an approach for your target country before you start sending your products – for instance, you might be able to prevent your products from being delayed at customs.

If you are interested in the details of a new regulation, then click on the blue title or on "Read More" tab. You will be taken to a new page that shows the original text of the regulation as well as further information.

Positive or negative measures for Swiss exporters

The regulations are compiled by the Global Trade Alert team under the leadership of Professor Simon Evenett at the University of St. Gallen. They are supplemented with data on new regulations collated by the Word Trade Organization (WTO).

The Global Trade Alert team evaluates each new measure:

  • "Restrictive" is written in red beside the title of the new measure: this means that the regulation almost certainly has a negative effect on Swiss exporters or investors, for instance by complicating market access or preferring local competitors
  • "Liberalising" is written in green beside the title of the new measure: this means that the regulation could have a positive effect for Swiss exporters or investors, for instance by simplifying market access or removing requirements
  • "Health Standard" or "Technical Norm" is written in gray beside the title of the new measure: this means that a new health standard or technical norm has been reported to the WTO. The Global Trade Alert team does not evaluate the effect of such measures on market access - but you might check whether the new regulation applies to your firm.

The aim of the Global Trade Briefing is to help small and medium-sized Swiss businesses to successfully navigate between increasing globalization and the trend towards greater protectionism: While new growth opportunities are emerging in markets throughout the world, it pays to keep track of new trade barriers or keep up with the latest liberalization by Switzerland’s trading partners.

Your feedback for our pilot project

The Global Trade Briefing is a pilot project by S-GE and the University of St. Gallen. Is this offering useful for you? Should we do it differently? Please give us some quick feedback with this two-minute questionnaire – it will help us better tailor the Briefing to your needs Take part now!

Do you have questions about the individual regulations in your target markets?

Our ExportHelp is the first point of contact for all administrative questions regarding your export business. It also provides the right expert contacts, should things become more complex. Do not hesitate to approach us!

What has changed in the MEM sector since the beginning of 2017?

Of the five export sectors monitored by Switzerland Global Enterprise and the Global Trade Alert, the MEM sector has seen the most policy changes in Switzerland’s trading partners since the beginning of 2017. A total of 363 policy changes have been implemented, 143 of which almost certainly harm Swiss exporters and 91 will benefit Swiss firms. A total of 118 new technical standards in this sector where recorded as well. Brazil, China, and the United States introduced the most policy changes relevant to Swiss MEM exporters. For further details on the policy changes introduced in the 53 Swiss trading partners monitored in this initiative please go to the following easy-to-use website.

Biotech sector

Switzerland’s largest trading partners have been very active in introducing new regulations and policy changes in the biotech sector since the beginning of 2017. A total of 231 policy changes were identified by Switzerland Global Enterprise and the Global Trade Alert. Just over 40 of those policy changes harmed Swiss exporters and approximately the same number create new commercial opportunities for Swiss biotech firms. Seventy-seven new technical standards were introduced as well as 70 new health and safety standards. For further details on the policy changes introduced in the 53 Swiss trading partners monitored in this initiative please go to the following easy-to-use website.

Food sector

In the 53 Swiss trading partners monitored as part of this initiative, a total of 102 policy changes affecting Swiss exporters of food were introduced since the beginning of 2017. Perhaps unsurprisingly, 72 of those policy changes were new health and safety standards, requiring potential product, marketing, and distribution changes by Swiss exporters. Brazil, India, and the Republic of Korea each introduced over 10 changes to policies in this sector. For further details on the policy changes introduced in the 53 Swiss trading partners monitored in this initiative please go to the following easy-to-use website.

Medical technology

Since the start of 2017 a total of 71 changes in policies and regulations concerning medical technology were introduced by the 53 trading partners that Switzerland Global Enterprise and the Global Trade Alert monitor. Fifteen of those policy changes clearly create new commercial opportunities for Swiss exporters in this sector. A further 10 policy changes almost certainly harm Swiss exporters. The overwhelming majority of the policy and regulatory changes documented relate to new technical standards for medical technology and associated equipment. Brazil and China have been particularly active in changing policies in this sector. For further details on the policy changes introduced in the 53 Swiss trading partners monitored in this initiative please go to the following easy-to-use website.

ICT sector

Since the start of 2017 Swiss ICT exporters have faced a total of 61 changes in regulations and other policies in the 53 trading partners monitored in this initiative. The total number of policy changes abroad that create commercial opportunities for Swiss ICT exporters is 22, one less than the total number of policy changes abroad that are likely to harm Swiss exporters. Fifteen new technical standards for ICT equipment were documented as well and these may require product redesign and other changes by Swiss exporters. For further details on the policy changes introduced in the 53 Swiss trading partners monitored in this initiative please go to the following easy-to-use website.

GLOBAL TRADE BRIEFING: Datenbank für Handelshürden

In welchem Ihrer Zielmärkte gibt es neue Regulierungen, die Ihre Exporte voranbringen oder behindern könnten? Die neue Datenbank «Global Trade Briefing» von Universität St. Gallen und Switzerland Global Enterprise listet sie auf – für 53 Länder und für die Sektoren MEM, Medizintechnik, Biotech, Nahrungsmittel und ICT-Güter.

Zur Datenbank

Wo sind seit 1.1.2017 die meisten neuen staatlichen Eingriffe geschehen - positiver und negativer Art? Die Karten zeigen eine Übersicht für die fünf untersuchten Branchen.

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