Category Archives: foreign trade

EU-China for fair global competition

“It is in our mutual interest to work together to promote fair global competition. Antitrust, merger review and State aid control are important tools in ensuring that consumers can benefit from competitive markets and companies can compete on their merits. Both the European Commission and the Chinese competition agencies will work closely together for a coherent and efficient competition enforcement.” Said Commissioner Margrethe Vestager.

Commissioner  Vestager, in charge of competition policy, Chairman He Lifeng and Vice Chairman Hu Zucai, both of China’s National Development and Reform Commission, held today in Beijing the first cooperation meeting on State aid control and Fair Competition Review as part of a new dialogue between the EU and China. At the meeting, the Commission and China’s National Development and Reform Commission reaffirmed the importance of cooperation on competition policy to ensure good economic relations between China and the EU. On 15 November, the Commissioner met Zhong Shan, China’s Minister of Commerce at the 10th meeting under the EU-China competition policy dialogue on antitrust and merger issues. Separately, the Commissioner also met State Administration of Industry and Commerce (SAIC) Minister Zhang Mao and the Chairman of China’s State-owned Assets Supervision and Administration Commission of the State Council (SASAC) Xiao Yaqing.

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EU-Egypt: reinforced partnership

“We recognise the significant socio-economic challenges Egypt is facing. The EU is fully committed to supporting Egypt’s efforts to reform its economy to achieve sustainable and inclusive growth, and to tackle key socio-economic challenges, such as the high population growth and the impact of economic reforms on the most vulnerable.” Said Commissioner Johannes Hahn for the European Neighbourhood Policy and Enlargement Negotiations.

The EU adopted a multiannual framework defining the priorities for the financial and technical cooperation with Egypt for the period 2017-2020, with a special focus on youth and women. Commissioner Hahn, currently in Cairo, signed a Memorandum of Understanding on the EU Single Support Framework with the Egyptian authorities.

Commissioner Hahn also signed two financial agreements supporting the sectors of health, environment and transport as well as a €60 million programme to support Egypt in addressing migration challenges. High Representative/Vice-President Federica Mogherini said: “With the new EU-Egypt Partnership Priorities, we are focussing on the future of the Egyptian people. We believe that social development and social protection, especially when it comes to young people and women, are key towards sustainable growth and stability in Egypt and in the region. That is why we put it them at the basis of our partnership”.

New proposal on EU-Indonsia trade negotiations

As part of its commitment to a more transparent trade policy the Commission today published a reportsummarising the progress made during the latest negotiating round for the EU-Indonesia trade agreement.

In addition, the Commission published eight initial text proposals the EU submitted to Indonesia ahead of the round, together with accompanying explanatory memos. The round report includes more details on all areas of the negotiations, including trade in goods, services, investment and technical barriers to trade. The negotiations continue to show good engagement from both partners. The teams have progressed onto text-based discussions on nearly all chapters, meaning that most issues can be covered in greater depth. The talks also provided an extensive to-do list that will be followed up ahead of the next round. The latest round of talks with Indonesia took place from 11-15 September 2017 in Brussels. The next round will be held in Indonesia at the beginning of 2018.

Ukraine: extension of trade support

As of 1 October some Ukrainian agricultural and industrial goods will be exported to the EU market tariff-free.

This set of autonomous trade measures was proposed by the Commission and supported by the European Parliament and EU member States, in view of the difficult economic situation and the economic reform efforts undertaken by Ukraine. Commissioner for Trade Cecilia Malmström and the Trade Representative of Ukraine – Deputy Minister for Economic Development and Trade Nataliya Mykolska have today welcomed the entry into force of the autonomous trade measures of the EU for Ukraine. In a joint statement they said: “this is good news for Ukrainian exporters. Several important agricultural and industrial goods will now get better access to the EU market, as they can be exported tariff-free. This is an important sign of the EU’s continued, tangible economic and political support for the Ukrainian people, the country and its reform efforts.” The Regulation will be published tomorrow and will come into force on Sunday 1 October. The new measures will top up the quantities of agricultural products that Ukraine can export to the EU under the Association Agreement (AA) without paying customs duties. It will also accelerate the elimination of EU import tariffs for several industrial products as foreseen in the Association Agreement.

EU new global alliance for #TortureFree Trade

Trade Commissioner Cecilia Malmström announced that the EU will launch an international Alliance for Torture-Free Trade. The initiative – a joint effort together with Argentina and Mongolia – aims to end trade in goods used for capital punishment and torture (e.g. batons with metal spikes, electric shock belts, and grabbers that seize people by the waist or limb while electrocuting them, chemicals used to execute people and the forced injection systems that go with them). The Alliance will be formally launched on 18 September during United Nations General Assembly week in New York.Over 50 UN member countries from all over the word are expected to join on launch day.

By signing up to the Alliance, countries will be agreeing to take measures to control and restrict exports of these goods, equip their customs authorities with appropriate tools, make technical assistance available to help other countries with setting up and implementing laws to ban this trade and exchange practices for efficient control and enforcement systems. The Alliance will also set up a platform to monitor trade flows, exchange information, and identify new products. The EU is committed to protecting human rights, and to the fight against torture and the abolition of the death penalty. The EU’s stringent legislation on trade in goods used for torture or the death penalty has already reaped results. Effort at the global level will make it even more efficient, as it will prevent its circumvention. More information about the initiative is available through a dedicated website: www.torturefreetrade.org.

EU customs seized over 41 million fake goods

“A high level of protection of intellectual property is crucial to support growth and create jobs. Fake goods pose a real threat to health and safety of EU consumers and also undermine legal businesses and state revenues. Studies show that the EU is particularly exposed to imports of counterfeit products. I want to pay tribute to the hard work of customs authorities in combating these fake goods. They need support and resources to enable them to protect us all from the dangers that they can pose. Cooperation between law enforcement authorities should be strengthened and risk management systems upgraded to protect the EU from goods infringing on intellectual property rights.” Said Pierre Moscovici, Commissioner for Economic and Financial Affairs.

New figures released by the European Commission today show that customs authorities detained more than 41 million fake and counterfeit products at the EU’s external border in 2016. The goods had a total value of over €670 million. Everyday products which are potentially dangerous to health and safety – such as food and drink, medicines, toys and household electrical goods – accounted for over a third of all intercepted goods. Cigarettes were the top category (24%) for articles detained and toys the second largest group (17%), followed by foodstuffs (13%) and packaging material (12%). The number of intercepted articles rose by 2% compared to 2015. The Commission’s report on customs actions to enforce IPR has been issued annually since 2000 and is based on data transmitted by Member States’ customs administrations to the Commission.

The data provide valuable information which supports the analysis of intellectual property rights infringements and helps other institutions such as the European Union Intellectual Property Office and the OECD to map economic data and the most common routes for counterfeiters.

New reports for Eu-Mercosur trade agreement

The Commission publishes – as part of its commitment to a more transparent trade policy – reports summarising the progress made during the latest negotiating rounds for the EU-Mexico and EU-Mercosur trade agreements.  The reports offer a summary of the progress made in all areas of the negotiations, namely: 1) Trade in goods (including Market Access, and General Rules); 2) Non-Tariff Measures; 3) Rules of Origin; 4) Trade in Services; 5) Procurement; 6) Intellectual Property (including Geographical Indications); 7) Sustainable Development, 8) Other issues (Institutions and Regulatory Cooperation). Both negotiations are progressing at a good pace with full engagement from both partners.

The latest round of talks with Mexico took place from 26 and 30 June 2017 in Mexico City and the next one is planned in Brussels for 25 to 29 September, with intersessional meetings between 24 and 27 July. The latest round with Mercosur was held between 3 and 7 July 2017 in Brussels and the next one is planned in Brasilia for 2 to 6 October, with intersessional meetings between 4 and 8 September in Brussels. The recent Commission proposals made in the course of the negotiations can also be accessed through the dedicated transparency page.