Tag Archives: International trade

Strategy for cooperation with the Philippines

Strategy for cooperation with the Philippines

Outline of the Community (European Union) legislation about Strategy for cooperation with the Philippines

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External relations > Relations with third countries > Asia

Strategy for cooperation with the Philippines (2007-2013)

Document or Iniciative

The European Commission – Philippines Strategy Paper 2007-2013 .

Summary

The partnership between the European Union (EU) and the Philippines is focused on reducing poverty and the equitable distribution of wealth. Although the country has reached an intermediate level of development, a large proportion of its population lives below the poverty threshold. This situation is partly explained by a high level of demographic growth and a low level of economic growth.

Areas for cooperation

This Strategy should be implemented according to priority actions in order to:

  • develop a policy to reduce poverty and meet the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs);
  • promote economic reforms and good public governance;
  • organise basic social services, in particular to improve access to health care and education.

Furthermore, the partnership should stimulate trade and investment, and reinforce the positive impact of commercial growth on the country’s level of development.

Cross-cutting issues

Generally, cooperation actions should improve governance and human rights, gender equality, the rights of children and minorities, as well as the protection of the environment, conflict prevention and the stability of the country.

Thematic regional programmes

The Philippines participate in several regional cooperation schemes, such as the Association of South-East Asian Nations (ASEAN), Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) and the Asia-Europe Meeting (ASEM) for policy dialogue.

These bodies provide a framework for cooperation and dialogue as regards democracy and human rights, migration, the environment, social policy and exchanges between universities.

Strategy for cooperation with Thailand

Strategy for cooperation with Thailand

Outline of the Community (European Union) legislation about Strategy for cooperation with Thailand

Topics

These categories group together and put in context the legislative and non-legislative initiatives which deal with the same topic.

External relations > Relations with third countries > Asia

Strategy for cooperation with Thailand (2007-2013)

Document or Iniciative

The European Commission – Thailand Strategy Paper 2007-2013 .

Summary

The partnership put in place between the European Union (EU) and Thailand is intended to facilitate policy and trade dialogue and knowledge sharing. The cooperation priorities presented by the Commission therefore take into account improvements in the socio-economic development of the country.

Strategic cooperation areas

Economic cooperation activities are at the heart of the partnership. The EU therefore supports public reforms in economic areas, improvements to the legal environment for enterprise and investment, and the increase in commercial competitiveness of the country at regional and global levels.

Similarly, planned measures aim at facilitating customs cooperation and adapting rules and technical standards applicable to goods that are to be imported into the EU.

The partners also intend to strengthen their relations in the area of science and technology, higher education and research. Their activities should facilitate the sharing of information, know-how and good practices, as well as strengthening capacities and resources in the sector of research.

Lastly, cooperation should foster dialogue and the sharing of knowledge in the areas of social policy, protection of the environment, good governance, human rights and mine action.

Policy dialogue

A series of themes are to be covered as part of the policy dialogue:

  • the promotion of democracy and human rights;
  • social and human development, particularly as regards health, culture, education and training;
  • immigration and asylum policy, the fight against human trafficking and the protection of displaced persons;
  • the environment and the sustainable management of natural resources;
  • the development of civil society.

Cross-cutting issues

Cooperation actions undertaken must take into account:

  • gender equality and the position of women in the economy;
  • the impact of global trade at social level and the promotion of decent work;
  • management of natural resources, including energy;
  • good governance in public affairs and the promotion of human rights.

Context

The partners’ relations should be intensified through the conclusion of a Partnership and Cooperation Agreement (PCA). The negotiations, initiated in 2007, deal particularly with the priorities defined in this Strategy Paper.

Overseas countries and territories : towards a new partnership

Overseas countries and territories : towards a new partnership

Outline of the Community (European Union) legislation about Overseas countries and territories : towards a new partnership

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Development > Overseas countries and territories (OCT)

Overseas countries and territories (OCTs): towards a new partnership

Document or Iniciative

Communication from the Commission to the European Parliament, the Council, the European Economic and Social Committee and the Committee of the Regions of 6 November 2009 – Elements for a new partnership between the EU and the overseas countries and territories (OCTs) [COM(2009) 623 final – Not published in the Official Journal].

Summary

Relations between the European Union (EU) and Overseas Countries and Territories (OCTs) should evolve into a reciprocal partnership, founded on mutual interests. These relations are currently defined by the framework for association established by Decision 2001/822/EC.

This Communication presents a new approach aimed at supporting the sustainable development of OCTs by adapting the cooperation principles and priorities to the specificities of these countries and territories. In addition, if their level of development is generally higher than that of African, Caribbean and Pacific (ACP) states, certain OCTs shall continue to benefit from European aid to fight against poverty.

Supporting sustainable development

The future partnership, based on Article 198 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the EU, should prioritise three axes of cooperation:

  • the competitiveness of OCTs in key areas such as education and training, innovation, the small and medium-sized enterprises sector, and good political and economic governance;
  • reducing their vulnerability to economic shocks, environmental issues, energy dependency and natural disasters;
  • regional integration through increasing intra-regional economic exchanges, carrying out cooperation projects (specifically for cross-border environmental protection) and increasing cultural exchanges.

Cooperation should be tailored to the situation of each partner.

European financial and technical assistance shall be improved, specifically by coordinating financial instruments with those for the Outermost Regions, ACP states or other countries neighbouring the OCTs.

OCTs may participate in certain Community programmes (such as the 7th Research Framework Programme). The programmes must therefore be adapted to the new priorities.

Cooperation priorities

The Commission has identified a set of areas for cooperation which should enable the potential of OCTs to be developed. They involve:

  • establishing centres of excellence and expertise to manage the advantages and difficulties of each territory;
  • upgrading OCT legislation to EU rules and standards, specifically to encourage the trade of goods and services (for example by bringing customs procedures and sanitary and phytosanitary standards closer together) and compliance with the principles of transparency on tax;
  • developing environmental cooperation to support the transition of OCTs to a greener economy, and helping them adapt to climate change, biodiversity protection, the promotion of renewable energies and disaster risk reduction;
  • improving the OCTs’ accessibility by developing information and communication technologies and transport infrastructures;
  • increasing trade and economic cooperation in terms of international trade liberalisation, which entails reciprocal trade relationships and specific rules of origin.

Background

The Communication follows the Green Paper on future relations between the EU and OCTs. The conclusions of the Green Paper support the revision of the existing framework for association.

Strategy for Iraq 2011-2013

Strategy for Iraq 2011-2013

Outline of the Community (European Union) legislation about Strategy for Iraq 2011-2013

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External relations > Relations with third countries > Middle east

Strategy for Iraq 2011-2013

Document or Iniciative

European Commission – Iraq Country Strategy Paper 2007-2013 .

Summary

The Commission presents the Strategy Paper and the National Indicative Programme which define the priorities for cooperation between the European Union and Iraq.

The cooperation between the partners aims to:

  • develop a secure and stable democracy where fundamental rights and freedoms are respected;
  • establish a market economy and open society with resources to promote equitable economic and social development;
  • promote the country’s political and economic integration into the wider region and the international economic system.

The strategy also supports the country in its progress towards meeting the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs).

Strategy 2007-2013

The joint action programming focuses on three interdependent priority areas:

  • strengthening institutions and good governance;
  • socio-economic recovery, through education and strengthening institutional capacity;
  • water management and agriculture.

In addition, the cooperation actions must take account of the following cross-cutting issues:

  • human capital and competence building;
  • human rights, gender equality and the protection of vulnerable groups;
  • environmental protection.

Implementation

The level of political stability and security in Iraq remains insufficient. Furthermore, the implementation of cooperation actions requires flexible methods to be established.

Funding for the strategy is provided by the financing instrument for development cooperation. Funding from thematic programmes may also be applied for, specifically for the protection of human rights, non-state actors and local authorities, migration, food security and the environment.

Lastly, actions must be carried out in coordination with the Commission, the Member States, and the international organisations involved in the reconstruction and development of the country.

Sweden and Italy play a particular role in the implementation of the strategy given the importance and complementarity of their bilateral cooperation with Iraq. The two States shall continue their action under the framework of this European strategy.

Context

The EU and Iraq are progressing towards the conclusion of a Partnership and Cooperation Agreement. This Agreement will provide a complete political and legal framework for promoting the development of the country, its stability and integration into the international community.

In 2010, the partners adopted a Memorandum of Understanding on Energy in order to provide a framework for cooperation on matters of energy security, renewable energy and energy efficiency, and of scientific, technological and industrial cooperation.

Convention on Choice of Court Agreements

Convention on Choice of Court Agreements

Outline of the Community (European Union) legislation about Convention on Choice of Court Agreements

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Justice freedom and security > Judicial cooperation in civil matters

Convention on Choice of Court Agreements

Document or Iniciative

Council Decision 2009/397/EC of 26 February 2009 on the signing on behalf of the European Community of the Convention on Choice of Court Agreements.

Summary

The Convention on Choice of Court Agreements was concluded under The Hague Conference on Private International Law on 30 June 2005. This decision provides for the signing of that convention on behalf of the European Community.

The convention applies in international cases to exclusive choice of court agreements concluded in civil or commercial matters. Its scope excludes both consumer and employment contracts. Neither does the convention apply to a number of other matters, such as the legal capacity of natural persons, maintenance obligations and other family law matters, the carriage of passengers or goods, marine pollution, competition matters, the validity of legal persons, the validity of intellectual property rights, etc. Furthermore, it does not apply to arbitration and related proceedings.

An exclusive choice of court agreement may be concluded by two or more parties to designate the courts (or one or more specific courts) of one contracting state as having jurisdiction in disputes relating to a particular legal relationship. Such an agreement is considered to be exclusive, unless otherwise specified by the parties to the agreement. The agreement must be made in writing or by other means that allow the information to be accessed subsequently.

Jurisdiction

The designated court has jurisdiction to decide a dispute to which the agreement applies, except when its national law does not recognise the agreement as valid. Any other court of a contracting state must suspend or dismiss the related proceedings, except in cases where the agreement is null and void under the law of the state of the chosen court, the party lacked the capacity to conclude the agreement under the national law of the court seised, implementation of the agreement contravenes the public policy of the state of the court seised, the agreement cannot be performed or the chosen court decides against hearing the case.

Recognition and enforcement

The other contracting states must recognise and enforce a judgement given by the court designated in the exclusive choice of court agreement. However, the judgement must first be enforceable in the state of origin. The postponement or refusal of recognition or enforcement is possible when the judgement is under review in the state of origin or when the deadline for seeking ordinary review has not yet expired.

Recognition or enforcement of a judgement may also be refused when:

  • the agreement is null and void in the state of the chosen court;
  • a party lacked the capacity to conclude the agreement under the law of the requested state;
  • the document instituting the proceedings was not presented in sufficient time to the defendant;
  • the manner in which the document instituting the proceedings was presented to the defendant is in conflict with the fundamental principles on serving documents;
  • the judgement was obtained through a fraudulent procedure;
  • recognition or enforcement is manifestly incompatible with the public policy of the requested state;
  • the judgement is not consistent with an earlier one given by the requested state in a dispute between the same parties;
  • the judgement is not consistent with an earlier one given by another state in a dispute between the same parties and for the same action.

When requesting the recognition or enforcement of a judgement, the party needs to produce the following documents:

  • a copy of the judgement;
  • a copy of the exclusive choice of court agreement;
  • in case the judgement was given by default, a document indicating that the defaulting party was notified of the institution of the proceedings;
  • a document indicating that the judgement is enforceable in the state of origin;
  • in the case of a judicial settlement, a certificate of a court indicating that the settlement is equally enforceable in the state of origin.

An application may also be made for the partial recognition or enforcement of a judgement.

The law governing the procedure for recognition, declaration for enforceability or registration for enforcement and the enforcement of the judgement is that of the requested state.

Declarations limiting jurisdiction, recognition or enforcement

A state may at any time make a declaration whereby its courts refuse to exercise their jurisdiction in determining disputes if there is no connection between the parties to the dispute and that state. Similarly, a state may make a declaration whereby its courts refuse to recognise or enforce a judgement if the parties to the dispute are resident in that state and the relationship of the parties as well as all other elements relating to the dispute are connected only with it. A state may also make a declaration whereby it will not apply this convention to a specific matter. In addition, a state may make a declaration whereby it recognises and enforces judgments given by courts of other contracting states designated in a non-exclusive choice of court agreement.

REFERENCES

Act Entry into force Deadline for transposition in the Member States Official Journal
Decision 2009/397/EC

26.2.2009

OJ L 133 of 29.5.2009

Accession of the European Community to the Codex Alimentarius Commission

Accession of the European Community to the Codex Alimentarius Commission

Outline of the Community (European Union) legislation about Accession of the European Community to the Codex Alimentarius Commission

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Food safety > International dimension and enlargement

Accession of the European Community to the Codex Alimentarius Commission

Document or Iniciative

Council Decision 2003/822/EC of 17 November 2003 on the accession of the European Community to the Codex Alimentarius Commission [Official Journal L 309, 26.11.2003].

Summary

Context

The Codex Alimentarius (or food code) is a joint programme of the FAO (the UN’s Food and Agriculture Organisation) and the WHO (World Health Organisation), which lays down food health standards that serve as a reference for international trade in foodstuffs.

Since 1994 and the entry into force of the WTO Agreements on Sanitary and Phytosanitary Measures (SPS Agreement) and on Technical Barriers to Trade (TBT Agreement), the legal relevance of the Codex standards has increased. Indeed these two Agreements make reference to those standards, meaning that the latter are used as the basis for the evaluation of national measures and regulations.

At present, all Member States of the European Union (EU), and, since the end of 2003, the European Community as such are members of the Codex Alimentarius Commission, which is the body in charge of updating the Codex.

This Decision concerns the application of the European Community to accede to the CAC, achieved in 2003. It is accompanied by a declaration on the exercise of competence between the European Community and its Member States and by the text of the Arrangement between the Council and the Commission regarding preparation for meetings and statements and the exercise of voting rights within the CAC.

Background to the accession negotiations

Since Article 2 of the CAC’s statutes authorises any FAO member to become a full member, the European Community started negotiations to that end in the mid-1990s.
In January 1994, the Council authorised the Commission to enter into negotiations, on behalf of the Community, with the CAC Secretariat with a view to defining the conditions and procedures for the Community’s accession.
Discussions between the Commission and Council had since then been blocked by Member State concerns about internal coordination and the division of responsibilities.
As a result of the White Paper on Food Safety, which reaffirmed the benefits of CAC membership, negotiations with the CAC Secretariat on accession conditions resumed during 2001.

In June 2003, the CAC amended its Rules of Procedure allowing regional economic integration organisations to become members, thus opening the way to the accession of the European Community alongside its Member States.

The Codex Alimentarius Commission: aims and mode of operation

The CAC was created by the WHO and FAO in 1963 to implement their Joint Food Standards Programme aimed at protecting the health of consumers, ensuring fair trade practices in the food trade and promoting coordination of all food standards work undertaken by governmental and international organisations.

Its main aim, then, is to define international standards, codes of practice and other guidelines and recommendations concerning agricultural and fishery products, foodstuffs, food additives, food contaminants, animal feed and the residues of veterinary products and pesticides as well as labelling, inspection and certification systems, analysis and sampling methods, ethics and good farming practice codes and food hygiene practices.
These standards are then published in one of the Codex’s 13 volumes:

  • general requirements and general requirements for food hygiene;
  • general texts on pesticide residues in food and maximum limits for same;
  • residues of veterinary drugs in foods;
  • foods for special dietary uses, including foods for infants and children;
  • processed and quick-frozen fruits and vegetables, fresh fruits and vegetables;
  • fruit juices;
  • cereals, pulses and derived products and vegetable proteins;
  • fats and oils and related products;
  • fish and fishery products;
  • meat and meat products;
  • soups and broths;
  • sugars, cocoa products and chocolate and miscellaneous products;
  • milk and milk products;
  • methods of analysing and sampling.

The CAC’S work also encourages food traders to voluntarily adopt ethical practices. To that end, the CAC has published a Code of ethics for international trade in food, which now forms part of the Codex.

The CAC currently comprises 171 countries and holds meetings every year. It is helped in developing its standards by subsidiary bodies, which include committees dealing with horizontal matters (for example, general principles, labelling, food hygiene, food additives and contaminants, etc.), committees dealing with vertical matters, i.e. specialising in one type of product (for example, milk and milk products, fish and fishery products, etc.), “task forces” dedicated to a particular task of limited duration and regional coordinating committees. In addition, the experts’ meetings organised and supported by the FAO and the WHO provide the essential scientific basis (risk assessment) for the CAC’S work and the publications resulting from their activities act as international references. There are three of these groups of experts, the Joint FAO/WHO Meeting on Pesticide Residues (JMPR), the Joint FAO/WHO Meeting on Microbiological Risk Assessment (JEMRA) and the Joint FAO/WHO Expert Committee on Food Additives (JECFA).

Activities of the European Community and its Member States within the CAC

The CAC’s Rules of Procedure now allow a member organisation to share its voting rights with its Member States in accordance with their respective competences. When the member organisation is entitled to vote, the number of votes it may cast is equal to the number of Member States present when the vote is taken, hence the importance of Member States being present. This rule is the result of a compromise reached with developing countries, which, in the interests of fairness, could not accept the vote of a country not present being counted.

Competence is assigned as follows:

  • the European Community has exclusive competence for matters on which the rules have already been harmonised, either fully or to a large extent, at Community level. In such cases, the Commission speaks and votes in the name of the Community, although Member States have the right to speak in favour of the Community position and to react to contributions from other countries;
  • the Member States have exclusive competence for all organisational matters (for example, legal or budgetary questions) and for procedural matters (for example, the election of chairpersons, the adoption of agendas and the approval of minutes);
  • competence is shared where rules have been only partially harmonised: the vote is exercised either by the Member States or the Community, depending on the degree of harmonisation achieved. In such cases, the Presidency and the Commission put forward the common position. Member States may also speak in order to support and/or develop the Community position and to react to contributions.

Before each meeting of the CAC or of one of its subsidiary bodies, an annotated agenda, indicating who, within the organisation or its Member States, is competent for each item and is to exercise the right to vote, is drawn up and given to all participants.

In addition, the Member States and the Commission have the right to participate in the Codex working groups and drafting committees and express their opinions there. Member State and Commission representatives endeavour to reach a common position and defend this during discussions in the working groups and drafting committees,

The HACCP principles (Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Point) and the Codex Alimentarius

The measures taken by the EU with regard to food safety and food frequently invoke the Codex as justification. This is true particularly of the HACCP principles, which are the basis of European legislation relating to food hygiene and official controls on products of animal origin intended for human consumption.

These principles, developed by the CAC since the early 1990s, prescribe a number of stages to be followed throughout the production cycle in order to allow, on the basis of a risk analysis, the identification of critical points that need to be monitored to ensure food safety:

  • identification of all risks to be avoided, eliminated or reduced to acceptable levels;
  • identification of the critical or limit points where surveillance becomes essential;
  • establishment and application of effective procedures for monitoring critical points;
  • adoption of corrective measures when monitoring reveals a critical point is being overstepped.

Relationship between the WTO and the Codex Alimentarius

When the WTO was set up in April 1994, two specific agreements were concluded in Marrakech to restrict barriers to trade justified on the basis of protectionist technical regulations:

  • the Agreement on Sanitary and Phytosanitary Measures (SPS Agreement);
  • the Agreement on Technical Barriers to Trade (TBT Agreement).

The SPS Agreement lays down the conditions on which a State can adopt and implement health measures (animal health, food safety) or phytosanitary measures (protection of plants) that have a direct or indirect impact on international trade. This Agreement makes explicit reference to the standards defined by the Codex to impose limits on the actions of the signatory States.
Thus the preamble to this Agreement declares itself in favour of furthering “the use of harmonized sanitary and phytosanitary measures between Members, on the basis of international standards, guidelines and recommendations developed by the relevant international organisations, including the Codex Alimentarius Commission”.

The TBT Agreement aims to guarantee that technical regulations and standards do not create unnecessary obstacles to international trade. It too makes extensive reference to international standards, though without explicitly citing the Codex, in the context of the harmonisation that it advocates.

References

Act Entry into force Deadline for transposition in the Member States Official Journal
Decision 2003/822/EC 17.11.2003 OJ L 309 of 26.11.2003

The European Union and the United Nations: The choice of multilateralism

The European Union and the United Nations: The choice of multilateralism

Outline of the Community (European Union) legislation about The European Union and the United Nations: The choice of multilateralism

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These categories group together and put in context the legislative and non-legislative initiatives which deal with the same topic.

Development > General development framework

The European Union and the United Nations: The choice of multilateralism

Document or Iniciative

Communication from the Commission to the Council and the European Parliament of 10 September 2003 – The European Union and the United Nations: the choice of multilateralism [COM(2003) 526 final – Not published in the Official Journal].

Summary

This Communication examines the means available to the European Union (EU) to contribute towards the continuous improvement of global governance, through the United Nations’ (UN) * governance system.

The EU therefore renews its support for the UN’s multilateral governance system * as an instrument for adopting concrete solutions at a global level, to the benefit of sustainable development, poverty reduction, peace and security, in particular.

Effectiveness of multilateral governance

The EU must increase its contribution with a view to adopting and applying multilateral policies and instruments. The EU’s influence could be a determining factor in the implementation of global commitments by its Member States and third country partners.

In addition, the EU must take a more active role in the institutional reform process of the UN in order to increase the effectiveness of the system, to adapt it to the development of multilateral reports, and to promote the international policy of development assistance.

Similarly, an improvement in coordination and cooperation at international level should facilitate the monitoring of commitments and strengthen actions for peace, security and human rights.

Lastly, European external policy supports the capacity-building of developing countries to meet their international commitments. In particular, the EU integrates the objectives of sustainable development, trade assistance, the promotion of decent working standards, and combating terrorism, drug trafficking and organised crime into its external policy programmes.

Effectiveness of collaboration

The Commission presents a set of guidelines for greater partnership between the EU and the UN, in order to:

  • increase policy dialogue, through increasing high-level meetings and cooperation with UN agencies;
  • strengthen EU representation within the UN;
  • increase financial cooperation and the EU’s financial contribution to UN operations;
  • conclude strategic partnerships with UN agencies, funds and programmes in the areas of development assistance and humanitarian aid;
  • conduct a strategic dialogue on coordinating humanitarian aid activities.

Political and technical cooperation must also be increased in the area of peace and security, whether for conflict prevention, crisis management or post-crisis reconstruction. This partnership must be systematically extended to the competent regional organisations (such as the Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) and the Council of Europe).

Promoting the values and interests of the EU

The EU contributes substantially to the development of policies adopted within the UN. However, it is still necessary to improve the coordination of its Member States’ positions, to ensure that the objectives of the Common Foreign and Security Policy (CFSP) are consistent with the positions of the UN Security Council, and also to increase the role of EU delegations to the UN.

In order to increase the influence of the EU within the UN governance system, the Commission recommends:

  • coordinating the Member States’ positions and participating in the decision-making process as soon as possible, particularly regarding international social policy, health, human rights, development cooperation and humanitarian aid;
  • improving coordination and the EU’s dialogue with countries or groups of countries affected by specific issues;
  • ensuring that European policies are compatible with international policies, and ensuring that effective European representation is in place with regard to the work of the UN on subjects which affect the EU.
Key terms
  • United Nations governance system: a concept defined by the Commission as applying to the main bodies of the UN (the General Assembly, the Economic and Social Council and their subsidiary bodies, the Security Council and the Secretariat), and the programmes, funds and specialised institutions of the United Nations, including the Bretton Woods institutions (the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund).
  • Multilateral governance: a method of organisation of international relations, involving more than two States.

Towards an EU Aid for Trade strategy

Towards an EU Aid for Trade strategy

Outline of the Community (European Union) legislation about Towards an EU Aid for Trade strategy

Topics

These categories group together and put in context the legislative and non-legislative initiatives which deal with the same topic.

External trade

Towards an EU Aid for Trade strategy

Document or Iniciative

Communication from the Commission to the Council, the European Parliament, the European Economic and Social Committee and the Committee of the Regions entitled “Towards an EU Aid for Trade strategy – the Commission’s contribution” [COM(2007) 163 final – Not published in the Official Journal].

Summary

Trade is an important catalyst for growth and poverty reduction in developing countries. But successful integration of developing countries into world trade requires more than better market access and strengthened international trade rules. In order to fully exploit the benefits from trade, developing countries also need to remove supply-side constraints and address structural weaknesses. This includes domestic reforms in trade-related policies, trade facilitation, enhancement of customs capacities, upgrading of infrastructure, enhancement of productive capacities and building of domestic and regional markets. Complementary efforts are required in areas such as macroeconomic stability, fiscal reforms, promotion of investment, labour policy, capital and product market regulations and institutions, and human capital development.

Aid for Trade is a very important factor in this context. It is geared to generating growth, employment and income, thereby contributing to the first and eighth Millennium Development Goals, i.e. to reduce the proportion of people living on less than a dollar a day and to establish an open trading and financial system that is rule-based and non-discriminatory.

The objectives of Aid for Trade are:

  • to enable developing countries, particularly the least?developed countries (LDCs), to use trade more effectively to promote growth, employment, development and poverty reduction and to achieve their development objectives;
  • to facilitate the access of these countries to international markets by improving their supply-side capacity and trade-related infrastructure;
  • to help these countries to implement and adjust to trade reform, including via labour market and social adjustments;
  • to assist regional integration;
  • to assist good integration into the world trading system.

An EU Aid for Trade strategy can contribute to these objectives through the following measures:

  • increasing the volumes of EU Aid for Trade, in particular by taking trade?related assistance up to EUR 2 billion a year by 2010, but also by promoting an effective response to wider Aid for Trade needs;
  • enhancing the quality of EU Aid for Trade;
  • implementing effective monitoring and reporting.

Increasing the volumes of Aid for Trade

The Commission recalls that five categories of Aid for Trade were identified by the World Trade Organisation (WTO) Task Force on Aid for Trade, i.e.:

  • trade policy and trade regulation;
  • trade development;
  • trade-related infrastructure;
  • productive capacities;
  • trade-related adjustment.

The first two categories are grouped under “trade?related assistance”. They include:

  • trade policy and trade regulation, which are aimed at ensuring effective participation of developing countries in multilateral trade negotiations and assisting these countries in the implementation of trade-related legislation;
  • development of trade and the business climate, and improvement of business support services and institutions.

In 2005 the EU undertook to increase its trade?related assistance to EUR 2 billion per year by 2010, with half coming from the Commission and the other half from the Member States. The Commission currently provides EUR 840 million per year, whereas Member States contribute only EUR 300 million.

To increase the volume of aid, the Commission recommends that:

  • the Member States reach a level of EUR 600 million per year by 2008, in order to attain the 1 billion target set for 2010;
  • a significant share of the increased aid should be allocated to the African, Caribbean and Pacific (ACP) countries in support of regional integration and Economic Partnership Agreements (EPAs). In particular, the ACP countries must be given guidance on the actual amounts involved.

In addition, in all the developing countries, it is necessary to develop effective approaches to trade needs assessments at regional level and to ensure that these needs will be taken into account in the national development strategies of the partner countries. In particular, the EU should endeavour to apply effectively the instrument of the Integrated Framework * used with the LDCs and to extend the same type of approach to non-LDCs.

The EU must also continue to implement a wider Aid for Trade agenda in order to:

  • support economic infrastructure, productive capacities and trade-related adjustment (fiscal reforms);
  • develop coherent reporting practices for all categories of Aid for Trade.

Enhancing the quality of Aid for Trade

In order to improve the quality and effectiveness of Aid for Trade, the Commission recommends that the EU strategy focuses on the following aspects:

  • lay down the means to ensure that the Aid for Trade actions produce results in this field, e.g. by identifying the areas of Aid for Trade which bring about the widest and most sustainable reduction in poverty;
  • ensure better ownership and participation by integrating trade-related issues into poverty reduction strategies, with active participation by private?sector and civil?society stakeholders;
  • promote the institutional and financial sustainability of programmes by stakeholder capacity?building and ownership in all operations. It is also necessary to guarantee social and environmental sustainability by means of sustainability impact assessment of trade policies and agreements. In the specific case of environmental sustainability, the EU must help partners develop sustainable production methods. Other important aspects are the promotion of decent work and the development of effective labour market and social adjustment mechanisms;
  • ensure joint analysis, programming and delivery between EU partners. The joint analysis of trade-related needs must be undertaken by using the Integrated Framework instrument in the LDCs and by developing similar processes in other countries. The EU could then better coordinate its response strategies in countries and regions. The opportunities for joint delivery depend in particular on progress in working through sector-wide approaches (SWAPs) in the field of Aid for Trade. In particular, the SWAPs are to permit the development of joint delivery methods, such as budget support and co-financing between EU partners;
  • aim for aid effectiveness in regional Aid for Trade, and in particular supporting regional partners’ capacity to own and lead Aid for Trade efforts, coordinating the programme in support of regional and trade integration, streamlining the methods of delivery and enhancing cooperation with non-EU donors. In particular, the EU strategy must give priority to regional interventions in the EPA context.

Implementing effective monitoring and reporting of aid

To make progress in all these areas, monitoring and reporting are essential, both at international and EU levels. In particular, global monitoring and reporting must include the quantitative dimension of Aid for Trade and the qualitative dimension (associated with the effectiveness of the aid). At EU level, the Commission recommends that progress in implementing the EU Aid for Trade strategy should be assessed yearly by the Council.

Finally, the three groups of measures mentioned above must be accompanied by building human capacity in donor organisations. On this subject, the Commission recommends taking stock of the EU’s existing capacity and expertise and of joint European initiatives to develop and share expertise.

Background

This Communication is the Commission’s contribution to further expanding EU support for Aid for Trade with a view to adoption of a joint EU strategy by the Council (see Related Acts). It belongs to a package of measures adopted by the Commission to monitor the honouring of the development policy commitments entered into by the EU (see Related Acts).

Key terms of the act
  • Integrated Framework: multi-donor programme introduced to support LDCs in increasing their participation in the global economy. Its objective is to support LDCs in mainstreaming trade into their national development plans and to assist in a coordinated delivery of trade-related assistance in response to needs identified by the LDCs.

Related Acts

of 15 September 2008 “social provisions in free trade agreements”.
By introducing provisions on labour and sustainable development in its free trade agreements, the European Union (EU) contributes to the economic, political and social stability of its partner countries. This Report enumerates the different models and practices on the subject.

Since 1996 the World Trade Organization (WTO) has committed to respecting the fundamental principles of labour legislation. On the basis of these principles, the International Labour Organization (ILO) adopted an agenda for the promotion of decent work in 2000. This agenda was taken on by the UN and the EU. They committed to including it in their international trade agreements. The agenda is also an essential reference for companies drawing up social responsibility charters and codes.

Some international treaties concluded at the bilateral or regional levels include provisions on labour legislation. In particular, agreements concluded by Canada, the United States, Mercosur and the European Union. The main provisions relate to fundamental standards of labour legislation (freedom of association, collective bargaining, the abolition of child labour, the elimination of all forms of forced labour and discrimination in the workplace). The social provisions in the agreements could extend to other areas, in particular working conditions, minimum wage, working hours, health and safety in the workplace and sustainable development. Clauses related to labour are provided for in the agreements linked to the Generalised System of Preferences, as well as to the possibility for positive or negative sanctions. After their reciprocal opening up of trade, the EU and its partners should deepen their relationships by developing minimum standards and by adopting provisions in other areas, such as fair trade, the negative effects on employment and defending universal values.

The inclusion of such provisions aims at reducing the negative effects of trade liberalisation. However, the Report emphasises that objections to the principles of labour legislation would put the brakes on social development and economic growth.

Communication from the Commission to the Council, the European Parliament, the European Economic and Social Committee and the Committee of the Regions of 4 April 2007 – From Monterrey to the European Consensus on Development: honouring our commitments [COM(2007) 158 final – Not published in the Official Journal].
This political Communication introduces the two Specific Communications “Keeping Europe’s promises on Financing for Development” and “Towards an EU Aid for Trade strategy – the Commission’s contribution”.

Annual Report from the Commission to the European Parliament, the Council, the European Economic and Social Committee and the Committee of the Regions of 4 April 2007 – Keeping Europe’s promises on Financing for Development [COM(2007) 164 final – Not published in the Official Journal].

Drug precursors: external aspects

Drug precursors: external aspects

Outline of the Community (European Union) legislation about Drug precursors: external aspects

Topics

These categories group together and put in context the legislative and non-legislative initiatives which deal with the same topic.

Internal market > Single Market for Goods > Single market for goods: external dimension

Drug precursors: external aspects

Document or Iniciative

Council Regulation (EC) No 111/2005 of 22 December 2004 laying down rules for the monitoring of trade between the Community and third countries in drug precursors.

Summary

This regulation lays down rules for the monitoring of trade in precursor drugs between the European Union (EU) and non-EU countries. Drug precursors refer to substances used for the illicit manufacture of narcotic drugs and psychotropic substances. The regulation applies to imports, exports and transit of drug precursors with a view to preventing their diversion.

The aim of current legislation in this area is to apply Article 12 of the United Nations Convention against Illicit Traffic in Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances, adopted in Vienna on 19 December 1988, which concerns trade in such substances.

Historically, the EU has been a significant exporter of precursors and an importer of illicitly manufactured drugs. Recently, the EU has also become one of the leading exporters of illicitly manufactured synthetic drugs and an importer of the precursors needed to manufacture them. Consequently, the provisions relating to the application for a licence to import or export drug precursors, the granting or refusal of such a licence and its suspension or revocation must be harmonised at EU level.

Given the magnitude of the trade in precursor drugs, current legislation in this area must be modernised. The new procedures are aimed at the most sensitive drug precursors so as not to place an excessive administrative burden on legitimate importers.

Trade monitoring

The purpose of this regulation is to:

  • introduce import and export authorisation requirements for the drug precursors concerned;
  • require all operators to label and properly document drug precursors;
  • require that all operators be licensed;
  • make sure that all drug precursor consignments are inspected in the EU;
  • strengthen import and export controls;
  • conduct special controls at EU level in areas where the risk of diversion is high, such as free zones and transhipment zones.

The import, export and transit of a substance listed in the annex to this regulation must be documented in such a way as to disclose the name of the substance, its quantity and weight, and the name and address of the exporter, importer, distributor and the ultimate consignee. The operators concerned must keep records of all transactions for a period of three years.

These operators must be licensed and registered as such by the competent authorities of the country in which they are established.

EU countries are responsible for establishing cooperation between operators and the competent authorities to enable the latter to prevent diversions from occurring. To this end, operators must transmit to the competent authorities all relevant information and notify them of all transactions involving scheduled substances.

In addition, operators must lodge an application for an import or export authorisation in respect of each transaction with the competent authorities of the EU country in which the importer or exporter is established. Applications for authorisations must contain full information on the transport arrangements, the name and address of all operators involved, and the nature, quantity and weight of the substance. The competent authorities must reach a decision within 15 working days from the completion of the application file.

If there are grounds for suspecting that diversion might occur, the competent authorities may refuse the import or export of the substance.

A similar procedure applies to non-EU countries having requested the Commission to inform them of any export of substances that concerns them or that have concluded an agreement with the EU on the issuing of import authorisations. A specific procedure applies to countries identified as sensitive as regards the possible diversion of certain scheduled substances.

EU countries are responsible for providing their competent authorities with the means to obtain information and conduct enquiries in order to prevent diversion from occurring.

Mutual assistance and confidentiality between the administrations of EU countries is essential. EU countries determine appropriate penalties for infringements. Each year they communicate to the Commission the results of their monitoring measures, on the basis of which the Commission draws up an annual report to be submitted to the International Narcotics Control Board.

The Commission prepares guidelines for the chemical industry. These will include information on how to recognise and report suspicious transactions and an updated list of non-scheduled substances used to illicitly manufacture narcotic drugs and psychotropic substances.

Background

Following the adoption of the 2000-04 EU action plan on drugs, the Commission organised an assessment of the control system of trade in drug precursors. It considered it necessary to extend monitoring requirements to operators trading with non-EU countries, to introduce a common approach to procedures for granting licences and to strengthen customs monitoring requirements. Consequently, this regulation replaces Regulation (EEC) No 3677/90, which originally laid down measures to discourage the diversion of drug precursors.

References

Act Entry into force Deadline for transposition in the Member States Official Journal
Regulation (EC) No 111/2005

15.2.2005

OJ L 22 of 26.1.2005

Related Acts

Report from the Commission to the Council and the European Parliament of 7 January 2010 pursuant to Article 16 of Regulation (EC) No 273/2004 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 11 February 2004 and to Article 32 of Council Regulation (EC) No 111/2005 on the implementation and functioning of the Community legislation on monitoring and control of trade in drug precursors [COM(2009) 709 final – Not published in the Official Journal].
This report evaluates the implementation as well as the functioning of Regulations (EC) Nos 111/2005 (above) and 273/2004.
Based on data received form EU countries, the Commission’s evaluation concludes that the legal framework for controlling trade generally provides measures that are proportionate for preventing the diversion of drug precursors without obstructing their legitimate trade. The well-functioning cooperation between operators and competent authorities has greatly contributed to this. Furthermore, the EU guidelines for the chemical industry, together with a new eLearning course for economic operators, complements well this legal framework.
EU countries have applied the common licensing system for category 1 precursors satisfactorily and it functions effectively for the competent authorities as well as for the industry. However, the registration requirement for category 2 precursors might have certain weak points for properly controlling, and preventing diversion in the trade of these substances. In addition, certain provisions (e.g. relating to customer declarations or criteria for determining mixtures) are interpreted differently by EU countries. Other difficulties concern the insufficient rate of reporting by operators to competent authorities and certain aspects of the legislation on external trade, such as inflexible time limits for pre-export notifications and lack of simplified authorisation procedures.
Consequently, the report makes the following recommendations:

  • enhance the harmonised application of the legislative framework by EU countries, especially by sharing best practice;
  • improve reporting, for example by increasing the frequency with which operators must report to competent authorities;
  • possibly modify existing legislation to strengthen controls on category 2 precursors;
  • strengthen controls on pharmaceutical preparations/medicinal products containing ephedrine or pseudo-ephedrine that transit through the EU;
  • modify the procedural requirements to achieve a level of controls that is proportionate to the risk of diversion.

Commission Regulation (EC) No 1277/2005 of 27 July 2005 laying down implementing rules for Regulation (EC) No 273/2004 of the European Parliament and of the Council on drug precursors and for Council Regulation (EC) No 111/2005 laying down rules for the monitoring of trade in drug precursors between the Community and third countries [Official Journal L 202 of 03.08.2005].
The regulation lays down implementing rules concerning the responsible officer, the licensing and registration of operators, the provision of information, pre-export notifications and export and import authorisations in the area of drug precursors.

The Rotterdam Convention on the international trade in hazardous chemicals

The Rotterdam Convention on the international trade in hazardous chemicals

Outline of the Community (European Union) legislation about The Rotterdam Convention on the international trade in hazardous chemicals

Topics

These categories group together and put in context the legislative and non-legislative initiatives which deal with the same topic.

Environment > Environment: cooperation with third countries

The Rotterdam Convention on the international trade in hazardous chemicals

Document or Iniciative

Council Decision 2006/730/EC of 25 September 2006 on the conclusion, on behalf of the European Community, of the Rotterdam Convention on the Prior Informed Consent Procedure for certain hazardous chemicals and pesticides in international trade.

Regulation(EC) n° 689/2008 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 17 June 2008 concerning the export and import of dangerous chemicals.

Summary

The Rotterdam Convention was signed by the European Community on 11 September 1998. This Decision, approving the Rotterdam Convention on behalf of the European Community, is accompanied by a Council Regulation to implement the Convention’s provisions within the European Union (EU).

DECISION APPROVING THE ROTTERDAM CONVENTION

Fundamental principle

The Convention regulates the import and the export of certain hazardous chemicals and pesticides. It is based on the fundamental principle of Prior Informed Consent (PIC), meaning that under the Convention, a chemical listed in the Convention may only be exported with the importer’s prior consent. The Convention establishes a procedure to disseminate the decisions taken by the importing countries, thus implementing the PIC principle in the international trade in chemicals. It contains provisions requesting detailed information on the chemicals so that these decisions may be taken once data are available on the properties and the incidence of these products in particular on human health and the environment.

Products concerned

The Convention applies to banned or severely restricted chemicals and to extremely hazardous pesticide formulations. Over 30 chemicals are currently subject to the PIC procedure.

However, certain products are excluded from the scope of the Convention, namely:

  • narcotic drugs and psychotropic substances;
  • radioactive materials;
  • waste;
  • pharmaceuticals;
  • chemical weapons;
  • chemicals used as food additives;
  • food;
  • chemicals imported in quantities not likely to involve a risk provided they are imported for the purpose of research or analysis or by an individual for his or her own personal use.

Implementation of the Convention

Each Party must designate a national authority to ensure implementation at national and regional level. The Convention establishes a conference of the Parties which ensures implementation at international level and the evaluation of the Convention, including the approval of amendments. There is also a subsidiary body called the Chemical Review Committee (the Committee), which is responsible for analysing and assessing chemicals. The Secretariat is mainly responsible for coordination and administrative tasks.

Listing of hazardous chemicals and pesticides

Each Party must inform the Secretariat of any regulatory action adopted in respect of one or more chemicals or pesticides on its territory. Such notification must include information on the properties, identification and use of the chemical and its regulatory action. Where there are two notifications for the same chemical from at least two different regions, the Committee will review the information provided and, where appropriate, will recommend that the chemical in question be included in the list of chemicals subject to the Convention. Severely hazardous pesticides are subject to specific provisions. The Convention takes into consideration the fact that developing countries or countries with economies in transition have more limited means, and allows these countries to draw upon technical expertise from any source if they wish to include a pesticide in the list. The Committee will then review the information provided and may recommend the pesticide for listing.

The Conference of the Parties reviews the Committee’s recommendation and may take the final decision. It can also decide to remove a chemical from the Convention.

Imports

Each Party must specify whether or not it consents to the import into its territory of the hazardous chemicals or pesticides listed in the Convention. Parties may also decide to consent to import only subject to specified conditions. Interim decisions are also accepted. A Party that does not consent to the import of a chemical or that only consents under specified conditions must ensure that the import of the chemical from any source and the domestic production of the chemical for domestic use are made subject to the same conditions.

Exports

Each exporting Party must, of course, comply with the decisions of the other Parties relating to import authorisations. A chemical may not be exported to any Party that has failed to transmit a response or has transmitted an interim response. However, there are exceptions, for example where the importing Party has given its explicit consent to the import of the chemical in question.

In addition, the exporting Parties should assist importing Parties, upon request, to obtain further information and to strengthen their capacities to manage chemicals during their life-cycle.

Any exported chemical that is banned or severely restricted under the Convention must be accompanied by an export notification, and the importing Party must also acknowledge receipt of the chemical. The Convention contains provisions on the information that must accompany the chemicals, such as labelling requirements.

Exchange of information

The aim is to facilitate the exchange of scientific, technical, economic and legal information concerning the chemicals within the scope of the Convention, and to provide information on domestic regulatory actions in this area.

Technical assistance

Developing countries and countries with economies in transition may receive technical assistance from Parties which are more advanced in the area of chemical regulation.

Settlement of disputes

The Conference of the Parties draws up provisions on non-compliance with the Convention. With respect to dispute settlement, the Parties may resort to an arbitration procedure. A Party which is not a regional economic integration organisation may also submit the dispute to the International Court of Justice.

Withdrawal from the Convention

A Party may withdraw from the Convention three years after the date on which it came into force. This will take effect upon expiry of at least one year from the date of receipt of the notification of withdrawal.

REGULATION CONCERNING EXPORTS AND IMPORTS

The purpose of the Regulation is to implement the provisions of the Rotterdam Convention within the European Community. It will ensure that the measures laid down in the Convention are adopted; at the same time, some of the provisions contained in the Regulation will go beyond what is required in the Convention.

Chemicals concerned

The scope of the Regulation is wider than that of the Convention. It covers certain hazardous chemicals, which are banned or severely restricted within the Community or a Member State. It also covers the classification, packaging and labelling of all exported chemicals.

Export procedure

The Regulation establishes the deadlines and obligations which will apply to the notification procedure. The system requires that each exporter submit one export notification each year before the first export of a chemical. The notifications will be entered in a centralised register.

The Regulation contains certain measures that are more stringent than those of the Convention. Under the Regulation, any chemical or pesticide that is banned or severely restricted within the Community, and any articles containing these chemicals, must be accompanied by a notification. In addition, explicit consent for export is required for any dangerous chemical or pesticide which is banned or severely restricted within the Community, where it qualifies for PIC notification, even if that chemical or pesticide is not subject to the provisions of the Convention and is not included in the list of products already subject to the PIC procedure. The Regulation also imposes minimum standards concerning, for instance, the useful life of exported chemicals or pesticides, and storage conditions. The measures on labelling and packaging are also more stringent.

Export measures will apply to exports to all countries and not just to those that have signed the Convention.

The Regulation provides for the possibility of completely banning the export of certain specific chemicals or pesticides.

Penalties

The penalties applicable to infringements of the provisions of this Regulation is determined by the Member States. These must be effective, proportional and dissuasive.

Exchange of information

The provisions are extended to all countries and the Regulation refers to European Community participation in an information network on capacity building set up by the Intergovernmental Forum on Chemical Safety.

Monitoring and evaluation

The Regulation requires regular reports to be drawn up on the quantities of exported chemicals and pesticides concerned. As regards the monitoring and evaluation of the functioning of the Regulation, Member States must regularly submit information to the Commission, which in turn will draw up regular reports on the subject.

Implementation

The implementing conditions are mostly laid down by the Convention. Each Member States must designate one or several national authorities to ensure that the Regulation is implemented at national level. The European Commission will be responsible for implementation at Community level; it will also play a coordinating role between the Member States and between the European Community and the institutions of the Convention. The Commission will also be responsible for amending the annexes. It will be assisted by a committee.

References

Act Entry into force Deadline for transposition in the Member States Official Journal

Decision 2006/730/EC

19.2.2002

OJ L 299 of 28.10.2006

Regulation (EC) No 689/2008

1.8.2008

OJ L 204 of 31.7.2008

The successive amendments and corrections to Regulation (EC) No 689/2008 have been incorporated in the original text. This consolidated versionis of documentary value only.