Efficient Collection of Information on Market Accessibility: a critical Success Factor for an Export Project


Planning Bestpractice Internationalisation Export International marketing Market Accessibility

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Collecting information about market accessibility represents a focal passage for every export project, both on the level of strategic decisions and of its realization.


Market accessibility often represents a critical factor in the Market Selection process for internationalization activities. The analysis of opportunities and reliability factors could in fact produce more target countries for one's company; among them, a particular market could show a higher accessibility (lack of tariffs, particular international agreements, cultural proximity)1, therefore resulting in a better choice compared to the others.
Furthermore, the analysis of accessibility could help to define the Market Entry Strategy with an higher potential2.

Therefore, although the study of the accessibility aspects is fundamental before proceeding with export activities towards a selected country, it could represent a key element of the selected entry strategy too.


As we have previously pointed out, among the information needed, there is the knowledge about tariffs and measures to protect the internal market. Among tariff measures, customs duty is clearly the most-widely known. Non-tariff measures, instead, are often defined as “hidden”, due to their difficulty in individuation, despite their economic effects comparable to the tariff ones. Among this type of measures, we can include quantitative measures (quotas), technical specifications and product standards, dumping and international cartels. All these measures, although different in terms of explicitness, aim to protect the internal market from imports (at times in a general way, and at other times they are aimed at a given country or group of countries).

Therefore, it appears that the activities related to the analysis of accessibility implies a broad mix of skills and knowledge which are often not hold by a SME and that, consequently, could be expensive to acquire. A first difficulty arises with respect to the identification of the right source of information4: it is difficult to access detailed information about the various documents to present for export (invoices, transport documents, certificates of origins, etc.), in addition to the rules and agreements to respect in order to avoid any problem5.

International Market Accessibility (IMA) HELP DESK

The new service IMA Help Desk by Export Planning aims at providing detailed information about market accessibility both from a general and a specific point of view. It provides general information about the target country (IMA Country Report6), and product-specific information for exporting to the target country (IMA Market Report5).
Furthermore, Export Planning initiated a personalised support to consult these report, with the effort of customising and processing information at the most detailed level. Each service can be activated on request, supplementing export manager and internationalization consultant skills.

Valeria Minasi
is an export and internationalization consultant. She collaborates with the ExportPlanning team within the International Market Accessibility project.

1) In the Market Selection tool by Export Planning, there are many market accessibility’s indicators: Tariff for EU exporters, Average Cost of Competition’s Labour, Export values, Geographic Distance, Business Distance, Infrastructure. See the related User Guide.
2) In our recent article "Hong Kong: Asian Hub for High Quality Consumer Goods", the low level of entry barriers with respect to the neighbouring countries (i.e. China) makes of Hong Kong an essential landing port for the exporters who aim to enter the Asian Markets. The existence of commercial agreements with the China government, and other agreements with the EU countries, promote the exchanges with this country and make him a gate for the Asian markets. Furthermore, its particular condition, until 1997, being a British protectorate, brings the City-State of Hong Kong culturally closer to Europe, breaking down some of the cultural barriers. Although the analysis of the different elements of attractiveness/accessibility requires further discussion, this case, certainly, represents how the number of measures adopted by a country could influence also the entry strategy in a given area, and it could be relevant in the decisions on investments and internationalization.
3) The IMA-International Market Accessibility Guide by Export Planning provides an introduction about the sources available to analyse the market accessibility, offering a number of issues about how to search for relevant information. Anyway, it is intended not to replace the highly specialised services required by the administrative practices.
4) A relevant issue, for example, is represented by the Dual Use regulation, dealt with in our recent article "DUAL USE: Legislation and Procedures for European exporters" and subject of the following Introductory Guide.
5) See here an example of IMA Country Report.
6) See here an example of IMA Market Report.