Varying regulation across the EU is the top challenge for businesses trading across borders, new research shows.
The latest survey by Eurochambres, of which Chambers Ireland is a member, reveals the issues companies face when trading within the EU single market.
70% of those surveyed cited the difference in legal practices and contractual arrangements as the biggest challenge when it comes to generating new business in another member state.
Meanwhile, 63% of respondents said differences in national standards is either a significant or extremely significant obstacle to cross border trade.
While there has been a lot of standardisation for goods across many sectors, Eurochambers said newer technologies often have different requirements in different member states which require localised testing certification and approval procedures.
It added that the export of services is also limited by the requirement for local licencing and qualification standards before market access can be granted.
In order to help businesses trade more freely, Eurochambers is calling on the Commission to provide an information portal that will document the differences between member states.
It said this would allow exporters to plan accordingly.
“Thirty years after the creation of the single market we see that differences in regulation continue to be the greatest impediment to deeper and wider integration of trade within the EU,” said Ian Talbot, Chief Executive of Chambers Ireland.
“There are large differences in legal culture and practices between member states.
“This means that each time a business seeks to trade with a new partner in another state, compromises need to be negotiated,” he explained.
Mr Talbot said as a result, businesses have to agree on specification changes which increases the cost of trading across borders.
“SMEs are particularly disadvantaged by these barriers to trade and the additional complexity often leaves the exporting business at a disadvantage relative to a local supplier,” he added.