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Guides on the EU Trade policy.
Customs action to tackle IPR infringing goods
EU Customs detained almost 40 million products suspected of violating intellectual property rights (IPR) in 2012, according to the Commission's annual report on customs actions to enforce IPR. Although this is less than the 2011 figure, the value of the intercepted goods is still high, at nearly €1 billion. Today’s report also gives statistics on the type, provenance and transport method of counterfeit products detained at the EU's external borders. Cigarettes accounted for a large number of interceptions (31%), miscellaneous goods (e.g. bottles, lamps, glue, batteries, washing powder) were the next largest category (12%), followed by packaging materials (10%). Postal and courier packages accounted for around 70% of customs interventions in 2012, with 23% of the detentions in postal traffic concerning medicines.
Anti-dumping tariffs on Chinese solar panels
The European Commission has decided to impose provisional anti-dumping duties on imports of solar panels, cells and wafers from China.
Negotiations for an investment agreement with China
The European Commission decided today to ask the EU Member States for their agreement on a mandate to open negotiations on an investment agreement with China. This is the first ever proposal for a stand-alone investment agreement since foreign direct investment became the exclusive competence of the EU under the Lisbon Treaty.
Consumer safety: RAPEX in 2012
In 2012, a total of 2,278 measures against dangerous non-food products, were taken by EU Member States and reported in the EU Rapid Information system (RAPEX). This indicates a 26% rise in alerts when compared to 2011 figures, an increase that could be attributed to the improved enforcement work carried out by the authorities in EU countries. RAPEX is the EU rapid alert system between Member States and the Commission on non-food products. Its role is to disseminate information quickly on potentially dangerous consumer products. This allows for earlier identification and earlier removal from EU markets of products that could pose a risk to consumers, such as children's clothing, textiles and electrical appliances which do not meet safety standards.
Modernisation of EU Trade Defence Instruments
The European Commission has made a proposal to adapt the EU's rulebook to tackle unfair competition from dumped and subsidised imports to the contemporary challenges facing the EU's economy. The Commission says the proposed changes would make the EU trade defence work better for all stakeholders, including both EU producers and importers. Anti-dumping and anti-subsidy instruments will be more efficient and better enforced to shield EU producers from unfair practices of foreign firms and from any risk of retaliation. At the same time, importers will enjoy greater predictability in terms of changing duty rates, which will make their business planning easier. The entire system will become more transparent and user-friendly.
EU's free trade agreements - state of play
Over the next two years, 90% of world demand will be generated outside the EU. That is why the EU sees it as a key priority to open up more market opportunities for European business by negotiating new Free Trade Agreements with key countries. If we were to complete all our current free trade talks tomorrow, we would add 2.2% to the EU's GDP or €275 billion. This is equivalent to adding a country as big as Austria or Denmark to the EU economy. In terms of employment, these agreements could generate 2.2 million new jobs or additional 1% of the EU total workforce. Below is an overview of the most important forthcoming and on-going free trade negotiations.
Fight against protectionism - Trade and Investment Barriers Report 2013
The European Commission on 14 March reports some success in its strategy to fight global trade barriers. Efforts to fight protectionism over the last year, it says, are bearing fruit and could create better trade and investment conditions for EU companies. Yet the struggle against protectionism continues. The resistance of Europe's strategic partners to the plea for open markets comes into the limelight in the Commission's third annual Trade and Investment Barriers Report published today. In particular, China, India, Mercosur and Russia do not escape criticism.
China's anti-dumping duties on X-ray security scanners - WTO case
A World Trade Organization panel report (DS425) found that China's anti-dumping duties on imports of X-ray security scanners from the EU were in breach of WTO anti-dumping rules. The report marks a clear victory for the EU. If the report is not appealed within 60 days, China will be expected to remove its anti-dumping duties on EU imports of X-ray security scanners.
EU trade agreement with Singapore
After more than two years of talks, the European Commission has concluded the negotiations for a free trade agreement with Singapore. The deal offers real opportunities for EU exporters in Singapore and sets new standards. It will level the playing field in Singapore and is a stepping stone to greater engagement across South-East Asia.
Reform of the EU Generalised Scheme of Preferences
The EU has issued a revised import preference scheme - known as the Generalised Scheme of Preferences (GSP) - for developing countries most in need which will take effect from 1 January 2014. Following agreement with the Council and European Parliament, today's publication contains the specific tariff preferences granted under the GSP in the form of reduced or zero tariff rates and the final criteria for which developing countries will benefit. The new scheme will be focused on fewer beneficiaries (89 countries) to ensure more impact on countries most in need. At the same time, more support is to be provided to countries which the EU sees as serious about implementing international human rights, labour rights and environment and good governance conventions.
2011 report on European Globalisation Adjustment Fund
More than 21,000 workers dismissed due to the economic crisis and the effects of globalisation were helped to find new job opportunities by the European Globalisation Adjustment Fund (EGF) in 2011, according to a report adopted on 4 September by the European Commission. The EU's Globalisation Fund paid out a total of €128 million in 2011 to assist these workers in twelve Member States (Austria, Belgium, Czech Republic, Denmark, France, Germany, Greece, Ireland, Italy, The Netherlands, Poland and Portugal).
Customs action to tackle fakes - guide
In 2011, EU Customs detained almost 115 million products suspected of violating intellectual property rights (IPR) compared to 103 million in 2010. The number of intercepted cases increased by 15% compared to 2010. The value of the intercepted goods represented nearly €1.3 billion compared to €1.1 billion in 2010, according to the Commission's annual report on customs actions to enforce IPR. Today’s report also gives statistics on the type, origin and transport method of IPR infringing products detained at the EU's external borders. The top categories of articles stopped by customs were medicines (24%), packaging material (21%) and cigarettes (18%). Products for daily use and products that could be potentially dangerous to the health and safety of consumers accounted for a total of 28.6% of the total amount of detained articles, compared to 14.5% in 2010. The increase in number of detained postal packages continued in 2011, with 36% of the detentions concerning medicines.
External public procurement initiative - guide
The European Commission is proposing to improve business opportunities for EU firms in procurement markets. The main objective of the initiative is to help open worldwide public procurement markets and to ensure European businesses have fair access to them. The proposal also aims to ensure that all companies (both European and non-European firms) are on an equal footing when it comes to competing for business in the EU's lucrative public procurement market.
EU WTO challenge to China's export restrictions on rare earths - guide
The European Union has launched a second challenge of China's export restrictions on raw materials including 17 rare earths, as well as tungsten and molybdenum. Together with the US and Japan, the EU formally requested dispute settlement consultations with China in the World Trade Organisation (WTO). This follows a successful EU challenge at the WTO on similar restrictions for other raw materials earlier this year.
Anti-dumping: What is Zeroing? - guide
In 2004 and 2007, the EU launched WTO disputes against the US for the use of a methodology called "zeroing" in the calculation of anti-dumping duty rates. The EU's initiative was followed by a number of countries including Brazil, China, Ecuador, Japan, Korea, Mexico, Thailand and Vietnam who lodged similar cases. The WTO Appellate Body has consistently condemned the practice of zeroing over the past decade as unfair. The US now finally committed itself to comply with the main elements of the WTO ruling, by removing zeroing in all ongoing and future cases.
WTO Case on export restrictions of raw materials in China - guide
The Appellate Body of the World Trade Organisation (WTO) on 30 January confirmed the findings made by a Panel in July 2011 that China's export restrictions on several industrial raw materials are in breach of WTO rules. The WTO found that China's export restrictions are not justified for reasons of environmental protection or conservation policy. Today's final ruling was welcomed by Europe's trade chief.
Small Business, Big World - new partnership to help SMEs seize global opportunities
European small and medium sized enterprises (SMEs) should better profit from fast growing emerging markets, such as in China, India, Russia or in regions like South East Asia and Latin America. This is the key issue to overcome the crisis addressed in the European Commission communication ‘Small Business, Big World - a new partnership to help SMEs seize global opportunities’ presented today. The priority for Europe now is to overcome the crisis boosting competitiveness and growth. Major markets such as China, India, Russia and Brazil, with strong growth rates and potential represent significant opportunities for EU companies. Exports outside the EU to expanding markets could trigger new dynamism for European economy. Internationalisation is the step SMEs need to take and to seize these opportunities.
"Agenda for Change" in EU development policy and EU budget support - guide
The EU will re-prioritise its delivery of aid to developing countries to ensure maximum impact on poverty reduction. EU Commissioner for Development Andris Piebalgs has presented the 'Agenda for Change' of EU Development policy and a new policy for EU budget support. These communications set out a more strategic EU approach to reducing poverty, including through a more targeted allocation of funding. Future EU spending should concentrate on sectors which are key for long-term and inclusive growth, target countries that are in the greatest need of external support and where aid can make a difference.
2010 report on European Globalisation Adjustment Fund (EGF) - guide
Nearly 23,700 workers dismissed due to economic crisis and major structural changes in world trade patterns were helped by the European Globalisation Adjustment Fund (EGF) last year, according to a report adopted on 22 August by the European Commission – more than double the number of workers helped by the Fund in 2009. The EUR 83.5 million paid out by the EU's Globalisation Fund to nine Member States are intended to help the national authorities as they support dismissed workers in finding new job opportunities.
Detention of counterfeit and pirated goods at EU borders in 2010 - guide
In 2010, EU Customs seized more than 103 million products suspected of violating intellectual property rights (IPR) at the EU's external borders. According to the Commission's annual report on EU Customs enforcement of IPR published today, the number of shipments stopped by customs almost doubled compared to last year, rising from 43,500 in 2009 to almost 80,000 in 2010. Today’s report also gives statistics on the type, origin and transport method of IPR infringing products stopped at the EU's external borders. For the first time, the report also indicates the value of the goods detained which is estimated at over € 1 billion. The top categories of articles stopped by customs were cigarettes (34%), office supplies (9%) other tobacco products (8%), labels, tags and emblems (8%), clothing (7%) and toys (7%). 14.5% of all detained articles were household products such as shampoos, soaps, medicines or household appliances (hair dryers, shavers, computer parts) which could potentially have health and safety implications for consumers. One of the major trends this year is the growing number of detentions of postal packages.