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Guides on the EU Trade policy.
New external public procurement policy - guide
The European Commission is consulting stakeholders in all EU Member States for their views on a new policy on access to the EU's public procurement markets as announced in the Single Market Act of April 2011. An on-line questionnaire was launched today and will be open for contributions until 2 August. Replies will feed into legislation on this issue later this year. The aim is to create increased leverage for negotiating access to the procurement markets of other trading partners. This should help expand business opportunities for EU companies, as outlined in the EU's renewed trade strategy "Trade, Growth and World Affairs" presented in November 2010. In addition, the legislation seeks to establish clear terms of access to the EU's 1,800 billion government procurement market for suppliers from outside the EU. This should bring more legal certainty for both the EU public entities that need goods and services and their prospective international suppliers.
2010 RAPEX Report - guide
Whether a baby-stroller or a new pair of shoes, we all like to be sure that the products we buy in the EU are safe. The good news is that fewer dangerous products are reaching the EU market since such products are now identified and removed more readily. Thanks to the increasing effectiveness of the EU's rapid alert system for non-food dangerous products (RAPEX), a record 2,244 unsafe products were banned, withdrawn from the market or recalled from consumers in 2010 (up 13% compared with 2009), according to the 2010 annual RAPEX report published today. Member States have upped their game and European businesses are also taking their responsibilities in the consumer product safety area more seriously, with a marked increase (200%) in the use of the dedicated rapid alert system for business ('GPSD Business Application'). Safety at source has become a key focus – with attention now moving right back to the factory floor (design and manufacturing), and work with international partners is growing, in particular with China.
Reform of the EU Generalised System of Preferences
The aim of the Generalised System of Preferences (GSP) is to help developing countries by making it easier for them to export their products to the European Union. This is done in the form of reduced tariffs for their goods when entering the EU market. It allows these countries to participate more fully in international trade and generate additional export revenue. It is an autonomous measure by the EU: there is no expectation or requirement that this access be reciprocated by the countries concerned.
Trade Agreement between Colombia, Peru and the European Union - highlights
The European Commission has finalised the legal review of the Trade Agreement with Colombia and Peru. Once endorsed, this agreement would open up markets on both sides and increase the stability of this trade relationship that was worth €16 billion in bilateral trade in goods in 2010. The agreement includes far-reaching measures on the protection of human rights and the rule of law, as well as commitments to effectively implement international conventions on labour rights and environmental protection. The key elements of this agreement are outlined in this Memo.
EC program to deepen the Single Market for services - guide
While services currently represent two-thirds of the EU's GDP and employment, they only make up for around one-fifth of total intra-EU trade. Today, only about 8 per cent of European SMEs do business in other Member States. This lack of dynamism not only hampers choice for consumers, but also prevents small and innovative businesses to grow, develop their activities and become more competitive. To unlock this potential of the Single Market for services by 2012, the European Commission has today adopted a set of targeted actions to tackle remaining problems. The Services Directive aims precisely at removing unnecessary and burdensome obstacles to trade in services in the Single Market. One year after the implementation deadline, the Commission and the Member States have completed an assessment of how the Directive has been implemented on the ground. The results of this so-called "mutual evaluation" exercise conclude that, while much has been achieved so far, the Single Market for services is not yet delivering its full potential.
Reform of GSP rules of origin - guide
The European Commission has adopted a regulation revising rules of origin for products imported under the generalised system of preferences (GSP). This regulation relaxes and simplifies rules and procedures for developing countries wishing to access the EU's preferential trade arrangements, while ensuring the necessary controls are in place to prevent fraud.
Illegal logging - guide
The European Union on 6 October signed the Voluntary Partnership Agreement with Cameroon, the largest African exporter of timber products to the EU. By July 2012, all shipments of wood products from Cameroon to the EU will be required to carry a license showing that they contain timber and wood products from a legal origin. This agreement expresses a strong joint commitment to eradicate illegal logging and underpins Cameroon’s ongoing reforms towards good governance of the forest sector and development. European consumers, for their part, will have confidence that wood products, such as furniture, imported from Cameroon are of legal origin.
2009 customs detentions of goods suspected of infringing Intellectual Property Right (IPR) - guide
In 2009, EU Customs took action in 43,500 cases involving several million products suspected of being counterfeited or pirated at the external borders of the EU. This is according to the European Commission’s annual report on EU Customs Enforcement of Intellectual Property Rights (IPR), which was published today. Cigarettes, clothing and brand labels were among the main articles stopped by customs on suspicion of IPR infringements. However, products for daily use and posing a potential danger to citizens’ health, such as shampoos, toothpaste, toys, medicines or household appliances, also accounted for a significant part. Today’s report gives statistics on the type, origin and transport method of IPR infringing products stopped at the external borders.
Revised Cotonou Partnership Agreement - guide
The official ceremony of a signature of the second revised Cotonou Agreement took place in Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso, on 22-23 June 2010 in presence of EU Development Commissioner and representatives of the ACP countries. Changes to the agreement highlight an emphasis on climate change, and regional integration to combat problems affecting neighbouring countries. Other goals include coordinated efforts to maintain food security, and prioritisation of fragile states. Commissioner Piebalgs also inaugurated a street "L'Avenue de L'Europe" next to the EU delegation, and met with Burkina Faso's President, Blaise Compaore.
EU report shows ineffectiveness of simplified customs procedures
The European Court of Auditors has assessed whether the regulatory framework and control approach developed by the European Commission and put in place in the Member States effectively control simplified customs procedures for imports. According to a Special Report published by the Court today, simplified procedures are not yet effectively controlled in the majority of the audited Member States.
New Block Exemption Regulation - briefing
The European Commission has adopted a new Regulation that 'block exempts' distribution and supply agreements at different levels of the production and distribution chain.
Community rapid information system for dangerous products (RAPEX) - briefing
The number of dangerous consumer products notified through the EU's rapid alert system for non-food dangerous products ("RAPEX") rose by 7% in 2009 compared to 2008, the European Commission's annual RAPEX report shows today. This rise from 1866 notifications in 2008 to 1993 last year shows that the capacity of the RAPEX system has increased again in 2009, following more effective market surveillance by Member States. European businesses are also taking their responsibilities in the consumer product safety area more seriously and recall their unsafe products from the market more readily. They also begin to use the dedicated rapid alert system for business ('Business Application') more systematically. Toys, clothing and motor vehicles were the most frequently notified products in 2009. In addition, the results of an EU market surveillance exercise, involving 13 countries checking the safety of toys, were also presented today, and show that around 20% did not comply with the relevant safety requirements.
Joint customs operation "Matthew II" - briefing
A Joint Customs Operation code-named Matthew II has led to the seizure of more than 16 million cigarettes, 241 kilograms of tobacco products, 6 400 liters of alcohol, 20 tons of counterfeit perfumes, 53.418 other counterfeit items such as bags, coats, scarves, wallets, and 1.515,75 kilograms of cannabis. During the operational phase, additional seizures of more than 25 million cigarettes also took place in some EU ports.
Banana Accompanying Measures (BAM) - briefing
The European Commission has adopted a €190 million support package for banana exporters from African, Caribbean and Pacific (ACP) states. This proposal was part of the historic Geneva Agreement on Trade in Bananas. The EU concluded this deal with Latin American countries and the US in December 2009 which settles 15 years banana disputes. It also cuts the tariff which the EU applies to bananas imported from Latin American countries. Today's measures aim to support ACP banana exporters to adjust to this new trading environment, taking into account each country's specific situation. The measures will focus on three goals: boosting the banana sector's competitiveness, promoting economic diversification and addressing broader social, economic and environmental impacts.
Committee on International Trade
Responsibilities, contacts and latest studies of the Committee on International Trade
EU-Ukraine Free Trade Area
The EU-Ukraine Free Trade Area is part of the EU's wider policy of creating a stable and prosperous European neighborhood through closer economic ties.
External Borders Fund (2007-2013)
As part of the general programme “Solidarity and management of migration flows”, Decision No 574/2007/EC establishes the External Borders Fund (EBF) for the period 2007-13 with resources totalling €1820 million.
Plant health: Harmful organisms
The aim of the Community plant health regime is to prevent the introduction into the community of organisms harmful to plants or plant products or their spread within the Community. In order to meet the this aim, rights and obligations are placed upon Member States to regulate the movement of plants or plant products within their territory and to regulate the introduction of plants or plant products into the Community from third countries. Obligations are placed upon third countries which want to export plants or plant products to the Community.
Customs response to latest trends in counterfeiting and piracy
The European Commission proposes a series of customs measures aimed at protecting the EU more effectively against counterfeiting and piracy. These measures include improving legislation, strengthening partnership between customs and businesses and increasing international cooperation.
Markets for agricultural products: Bananas
The European Union's common organisation of the market in bananas allows the EU market to receive satisfactory supplies of quality bananas at fair prices for producers and consumers and ensure a balance between the various sources of supply.