The European Union is the world's largest single market and by far the most important trading partner for developing countries. The wide range of preferential trade agreements that the EU is offering partners in the developing world, allows them to benefit from as open access as possible to the EU market. This is a degree of openness unmatched by any other major economy and demonstrates the EU's commitment to putting trade at the service of development not only in theory, but in practice. The EU believes that its preferential trade arrangements help developing countries tie their economies more firmly to global trade links.
Despite these efforts and even a largely tariff and quota free access for most developing countries, some technical and very specific requirements remain for exporters to fully benefit from the export opportunities provided. Most of these can be overcome when the information on how to access the EU market is more widely available. Building on these considerations, the Export Helpdesk was created in 2004 as a single point of access for online information about exporting to Europe.