Category Archives: trade

EU-Mexico trade agreement: new report on negotiating round

As part of its commitment to a more transparent trade policy the Commission today published a report summarising the progress made during the latest negotiating round for the EU-Mexico trade agreement held in the end of September in Brussels, as well as three text proposals submitted to Mexico ahead of the latest round.

The proposals published  concern wine and spirits, motor vehicles and the usual exceptions that can be invoked to restrict trade for instance for security or health reasons. The round report includes details on all areas of the negotiations, including trade in goods, services, investment and technical barriers to trade. The talks focused on the text proposals as well as on the market access offers on goods, services and public procurement exchanged in July. While some groups advanced more than others, overall the round brought a good progress. The sixth round will take place in Mexico City from 25 November to 1 December. The objective remains to reach an agreement by the end of the year.

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EU-Chile agreement on organic production trade

 

The Council adopted a decision on the conclusion of the agreement between the European Union and the Republic of Chile on trade in organic products.

The new rules will be based on the principle of mutual recognition between the EU and Chile of the equivalence of their respective rules and control systems as regards organic production.

The agreement, the aim of which is to encourage trade in organic products and thereby give a boost to the development of the organic sector in the EU, also provides for a system of co-operation, exchange of information and dispute settlement in organic trade.
Background and next steps

On 6 March 2017 the Council adopted a decision on the signing of the EU-Chile agreement. The agreement will enter into force three months following the final notification of the completion of the necessary internal procedures by each contacting party.

EU launch new anti-dumping legislation

The negotiators of the European Parliament and the Council reached an agreement on the proposal adopted by the Commission in November 2016 to change the EU’s anti-dumping and anti-subsidy legislation.

These changes will enable Europe’s trade defence instruments to deal with current realities – notably overcapacities – in the international trading environment, while fully respecting the EU’s international obligations in the legal framework of the World Trade Organisation (WTO).

Following the meeting in Strasbourg, President Jean-Claude Juncker said: “Europe stands for open and fair trade, but as I have said time and again, we are not naĂŻve free traders. That’s why we have to make sure that, while upholding the multilateral, rules-based trade system, our legislation allows us to ensure that our companies operate on a level playing field. This is not about any country in particular, simply about making sure that we have the means to take action against unfair competition and the dumping of products in the EU market that leads to the destruction of jobs. Our words have to be followed by decisive actions and this is the kind of action our companies and citizens expect from us. I commend the European Parliament and our governments for having lived up to these expectations.”

Commissioner for Trade Cecilia Malmström said: “We believe that the changes agreed today to the legislation strengthen EU’s trade defence instruments and will ensure that our European industry will be well equipped to deal with the unfair competition they face from dumped and subsidised imports now and in the future. Having a new methodology in place for calculating dumping on imports from countries which have significant distortions in their economies is essential to address the realities of today’s international trading environment. The Commission has repeatedly stressed the importance of free, but fair, trade and the agreement today endorses that view. These negotiations have been tough at times and addressed some thorny issues but the speed with which this legislation was agreed is a testimony to our commitment that the EU must have effective tools to tackle unfair international trade. With today’s successful outcome, the EU will have an anti-dumping methodology in place which will deal head-on, with the market distortions which may exist in exporting economies.

The new legislation introduces a new methodology for calculating dumping margins for imports from third countries in case of significant market distortions, or a pervasive State’s influence on the economy. The rules are formulated in a country-neutral way and in full compliance with the EU’s WTO obligations.

EU introduce new pan-EU electronic system for traders


The European Commission launched a new pan-EU electronic system to make it easier for businesses to get permission to import goods.

In turn, this means faster delivery and cheaper prices for consumers. The new Customs Decision System (CDS) will allow traders to handle up to 22 different types of customs applications online through the EU Trader Portal. Access to the CDS is more secure than current procedures and importers in all Member States can use the same portal with applications being exchanged between all relevant customs authorities. The new system is one of the first outcomes of the new Union Customs Code (UCC), a major overhaul of existing EU customs legislation which came into force on 1 May 2016. Modern IT systems are at the heart of the new regime so that customs systems can work efficiently to facilitate the flow of more than €3 trillion worth of goods in and out of the EU each year.

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.

Festive reception by the Belgium-Chinese Chamber of Commerce

The Jan Breydel stadium was the place to be on Sunday 27 august 2017 for the members and invitees of the BCECC. The good weather strengthened the pleasant and relaxed atmosphere among the many attendees.

During his welcome word, the chairman of club Bruges, Bart Verhaeghe, emphasized the importance of football. Football is first “emotion”. To win or lose a match – it does something with humans.

Secondly, football “connects”: you meet people, do business, show your advertising and make contact with consumers. This is an important “facet” of football.

Finally, contact with the fans is very important. Bruges is a small town with a big and well-known football club in Belgium. The many loyal fans support their club very much.

Philippe Mairlot, board member of the BCECC, concludes the introduction by giving further explanation on the functioning of the BCECC and by emphasizing in particular the trade and investment relations between Belgium and China.

After these welcome words, three interesting presentations were given.

Sir Mannaerts Vincent, CEO of club Bruges and a very enthusiast speaker, explained that club Bruges is more than football, it is the ambassador of the city of Bruges. Club Bruges has also the best stadium, the most fans and is the biggest Flemish football club. This club is always on the top and is also a good brand for the sponsors.

He continued saying that when Bart Verhaeghe became chairman of club Bruges in 2012, he initiated the commercial expansion. There are plans for a new stadium in 2021 and a new training complex in 2019. These are difficult projects but necessary for the further development of the club. The mentioning of the logo of the club on the slides  – “No sweat, no glory” –  speaks for itself.

In this context, we learned that club Bruges has 23 exclusive partnerships, for example with Microsoft. Going for visibility is a big purpose here. Working on digital marketing is another goal.

The second presentation, given by Jos Verscheuren, member of the International Football Business Institute, about “Football in China. What is going on?”, was very up-to-date and enlightening. He gave an overview of football in China. How was it before, how is it now and what will it be in the future. He emphasized that football in China is a real business.

Asia is an emerging football market. 31% of urban environments in China are in particular interested in football. There is a “Reform plan of Chinese football / + 50 – Points plan for the period 2020 – 2050”. Not only is there a lot of interest in football, it may also cost a lot of money. Top players are bought at phenomenal prizes for example. The sale of Axel Witsel from our national team is a great example in this case. They will win the world cup one day, is the conclusion of sir Verscheuren.

The last speaker  –  Pascal De Maesschack – head of the Club Academy –  spoke about the “Positioning of the Club Academy in Belgium and the European youth football”. We learn from him that the training of young players is very important because the potential is there. The developing of a professional support with all kind of staff members ( volunteers, coaches, sport trainers, technical and physical experts … ) is necessary to become good players and winners. This is not easy but this is our mission. The recruitment is also very important and difficult. The best potentials have to be taken.

Also important is that we work in a team but with individuals. We work with mental, social, physical … reports. This kind of reports are important to make the best decisions for a player to play in a team in first level, second level or even abroad with the hope on a good transfer later. Closing contracts and making transfers are therefore also important work points of the Academy.

The walking lunch after the three above professional presentations was a relaxing moment for the networking.

But the most important moment of the day and the festive event was the match between two great football champions in Belgium namely Club Bruges and Standard Liège. These are two top teams in the Belgium first division of football.

The Jan Breydel stadium was overtaken by sun and a lot of noise from the fans of the two clubs. They song, made music and were clapping in the hands all the time. It was amazing to be there. Already by the start of the match, Bruges made two beautiful goals. Hans Vanaken made after 3 minutes the first goal  and Hans Moraes the second goal after 7 minutes. Then it couldn’t go wrong anymore for the fans of club Bruges. The tension increased by times but most of all there was a lot of pleasure. In the second half of the match, club Bruges made two more goals: one by Hans Vanaken –  his second goal – after 56 minutes and Brandon Mechele after 80 minutes. Finaly club Bruges won with  4 – 0 against Standard Liège.

Everyone was satisfied not only to have seen a nice match but also and in particular to have had insight into the working and professional approach of a great football team.

Don’t forget the above logo : “ no sweat, no glory “.

 

Piu Piero

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.

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