Tag Archives: trade

EU to modernised trade defence rules

“With today’s approval by the Council, we are very close to having the necessary tools to tackle unfair trading practices even more effectively. The EU stands for open and rules-based trade, but we must also ensure that others do not take advantage of our openness. I now look forward to the adoption of the new rules by the European Parliament to allow for their swift entry into force.” Said trade Commissioner Cecilia Malmström.

The Council gave a formal approval to the political agreement reached between the Commission, the Council and the European Parliament on 5 December 2017 to modernise the EU’s trade defense instruments.The changes to the EU’s anti-dumping and anti-subsidy regulations will make the EU’s trade defence instruments more adapted to the challenges of the global economy: they’ll become more effective, transparent and easier to use for companies. In some cases they will also enable the EU to impose higher duties on dumped products. The new rules will shorten the current investigation period and make the system more transparent. The companies will benefit from an early warning system that will help them adapt to the new situation in case duties are imposed. Smaller companies will also get assistance from a help desk, to make it easier for them to trigger and participate in trade defence proceedings. Also, in some cases, the EU will adapt its ‘lesser duty rule’ and may impose higher duties. This will apply to cases targeting imports of unfairly subsidised or dumped products from countries where raw materials and energy prices are distorted.

Progress in EU’s trade defence rules

“Today’s resoundingly positive vote means that the EU is one step closer to having the necessary tools to tackle unfair trading practices quickly and effectively. Together with the recently-agreed changes to our anti-dumping methodology, the EU’s toolbox of trade defence instruments will be even better suited to deal with global challenges. I now look forward to the speedy adoption of this decision by plenary of the European Parliament. The EU stands for open and rules-based trade, but we must ensure that others do not take advantage of our openness. The EU stands ready to defend its industry and workers from unfair competition.” Said Trade Commissioner Cecilia Malmström.

The international trade committee of the European Parliament endorsed the political agreement reached between the Commission, the Council and the European Parliament on 5 December 2017 on the modernisation of the EU’s trade defence instruments.  The changes to the EU’s anti-dumping and anti-subsidy regulations will make the EU’s trade defence instruments more adapted to the challenges of the global economy: they’ll become more effective, transparent and easier to use for companies. In some cases they will also enable the EU to impose higher duties on dumped products. The details of the agreement reached in December are now presented in a dedicated factsheet. The new rules will enter into force once the European Parliament and the Council conclude the respective ongoing approval procedures.

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.

May bets on talks with Trump


Bmay-smileritish Prime Minister Theresa May  will be the first foreign leader to meet new U.S. President Donald Trump, launching talks on renewed ‘special relationship’ between two countries. Reportedly a free trade deal is high on the agenda,  allowing May to strengthen her position during Brexit at home and towards EU27, shifthing trade vector from the EU to the US.

Trump underlined a deal can be done “very quickly”, but he added that the US interest goes first . Trade experts wonder how the two leaders will overcome disagreements over GMO food, meat production and public-sector procurement, and fear that U.S. companies might want to buy into its prized public health service.

May will meet Trump in Washington on Friday after stopping off in Philadelphia to meet senior Republican leaders from Congress ahead of the meeting in White House. Even a warm welcome, and a promise on patching the differenced between two allies can give May a stong hand in Brexit talks with the EU.





Brussels: MEPs approve CETA


The EU-Canada Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (CETA), which aims to boost goods and services trade and investment flows, was approved by the International Trade Committee on Tuesday. The full House is to vote on the deal in February.

“By approving CETA today we take a significant step forward. In the face of rising protectionism and populism, Parliament is able and willing to act on behalf of European citizens. I stand for a strong and global Europe and for open markets. Ratifying this agreement with Canada will enable trade to continue to bring wealth to both shores of our transatlantic friendship.  The duty of our governments is to ensure that each and every one of us benefits from this wealth”, rapporteur for the CETA agreement Artis Pabriks (EPP, LV) said before the vote.

The draft recommendation was passed by 25 votes to 15 with 1 abstention.

'Leave' activists push for hard #Brexit


The ‘Leave Means Leave’ group co-chairs Richard Tice and John Longworth launched an appeal for ‘hard Brexit’ in a letter sent to chambers of commerce in the EU member-states, urging businesses of Europe to encourage their national governments for a ‘sensible agreement’, ensuring smooth, uninterrupted transition in mutually beneficial trade.

“Many EU member states export significant amounts of goods to the UK  and the erection of barriers to this trade by the European Commission will have a detrimental effect on jobs and prosperity in a number of EU states, some where unemployment is already unacceptably high,” – says the joined letter singed by  Richard Tice and John Longworth. “It is therefore in all of our interests that trade is not interrupted and that the EU and U.K. secure a trade deal that has close to zero tariffs as is possible.”

The co-chairs pointed at “detrimental effect” of trade barriers for the regular Europeans from both side of the Channel, promoting symbolical near-zero tariffs.

“Businesses across Europe will want trade with the UK to continue as usual after Brexit and any hint of trade barriers by the European Commission will be rejected,” – the authors of the letter insist.

“It is vital that these business leaders make representations to their national governments to ensure that the EU is open for business.”

In this action, as previously the ‘Leave means leave’ activists regret the dogmatic approach of the European Commission towards the free movement of goods and people as inseparable conditionality. The major argument for changing the dogma is the priority of well-being of people of Europe over the rules conceived in the other political context more than half a century ago.

(Source: UK news agencies, Leave means leave group)

EU-Turkey: to upgrade Customs Union?


The request of the European Commission to modernise the existing EU-Turkey Customs Union is motivated by the necessity to adapt the contemporary EU-Turkey trade relations, raising substantially the beneficial for both parties.

With the evolution of the economic environment and the significant growth of EU-Turkey trade, the Customs Union that entered into force in 1996 is becoming less and less equipped to deal with the modern-day challenges of trade integration. The first EU-Turkey High Level Economic Dialogue last April underlined the potential of its modernisation. The modernisation and extension of the Customs Union could unlock further opportunities for EU companies in the agri-food and services sectors and the public procurement market. Respect of democracy and fundamental rights will be an essential element of the agreement.

Turkey is the EU’s 5th largest partner in trade in goods. The value of bilateral trade in goods has increased more than fourfold since 1996 and currently amounts to €140 billion annually. The EU has a positive balance of €17 billion. For Turkey the EU is the most important trading partner, representing 41% of Turkey’s global trade. Moreover, two thirds of foreign direct investment (FDI) in Turkey currently originates in the EU.

The upgrade of the EU-Turkey trade relation forms an essential part of the efforts made by the EU and Turkey to deepen their relations in key areas of joint interest identified at the EU-Turkey Summit of 29 November 2015 and in the EU-Turkey statement of 18 March 2016. By making this proposal, the Commission continues to deliver on the commitments it has made. (Source: European Commission)



High Representative (HR) of the EU for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy Catherine Ashton and EU Trade Commissioner Karel De Gucht today proposed an integrated EU approach to stop profits from trading minerals being used to fund armed conflicts. The package of measures will make it more difficult for armed groups in conflict-affected and high-risk areas to finance their activities through the mining of and trade in minerals. The focus of the approach is to make it easier for companies to source tin, tantalum, tungsten and gold responsibly and to encourage legitimate trading channels.

“We are committed to preventing international trade in minerals from intensifying or perpetuating conflict,” said HR/VP Catherine Ashton and EU Trade Commissioner Karel De Gucht. “Today’s initiative on ‘conflict minerals’ will help trade to work for peace, for communities and for prosperity in areas around the globe affected by armed conflict. It is a first and timely contribution from the EU to support a consensus reached by business, civil society and governments in OECD countries to help communities benefit from their natural resources.”

The Commission proposes a draft Regulation setting up an EU system of self-certification for importers of tin, tantalum, tungsten and gold who choose to import responsibly into the Union. Self-certification requires EU importers of these metals and their ores to exercise ‘due diligence’ – i.e. to avoid causing harm on the ground – by monitoring and administering their purchases and sales in line with the five steps of the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) Due Diligence Guidance. The aim is to act at the most effective level of the EU supply chain for these minerals and to facilitate the flow of due diligence information down to end users. The Regulation gives EU importers an opportunity to deepen ongoing efforts to ensure clean supply chains when trading legitimately with operators in conflict-affected countries.

To increase public accountability of smelters and refiners, enhance supply chain transparency and facilitate responsible mineral sourcing, the EU aims to publish an annual list of EU and global ‘responsible smelters and refiners’. With more than 400 importers of such ores and metals, the EU is among the largest markets for tin, tantalum, tungsten and gold.

The proposed Regulation is accompanied by a “Communication” (a proposal), a paper that presents the overall comprehensive foreign policy approach on how to tackle the link between conflict and the trade of minerals extracted in affected areas. It sets out the EU’s further engagement in support of the OECD due diligence guidance and the EU’s foreign policy outreach and support in this regard. With the Communication, the Commission and the HR/VP confirm that ‘conflict minerals’ are part of the EU’s foreign policy agenda and that the EU will take concrete action at country and international level – ranging from support to policy dialogues and diplomatic outreach to smelter countries. The Communication supports the commitment by the Commission and the High Representative to promote a strong and coherent EU raw materials diplomacy, addressing the security-development nexus in a joined-up and strategic manner.

Today’s initiative also proposes a number of incentives supporting the Regulation to encourage supply chain due diligence by EU companies, such as:

  • Public procurement incentives for companies selling products such as mobile phones, printers and computers containing tin, tantalum, tungsten and gold;
  • Financial support for Small and Medium sized Enterprises (SMEs) to carry out due diligence and for the OECD for capacity building and outreach activities;
  • Visible recognition for the efforts of EU companies who source responsibly from conflict-affected countries or areas;
  • Policy dialogues and diplomatic outreach with governments in extraction, processing and consuming countries to encourage a broader use of due diligence;
  • Raw materials diplomacy including in the context of multi-stakeholder due diligence initiatives;
  • Development cooperation with the countries concerned;
  • Support by EU Member States through their own policies and instruments.


The proposal for a Regulation is based on a public consultation, an impact assessment and extensive consultations with the OECD, business, civil society, as well as with institutions in producer countries.

It responds to the European Parliament’s call in 2010 for the EU to legislate along the same lines as the US which requires its companies using ‘conflict minerals’ to declare their origin and exercise due diligence.

The public consultation and impact assessment highlighted the difficult market situation in the Great Lakes Region which has prompted the Commission to develop an alternative but targeted and complementary model. The Commission also announced in the specialised publication Commodity markets and raw materialsand its Trade, growth and development Communication its intention to look at ways of making the supply chain more transparent.