Category Archives: trade

Tobacco: EU-wide track and trace system

Today the EU has taken a big step forward in combatting the illicit trade in tobacco products. The new EU-wide track and trace system adopted today will ensure that tobacco products in the EU are easily traceable with a unique identifier for each product. In addition, we are also making sure that tobacco products meet specific security requirements, with at least five types of authentication elements required per packet. The track and trace system and the security requirements should be in place by 20 May 2019 for cigarettes and roll-your-own tobacco and by 20 May 2024 for all other tobacco products (such as cigars, cigarillos and smokeless tobacco products).” Said Commissioner for Health and Food Safety Vytenis Andriukaitis welcomed the adoption of a set of legal acts aimed at combatting illicit trade in tobacco products.

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EU-Japan new Economic Partnership Agreement

 

The EU and Japan reached this morning an agreement on the final details of the EU-Japan Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA).

“The finalisation of the negotiations on the EU-Japan EPA demonstrates the powerful political will of Japan and the EU to continue to keep the flag of free trade waving high, and sends a strong message to the world. Beyond its considerable economic value, this Agreement is also of strategic importance.  It sends a clear signal to the world that the EU and Japan are committed to keeping the world economy working on the basis of free, open and fair markets with clear and transparent rules fully respecting and enhancing our values, fighting the temptation of protectionism. The EU-Japan EPA is one of the largest and most comprehensive economic agreements that either the EU or Japan have concluded so far. This EPA will create a huge economic zone with 600 million people and approximately 30 percent of the world GDP, and it will open up tremendous trade and investment opportunities and will contribute to strengthening our economies and societies. It will also strengthen economic cooperation between Japan and the EU and reinforce our competitiveness as mature yet innovative economies.”  President Jean-Claude Juncker and Prime Minister Abe agreed.

The deal has now been endorsed by Trade Commissioner Cecilia Malmström and Japanese Foreign Minister Taro Kono and welcomed in a joint statement by President Juncker and Prime Minister of Japan Abe. The conclusion todaybuilds on the political agreement in principle reached during the EU-Japan Summit on 6 July 2017. Following a legal check and translation into all EU languages, the Commission will submit the text agreed today for the approval of the European Parliament and EU Member States. The aim is to have the agreement in place before the end of the current mandate of the European Commission in 2019.

EU issues rules on derivatives

With these rules, EU financial market players will now have certainty on what derivatives will have to be traded on venues where greater safety, stability and transparency are assured.”  Said Valdis Dombrovskis, Vice-President in charge of Financial Stability, Financial Services and Capital Markets Union.

The Commission has today issued rules to make certain types of derivatives trades safer and more transparent. A derivative is a financial contract linked to the fluctuation in the price of the underlying asset or basket of assets to which it refers (e.g. the development of interest rates). The new rules specify which derivatives should be subject to the trading obligation under the Markets in Financial Instrument Regulation (MiFIR) and follows G-20 commitments to ensure that more trading in derivatives takes place on transparent trading venues, instead of being privately negotiated over the counter. Specifically, the new rules determine those derivatives that may only be traded on an EU trading venue or a non-EU trading venue covered by equivalence decisions of the Commission. EU trading venues include regulated markets, multilateral trading facilities, and organised trading facilities. The rules adopted today take the form of regulatory technical standards (RTS) and will now be sent for scrutiny to the European Parliament and the Council. Furthermore, the Commission is planning to soon adopt its equivalence decision recognising some US trading platforms, following last month’s agreement with the US Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) on a common approach regarding certain derivatives trading platforms.

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.

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 naïve 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.

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