Tag Archives: Trade

Sectoral development policies

Sectoral development policies

Outline of the Community (European Union) legislation about Sectoral development policies

Topics

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

Development > Sectoral development policies

Sectoral development policies

Within the framework of development cooperation the Union places the emphasis on a number of areas where solutions have been tailored to the needs of developing countries on the basis of the relevant comparative advantage, which involve not only economic and social development and governance but also the environment food security, agriculture and infrastructure.

This thematic, cross-sectoral approach, particularly highlighted in the “European Consensus on Development”, also aims to ensure cohesion between European policies and the development priorities which might be affected by those policies.

GOVERNANCE, HUMAN RIGHTS, RULE OF LAW AND DEMOCRACY

Governance

  • Governance in the consensus on development
  • Governance and development
  • Tax governance in developing countries

Human Rights

  • A financing instrument for the promotion of democracy and human rights in the world (2007 – 2013)

Non-Governmental Organisations (NGO) and civil society

  • Local authorities and development assistance
  • Non-state Actors and Local Authorities
  • Cooperation with indigenous peoples

HUMAN AND SOCIAL DEVELOPMENT

Education and training

  • Investing in people
  • Education and training in the context of poverty reduction

Equality between men and women

  • Strategy for gender equality in development policy

Children

  • Children in EU external action

Health

  • The EU Role in Global Health
  • Health: health and poverty reduction
  • Programme for Action to combat lack of personnel in the health sector (2007-2013)
  • Compulsory licensing system for the production and export of generic medicinal products to developing countries
  • Programme for Action to Confront HIV/AIDS, Malaria and Tuberculosis (2007-2011)
  • Update on the EC Programme for Action – Accelerated action on HIV/AIDS, malaria and tuberculosis
  • Health: programme for accelerated action on HIV/AIDS, malaria and tuberculosis (2001-2006)
  • Essential medicines for developing countries (HIV/AIDS, tuberculosis and malaria)
  • Health: global fund to fight HIV/AIDS, tuberculosis and malaria

SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT

  • Global partnership for sustainable development
  • Integrating sustainable development into Community cooperation policy
  • Strategy for sustainable development

ENVIRONMENT AND MANAGEMENT OF NATURAL RESOURCES

General

  • Environment and sustainable management of natural resources, including energy
  • United Nations Convention to combat desertification in countries seriously affected by drought

Climate change

  • Global climate change alliance
  • Climate change in the context of development cooperation

Biodiversity

  • Biodiversity Action Plan for Economic and Development Co-operation
  • The Rio de Janeiro Convention on biological diversity

Water

  • Water: water management in developing countries
  • Guidelines for cooperation towards development in the area of water resources
  • European Water Facility for the ACP countries

Energy

  • The Global Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy Fund
  • Cooperation with Non-EU Member Countries on nuclear safety
  • Energy cooperation with the developing countries
  • ACP-EU Energy Facility

Forests

  • FLEGT Licensing scheme
  • Fight against illegal logging
  • Combating deforestation

Fisheries

  • Partnership agreements with Non-EU Member Countries
  • Fisheries: fisheries and poverty reduction

AGRICULTURE AND RURAL DEVELOPMENT

  • Agricultural commodities, dependence and poverty
  • Fighting rural poverty
  • Advancing African agriculture
  • Land policy in developing countries
  • Partnership with Africa for the development of the cotton industry
  • The International Coffee Agreement 2007

FOOD SECURITY

  • Strategic framework for food security in developing countries
  • Facility for rapid response to soaring food prices
  • Combating hunger: strategy for food security
  • Food Aid Convention

ECONOMIC AND COMMERCIAL DEVELOPMENT

  • Supporting developing countries in coping with the crisis

Trade

  • Scheme of preferences from 2006 to 2015 – Guidelines
  • A scheme of generalised tariff preferences 2009-2011
  • Generalised System of Preferences 2006 – 2008
  • Aid for Trade in developing countries
  • Towards an EU Aid for Trade strategy
  • Assisting developing countries to benefit from trade
  • Fair Trade and non-governmental trade-related sustainability assurance schemes
  • Fair trade

Businesses

  • International investments: towards a comprehensive European policy
  • EU support for business sector development in third countries
  • The reform of state-owned enterprises in developing countries

INFRASTRUCTURE

  • Euro-African Partnership for infrastructure

Transport

  • Transport: guidelines
  • Promoting sustainable transport

Communication and information

  • Information and communication Technologies

Tourism

  • Development of sustainable tourism

MIGRATION

  • Migration and development: some concrete orientations
  • Cooperation with Non-EU Member Countries in the areas of migration and asylum

OTHER SECTORAL PROVISIONS

  • Mine Action Strategy 2005-2007

Combating illegal logging and related trade in developing countries

Combating illegal logging and related trade in developing countries

Outline of the Community (European Union) legislation about Combating illegal logging and related trade in developing countries

Topics

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

Other

Combating illegal logging and related trade in developing countries

The European Union, which is a major consumer of timber products, is drawing up a process and a package of measures to combat the growing problem of illegal logging and related trade. The principal objective is to improve governance in timber-producing countries and to set up voluntary partnerships with them so that only legally harvested timber enters the EU.

Document or Iniciative

Communication from the Commission to the Council and the European Parliament: Forest Law Enforcement, Governance and Trade (FLEGT): Proposal for an EU Action Plan [COM(2003) 251 final – Not published in the Official Journal].

Summary

SCOPE AND OBJECTIVES OF THE ACTION PLAN

This communication proposes the implementation of a specific process and a package of measures to address the problem of illegal logging and related trade, which is becoming an increasing concern. Illegal logging takes place when timber is harvested in violation of national laws.

The principal objective is to improve governance in timber-producing countries and to set up voluntary partnerships with them so that only legally harvested timber enters the EU.

The Action Plan targets four key regions and countries which, taken together, contain nearly 60% of the world’s forests and supply a large proportion of internationally traded timber – Central Africa, Russia, Tropical South America and Southeast Asia.

COMPONENTS OF THE ACTION PLAN

The Action Plan has several facets:

Support to timber-producing countries

Efforts will be focused on promoting solutions to the problem of illegal logging which are equitable and do not have an adverse impact on poor people. The European Union could, for example, provide support to community-based forest management and help propagate lessons from its initiatives in terms of national laws and policies. It could also work with partner governments to ensure that key underlying factors, such as land tenure and access to forest resources, encourage local participation in the fight against illegal logging.

It can also help partner countries come up with systems to check that timber has been harvested legally. Putting such systems in place will also require technical, institutional and other forms of capacity building for governments, civil society and the private sector.

The timber trade

The Union will set up a long-term dialogue process with timber-producing and timber-consuming countries, with a view to extending international collaboration in the fight against illegal logging and setting up a multilateral framework as a basis for action.

In the near future, a voluntary licensing scheme will be proposed whereby partner countries issue a permit attesting to the legality of timber exported to the EU. The Commission will propose a regulation setting up the scheme. This regulation will define the products to be included and describe the licence authorisation required.

The Commission will examine the impact of further measures, notably, in the absence of multilateral progress, the applicability of a regulation designed to address imports of illegally harvested timber.

Public procurement

Practical information will be provided to contracting authorities demonstrating how to procure timber from sustainable sources under public procurement procedures currently in force in the EU.

Current public procurement legislation, as well as the proposed future legislation, offers a number of possibilities for taking into account environmental factors in public procurement procedures.

Private-sector initiatives

Measures are proposed to encourage private-sector initiatives for good practice in the forestry sector, including the use of voluntary codes of conduct to source only legal timber.

Financing and investment guarantees

Banks and financial institutions investing in forest-sector operations will be asked to draw up procedures that include, among the precautions to be taken, the social and environmental impact of loans to the forest sector and respect for the legislation in force.

Export credit agencies, for their part, will be encouraged to draw up guidelines for screening procedures and codes of practice for forest-sector projects.

Combating money laundering

The Commission will encourage Member States to designate illegal logging as a crime for the purposes of the EC Directive on money laundering.

Currently only a small number of Member States designate crimes relating to illegal logging under their money-laundering legislation.

Conflict timber

The Commission will attempt to address, through programmes of development cooperation among others, the problem of armed conflicts that are financed by illegal logging activities.

Implementation

To help implement the above activities, it is proposed that the EU provide a coordinated response, drawing on the strong points and capacities of the Commission and EU Member States. A work programme will be drawn up with the latter to assist the process.

NEGATIVE CONSEQUENCES OF ILLEGAL LOGGING

Illegal logging is closely associated with corruption and organised crime, undermining the rule of law, principles of democratic governance and respect for human rights.

In some cases the illegal exploitation of forests is also associated with violent conflict. Profits from the illegal exploitation of forests (and of other natural resources) are often used to fund and prolong these conflicts.

Illegal logging and related trade undermines the competitiveness of legitimate forest-sector industry operations in both exporting and importing countries. In so doing, this limits these industries’ ability to conduct operations that foster sustainable forest management and sustainable development generally.

Illegal logging also causes enormous environmental damage and loss of biodiversity. In the long term, it can end up having a negative impact on the forest-based livelihoods of many of the world’s poorest and most marginalised people.

Illegal logging thus undermines many essential elements of the EU’s development objectives: public-sector financing for development targeted at the poor, peace, security, good governance, the fight against corruption, and sustainable environmental management.

Related Acts

Proposal for a Regulation of the European Parliament and of the Council of 17 October 2008 laying down the obligations of operators who place timber and timber products on the market [COM(2008) 644 final – Not published in the Official Journal].
The Regulation imposes obligations on persons and companies who place timber or timber products on the market within the Community to reduce, as much as possible, the risk of products derived from illegal logging being placed on the market. In particular, the Community intends to combat deforestation and biodiversity loss in the world. Operators must use a framework of procedures which:

  1. allow information regarding timber and timber products placed on the market to be made available;
  2. include a risk management procedure;
  3. plan audits to ensure the effective implementation of the system.

The Regulation establishes a list of products which the rules apply to.
Codecision procedure (COD/2008/0198).

Council Regulation (EC) No 2173/2005 of 20 December 2005 on the establishment of a FLEGT voluntary licensing scheme for imports of timber into the European Community [Official Journal L 347, 30.12.2005].
This Regulation establishes a Community set of rules for the import of certain timber products for the purposes of implementing the FLEGT licensing scheme. It contains measures designed to fight illegal logging and trade in the timber thus obtained, both being practices which cause heavy losses in developing countries and damage the environment. The approved measures involve setting up voluntary partnerships with a view to supporting and encouraging governance reform in those countries most severely affected by illegal logging and with a view to establishing a licensing scheme with partner countries to ensure that only legal timber coming from these countries is imported into the EU.

Strategy for Venezuela 2007-2013

Strategy for Venezuela 2007-2013

Outline of the Community (European Union) legislation about Strategy for Venezuela 2007-2013

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 > Latin america

Strategy for Venezuela 2007-2013

Document or Iniciative

European Commission – Venezuela Country Strategy Paper 2007-2013 .

Summary

The Commission presents the priorities for cooperation and dialogue aimed at strengthening the existing relationship between the European Union (EU) and Venezuela.

The relationship between the partners is conducted at the regional level, specifically to increase integration and social cohesion between Venezuela and its neighbouring States, and at a bilateral level in order to support the public reforms of the country.

Cross-cutting priorities are also identified in order to ensure that environmental protection, human rights and the equal treatment of men and women are taken into account.

However, in order to respond to the most immediate development needs of the country, the partners also detail specific areas for cooperation.

Modernisation of the State

As a priority, bilateral cooperation shall support measures which aim to improve the functioning of public services, the judicial system and the rule of law. In addition, the EU shall support general modernisation of the public administration, good management of public expenditure and the participation of civil society in public life.

Economic reform

The strategy supports Venezuela’s efforts for economic diversification, the effects of which are favourable for business competitiveness and for the integration of the country in regional and international trade.

Furthermore, in order to promote equitable growth in the long term, several aspects of economic life still need to be improved, specifically:

  • training and skills development for employees;
  • the legal environment, favourable to foreign investment and to trade development.

Enforcing judgments: the transparency of debtors' assets

Enforcing judgments: the transparency of debtors’ assets

Outline of the Community (European Union) legislation about Enforcing judgments: the transparency of debtors’ assets

Topics

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

Justice freedom and security > Judicial cooperation in civil matters

Enforcing judgments: the transparency of debtors’ assets

Even with a court judgment obtained, recovering cross-border debts may be difficult for creditors in practice if no information on the debtors’ assets or whereabouts is available. Because of this, the European Commission has adopted a Green Paper launching a public consultation on how to improve the recovery of debts through possible measures such as registers and debtor declarations.

Document or Iniciative

Green Paper of 6 March 2008 on the effective enforcement of judgments in the European Union: the transparency of debtors’ assets [COM(2008) 128 final – Not published in the Official Journal].

Summary

The late and non-payment of debts is detrimental to business and customers alike, particularly when no information is available on the debtor’s assets or whereabouts. This is a particular cross-border issue in debt recovery and has the potential to affect the smooth running of the internal market. In launching a public consultation, the European Commission has outlined the problems of the current situation and possible solutions in this Green Paper. Interested parties can submit their comments by 30 September 2008.

State of play

The search for a debtor’s address and information on his financial situation is often the starting point for enforcement proceedings. At national level, most Member States mainly use two different systems for obtaining information, either:

  • systems of declaration of the debtor’s entire assets or at least a part of it to satisfy the claim;
  • search systems with specific information (registers).

In this Green Paper, the European Commission focuses more on a series of measures instead of one single European measure to allow the creditor to obtain reliable information on the debtor’s assets and whereabouts within a reasonable period of time. Possible measures include:

  • drawing up a manual of national enforcement laws and practices: at present, there is very little information on the different enforcement systems in the 27 European Union Member States. Such a manual could contain all sources of information on a person’s assets, which could be accessed in each country; contact addresses, costs, etc.
  • increasing the information available and improving access to registers: the main sources of information on the debtor are public registers, such as commercial or population registers. However, these vary from one Member State to the next. The Commission is asking whether to increase information available in and access to commercial registers and in what way access to existing population registers should be enhanced. Furthermore, access to social security and tax registers by enforcement authorities may be increased, while respecting rules of data protection and social and fiscal privacy.
  • exchange of information between enforcement authorities: currently, enforcement bodies are not able to directly access the (non-public) registers of other Member States which are open to national enforcement bodies. In addition, there are no international instruments dealing with the exchange of information between national enforcement bodies. In the absence of a Europe-wide register, enhancing cooperation between national enforcement authorities and direct exchange of information between them may a possible solution.
  • measures relating to the debtor’s declaration: enforcement bodies have in several Member States the option to question the debtor directly regarding his assets, whereas in some Member States the debtor’s declaration is made in the form of a testimony before the enforcement court. In some Member States, the debtor has to fill out mandatory forms, and in others a debtor’s declaration does not exist at all. The European Commission is considering introducing a European Assets declaration, obliging the debtors to disclose all assets in the European judicial area. In this way, the transparency of the debtor’s assets would not be limited by the territoriality of the enforcement proceedings.

A stronger economic and political partnership for the 21st century

A stronger economic and political partnership for the 21st century

Outline of the Community (European Union) legislation about A stronger economic and political partnership for the 21st century

Topics

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

External relations > Industrialised countries

A stronger economic and political partnership for the 21st century

Document or Iniciative

Communication from the Commission to the Council, the European Parliament and the European Economic and Social Committee of 18 May 2005: A stronger EU-US partnership and a more open market for the 21st century [COM(2005) 196 – Not published in the Official Journal]

Summary

The European Commission wants to give new quality to the economic partnership between the European Union (EU) and the United States. In this initial stage of reviewing a global partnership, which is designed to include a barrier-free market, the proposals in question focus mainly on trade and investment, the highest volume of which worldwide is generated as a result of the relationship between the EU and the United States. In 2003, trade in goods and services came to almost EUR 600 billion and related principally to foreign direct investment (FDI).

The Commission’s proposals form the basis for boosting growth and employment while respecting sustainable development and removing the barriers to trade and investment. They also seek to provide a new framework which can be used to meet common challenges such as international competition.

Improving the functioning of the transatlantic partnership

The Commission is proposing a number of initiatives in order to improve the functioning of the transatlantic partnership in three areas: regulation, knowledge and innovation, and border control.

The initiatives relating to regulation are based principally on policy cooperation, which is to be extended to a greater number of sectors in order to promote the transatlantic market. Policy cooperation within a well-defined regulatory framework is designed to guarantee fair competition in a situation in which the volume of trade is high, and forms part of the efforts to ensure a high level of consumer protection.

However, a certain degree of flexibility is needed in view of the difficulty of using the same model for all the sectors concerned. Cooperation can also vary in intensity, ranging from the exchange of information to the adoption of binding standards and including the establishment of ties on a formal or informal basis.

Other regulatory initiatives to strengthen cooperation between the two parties should also be envisaged in order to eliminate barriers to trade and thus promote competitiveness. They include the following:

  • facilitation of investment, in particular by eliminating ownership restrictions in the United States;
  • competition policy for those concerned based on the coordination of enforcement activities and the exchange of non-confidential information in an appropriate framework;
  • the opening-up of procurement markets between the United States and the EU despite the barriers which EU companies still face when trying to access the American market; this calls for the deepening of relations between the two partners at bilateral level and the definition of a clear framework at multilateral level, such as within the World Trade Organization (WTO);
  • the negotiation of a comprehensive agreement on aviation services between the EU and the United States, which are currently confined within a regulatory framework reflecting the political and technological landscape of the 1940s; an agreement of this kind would provide a sound economic and legal basis for transatlantic air services;
  • maritime transport, which carries 90% of all international trade: cooperation in this field should be strengthened and could include issues such as the law of the sea, data exchange, maritime security and environmental protection;
  • financial markets: access to capital is fundamental to investment and innovation, which is why functional equivalence should be encouraged in various financial areas, such as accounting standards and insurance, and should be promoted and strengthened in order to achieve true integration of the European and US financial markets;
  • the free movement of persons is essential: it has not been fully achieved for nationals of certain Member States or for companies and their affiliates; the possibility of granting affiliates the special status of “trusted persons” should be examined in order to facilitate international movement of travellers while bearing in mind security procedures;
  • the mutual recognition of professional qualifications should be encouraged, particularly in economic sectors.

Initiatives relating to knowledge and innovation will contribute fully to the growth and integration of the European and US economies. They relate to the following:

  • new technologies. as regards information and communication technologies (ICT) between the EU and the United States, coordination of the regulators, going beyond EU-US dialogue on the information society, should be strengthened in order to prevent the emergence of new obstacles in a rapidly evolving area; with regard to space, a structured dialogue should take place covering key areas such as Galileo and GPS, and the elimination of barriers to the creation of a properly functioning transatlantic market for the space industry;
  • the protection of intellectual property rights as a fundamental economic objective shared by both the EU and the US: the strengthening of cooperation in this area involves efforts at domestic and international level to combat counterfeiting and piracy; it also involves observance of the standards established by the WTO;
  • research and development: as these are key elements of the renewed Lisbon programme and generate growth, they will be the subject of greater cooperation between the two partners under the 7th framework programme for research and development (7th FPRD) in areas such as industrial materials, fuel cells and biotechnology;
  • energy: the EU and the US should work together more closely by means of policy dialogues in order to face new challenges and find alternatives to traditional energy sources, such as by developing clean technologies and renewable energies;
  • higher education and vocational training: as the current agreement on higher education and vocational training expires at the end of 2005, it should be renewed and reinforced in order to promote exchanges of university teachers, researchers and students and develop measures on issues concerning the quality and compatibility of education and training systems.

New security measures for border controls were imposed in the aftermath of the attacks of 11 September 2001. The Commission feels that the right balance must be struck between heightened security requirements and the continuation of open and secure trade and passenger transport.

While reconciling trade and security requirements, the transatlantic market will be based mainly on the principles of reciprocity and mutual recognition. These principles will apply to the following areas:

  • implementing the agreement on enhanced customs cooperation in the area of transport security, for example with regard to the concept of single points of access and e-customs;
  • exchanging best practice in order to achieve equivalence between the European concept of “authorised economic operator” (AEO) and the US Customs-Trade Partnership Against Terrorism (C-TPAT);
  • avoiding duplications of controls which arise from the application of parallel sets of – sometimes contradictory – existing standards;
  • reducing the risk of trade barriers associated with the implementation of the new US law to combat bioterrorism;
  • developing global security standards, notably by promoting the security standards agreed between the EU and the US through the World Customs Organization (WCO), the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) and the International Maritime Organization (IMO);
  • combating corporate fraud, money laundering, tax evasion, corruption and the financing of terrorism.

Political involvement essential

The New Transatlantic Agenda (NTA), which was established in 1995, should be renewed. Its most important goals have been achieved regarding the intensity of exchanges between the EU and the United States on a vast range of subjects. Regular dialogue has been established between interlocutors who previously had very little contact. There has also been increased cooperation on foreign policy issues.

However, economic cooperation has had a limited impact, particularly with regard to the legislative and regulatory involvement of the stakeholders. In the same way, the EU-US dialogue has suffered from a relative lack of political commitment, with the EU sometimes being poorly understood.

This is why none of the economic initiatives presented in this communication can be successful without real political intent translated into practical action. This could include the following, for example:

  • a high-level regulatory cooperation forum, which would meet before EU-US Summits and submit an annual roadmap with appropriate objectives and priorities;
  • a dialogue between European and US legislators on the priorities for regulatory cooperation;
  • cooperation to address joint concerns regarding international policy or even to advance bilateral proposals in international fora;
  • the conclusion of binding sectoral agreements.

For them to have a full impact on dialogue, transatlantic relations should be more strategic and effective in order to realise a shared vision of a more democratic, peaceful and prosperous international order. A new transatlantic declaration could be drawn up underlining the values and developing the priorities of joint action based on the recognition of the economic interdependence of the United States and the EU.

Context

This communication is in line with the “EU-US Declaration on Strengthening our Economic Partnership” (PDF ), which was adopted at the EU-US Summit at Dromoland Castle (Ireland) in 2004, during which the parties concerned put forward ideas on how to strengthen transatlantic economic integration. Reviewing and strengthening the partnership in this way can lend new impetus to relations between the EU and the United States.

The Commission is proposing that an economic declaration be adopted and that political oversight be put in place to ensure that these commitments are effective, particularly through the adoption of binding agreements.

Moreover, prior to the drawing up of a joint economic declaration, a public consultation was launched by the Commission in 2004 in order to identify the areas with which the present communication deals.

Related Acts

EU-US Declaration, of 20 June 2005, at the Washington Summit: “Initiative to Enhance Transatlantic Economic Integration and Growth” (PDF )

The EU and the United States declared that they wished to remove the impediments to trade and investment and enhance growth and innovation with a view to making further progress towards integration of the transatlantic market and providing more opportunities for businesses.
In the Declaration, the two partners listed ten points covering areas in which action should be taken and which are dealt with in greater detail in the Initiative annexed to the Declaration:

  • promoting regulatory cooperation and standards by identifying cooperation and coordination mechanisms in order to improve regulatory quality and reduce divergences; exchanges of experience and the sharing of knowledge are encouraged through a high-level dialogue in accordance with the roadmap for EU-US regulatory cooperation (PDF )and through a high-level forum bringing together regulators representing both partners;
  • stimulation of open and competitive capital markets in order to ensure that transatlantic financial markets operate seamlessly; the main areas for action include efforts to combat financial fraud and money laundering, the reform of financial markets and the improvement of dialogue on macroeconomic and structural issues of common interest;
  • spurring innovation and technological development, which are a source of growth and prosperity, by promoting cooperation, for example, in basic research, space research, nanotechnologies, transport, cyber-security and IT; the initiatives would affect sectors relating to higher education and vocational training, commerce, information and even medicine;
  • enhancing trade, development and security by strengthening customs cooperation in order to ensure the security of persons and goods in transit; in this regard, the WCO already offers a framework of standards on the security of world trade; cooperation between the two partners should also be strengthened by adopting security standards, particularly as regards air cargo traffic, improved cooperation in research and development of security-related technologies, better compatibility of the EU’s Authorised Economic Operator concept and the US Customs-Trade Partnership Against Terrorism (C-TPAT), measures to facilitate business and tourist travel (“trusted persons” initiative) and a policy of reciprocal visa exempt travel for short-term stays;
  • promoting energy efficiency, energy security, renewable energies and economic development and encouraging new clean energy technologies for sustainable and coordinated policies; the two partners also stated that they would support developing countries in this area;
  • protecting intellectual property rights by actively combating piracy and counterfeiting, applying international standards and ensuring the efficient application of standards on patents;
  • facilitating investment by providing efficient, comprehensive and easily accessible information on investment regimes and policies and by removing existing obstacles;
  • improving coordination on competition policy and the enforcement of competition rules, in particular by exploring ways of exchanging confidential information, which does not currently take place;
  • strengthening coordination and cooperation on procurement;
  • encouraging cooperation in the field of services, in particular with regard to aviation services and the mutual recognition of professional qualifications.

Responsibility for implementing these initiatives and establishing the work programmes lies with the senior levels of EU and US government, with progress to be reviewed at the EU-US Summits. At the same time, cooperation between legislators and stakeholder consultation will also be encouraged in order to help strengthen the partnership.

Intrastat system – statistics relating to the trading of goods between Member States

Intrastat system – statistics relating to the trading of goods between Member States

Outline of the Community (European Union) legislation about Intrastat system – statistics relating to the trading of goods between Member States

Topics

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

Internal market > Free movement of goods: general framework

Intrastat system – statistics relating to the trading of goods between Member States

Document or Iniciative

Regulation (EC) No 638/2004 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 31 March 2004 on Community statistics relating to the trading of goods between Member States and repealing Council Regulation (EEC) No 3330/91 (See amending act(s)).

Summary

Intrastat, which has been in operation since 1993, is the system for the provision of statistical information on dispatches and arrivals of Community goods. The provision of statistics is essential for the development of European policies on the internal market and market analysis.

Statistics concerned

This Regulation simplifies the Intrastat system which was established in 1993 and improves the comparability of statistics between Member States. It establishes a common framework for the collection and production of Community statistics on the trading of goods between Member States. ‘Trading of goods between Member States’ means any movement of merchandise from one Member State to another and ‘merchandise’ means all movable property, including electric current.

Register management

National authorities set up and manage a register of intra-European Union operators made up of consignors and consignees. The parties responsible for providing information * for Intrastat are those operators whose annual trade amount – dispatches and arrivals – is of a certain value. The other operators are exempt from all statistical requirements. This value is re-defined each year and is fixed separately for dispatches and arrivals so that a minimum amount of data is collected for each trade flow. This relates to exclusion thresholds.

Data to be collected by the Intrastat system

The parties responsible for providing information provide the national statistical authorities with the following data:

  • the identification number allocated to the party responsible for providing information;
  • the reference period;
  • the flow (arrival, dispatch);
  • the commodity, identified by the eight-digit code of the Combined Nomenclature;
  • the partner Member State;
  • the value of the goods in the national currency;
  • the quantity of the goods in net mass (weight excluding packaging) and the supplementary unit (litre, m², number of items, etc.), if relevant;
  • the nature of the transaction.

Simplifying the Intrastat system

This regulation modifies the Intrastat system in order to take better account of users’ needs while alleviating the statistical obligations of intra-EU operators. Each year, Member States re-define their exclusion thresholds and communicate these amounts to Eurostat. These thresholds are set in such a way so as to collect data relating to at least 97% of all dispatches and at least 95% of all arrivals of national intra-Community operators.

Statistical confidentiality

Any party responsible for providing information may request that their data receives statistical confidentiality. Following this request, the national authorities shall decide whether the statistical results which make it possible to identify the said provider are to be disseminated or are to be amended in such a way that their dissemination does not prejudice statistical confidentiality.

Transmission of data to Eurostat

Member States shall transmit to Eurostat the monthly results of their statistics on the trading of goods between Member States.

Member States must ensure the quality of the data transmitted in accordance with the standards in force. The statistics must fulfil certain criteria:

  • relevance;
  • accuracy;
  • timeliness;
  • punctuality;
  • accessibility and clarity;
  • comparability;
  • coherence.

The Committee for the statistics on the trading of goods between Member States is given the task of assisting the Commission in applying this regulation.

This Regulation shall apply from 1 January 2005 and repeals Regulation (EEC) No 3330/91 as of this date.

Key terms used in the act
  • Parties responsible for providing information: natural or legal persons registered for VAT in the Member State of dispatch or arrival of goods who are involved in the dispatch or delivery of goods.

References

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

Regulation (EC) No 638/2004

27.4.2004

OJ L 102 of 7.4.2004

Amending act(s) Entry into force Deadline for transposition in the Member States Official Journal

Regulation (EC) No 222/2009

20.4.2009

OJ L 87 of 31.3.2009

The successive amendments and corrections to Regulation (EEC) No 638/2004 have been incorporated in the original text. This consolidated version is of documentary value only.

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].

A scheme of generalised tariff preferences 2009-2011

A scheme of generalised tariff preferences 2009-2011

Outline of the Community (European Union) legislation about A scheme of generalised tariff preferences 2009-2011

Topics

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

Development > Sectoral development policies

A scheme of generalised tariff preferences 2009-2011

Document or Iniciative

Council Regulation (EC) No 732/2008 of 22 July 2008 applying a scheme of generalised tariff preferences for the period from 1 January 2009 to 31 December 2011 and amending Regulations (EC) No 552/97, (EC) No 1933/2006 and Commission Regulations (EC) No 1100/2006 and (EC) No 964/2007.

Summary

The scheme of generalised tariff preferences (GSP) consists of a general arrangement granted to all beneficiary countries and two special arrangements: a special incentive arrangement for sustainable development and good governance, and a special arrangement for the least-developed countries (LDCs).

Countries benefitting from different arrangements and for those whose tariff preferences have been removed are listed in Annex I of the Regulation. Products included in these three arrangements are listed in Annex II.

General arrangement

Under the framework of the general arrangement, the Common Customs Tariff duties on products listed in Annex II as non-sensitive products shall be suspended entirely, except for agricultural components. For products considered to be sensitive, Common Customs Tariff ad valorem duties (calculated proportionally on the value of the product) shall be reduced by 3.5 percentage points. For textile products and materials, this reduction shall be 20 %. Furthermore, the Regulation provides specific provisions for sensitive products covered by Common Customs Tariff specific duties.

Special incentive arrangement for sustainable development and good governance (GSP+)

The special incentive arrangement for sustainable development and good governance may be granted to a country which:

  • has ratified and implemented all the conventions listed in Annex III of the Regulation (the UN/ILO conventions on human and labour rights, and the conventions related to the environment and the principles of good governance);
  • undertakes to continue to apply these conventions and accepts that their implementation will be regularly monitored;
  • is considered to be a vulnerable country as defined in the Regulation.

Under the framework of the special incentive arrangement for sustainable development and good governance, the Common Customs Tariff ad valorem duties are removed for all the products listed in Annex II. The specific duties are also removed, with the exception of those which include the ad valorem duties.

Countries who wish to benefit from this special arrangement should submit an application to the Commission and provide information concerning the ratification of the conventions referred to in

Annex III. The list of beneficiary countries shall be published in the Official Journal of the European Union. Where a country is not granted the special arrangement, the Commission shall give the reasons for its decision.

Special arrangement for the least-developed countries (LDCs)

The special arrangement for the least-developed countries shall be granted to countries included on the list of LDCs produced by the United Nations.

The Common Customs Tariff duties shall be suspended totally for all products coming from these countries, with the exception of arms and munitions (EBA arrangement: “Everything but Arms”). A reduction of 80 % in duties is granted to husked rice (until the date of their total suspension planned for 1 September 2009) and white sugar (until the date of their total suspension planned for 1 October 2009). Until Common Customs Tariff duties are entirely suspended, these products shall benefit from a global tariff quota at zero duty for every marketing year.

Temporary withdrawal

The preferential arrangements may be withdrawn temporarily in cases of:

  • serious and systematic violation of the UN/ILO conventions on human and labour rights listed in Part A of Annex III;
  • export of goods made by prison labour;
  • serious shortcomings in customs controls on the export and transit of drugs and failure to comply with international conventions on money-laundering;
  • serious and systematic unfair trading practices;
  • serious and systematic violation of rules on fishing and fishery resources;
  • fraud, irregularities or failure to comply with rules concerning the origin of products.

The withdrawal will be voted on by the Council and decided by a qualified majority. The decision will come into force six months afterwards.

Safeguard clause

The safeguard clause provides an option to reintroduce Common Customs Tariff duties for a product whose import causes or is likely to cause serious difficulties for EU producers of like or directly competing products.

Context

In 1968, the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) recommended the introduction of a generalised system of tariff preferences under which industrialised countries granted trade preferences to all developing countries. The European Community was the first to introduce a GSP in 1971. The scheme of generalised tariff preferences 2009-2011 is covered by the guidelines defined for the period 2006-2015, which succeed the GSP 2006-2008.

References

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

Regulation (EC) No 732/2008

26.8.2008

OJ L 211 of 6.8.2008

Successive amendments and corrections to Regulation (EC) No 732/2008 have been incorporated in the basic text. This consolidated versionis for reference purposes only.

Scheme of preferences from 2006 to 2015 – Guidelines

Scheme of preferences from 2006 to 2015 – Guidelines

Outline of the Community (European Union) legislation about Scheme of preferences from 2006 to 2015 – Guidelines

Topics

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

Development > Sectoral development policies

Scheme of preferences from 2006 to 2015 – Guidelines

Document or Iniciative

Communication of 7 July 2004 from the Commission to the Council, the European Parliament and the European Economic and Social Committee on “Developing countries, international trade and sustainable development: the function of the Community’s generalised system of preferences (GSP) for the ten-year period from 2006 to 2015” [COM(2004) 461 final – Official Journal C 242 of 29.9.2004]

Summary

In this Communication the European Commission proposes guidelines for the generalised system of preferences for the period 2006-2015, based on experience of earlier systems. It advocates:

Maintaining generous tariff rates

There are a number of ways of maintaining and even improving the tariff preferences. Among other things the Commission proposes extending the GSP to some products not covered by the current system, under which almost one tenth of taxable products in the Customs Tariff are not covered.

Some products classed as sensitive could also be transferred to the category of non-sensitive products.

Preferential margins (currently 3.5 % for sensitive products and 100 % for non-sensitive products) will be maintained and, where possible, increased.

The enlargement of the European Union (EU) by ten new Member States on 1 May 2004 has helped to improve what the Community can offer since it has expanded the EU market to include a further 75 million potential consumers.

Targeting the GSP on the countries that most need it

The Commission proposes that the GSP should target the countries that need it most, such as the least developed countries (LDCs) and the most vulnerable among the other developing countries (small economies, land-locked countries and low-revenue countries) to help them to play a greater part in international trade.

The GSP should also have a mechanism for gradual withdrawal of a country from the special GSP, the everything-but-arms scheme, which gives duty-free and quota-free access to all products (except arms and munitions) from the fifty poorest countries.

A simpler GSP with easier access

The process of simplification, already started under the present GSP, should be enhanced. The Commission has proposed replacing the five GSP arrangements to three: the general arrangement, the special arrangement for the least developed countries and a new special arrangement (GSP+) to encourage sustainable development and good governance.

Making graduation more transparent and targeting it on the prime beneficiaries

The Commission proposes making graduation (withdrawal from the GSP) more transparent by withdrawing the most competitive product groups of certain beneficiary countries from the GSP.

This means that the beneficiaries no longer need the GSP to increase their exports of those products to the EU. The smaller beneficiaries will not be graduated and so can enjoy a greater share of the benefits of the GSP.

The current criteria for graduation (share of preferential imports, development index and export-specialisation index) will be replaced with a single straightforward criterion: share of the Community market, expressed as a share of preferential imports.

Devising a new incentive to encourage sustainable development and governance

As already mentioned, the Commission proposes introducing a new incentive for sustainable development and good management of public affairs by replacing the separate “drugs”, “social” and “environment” special arrangements with a single new category: GSP+.

GSP+ will provide special incentives for countries which have signed up to the main international agreements on social rights, environmental protection, governance and combating the production of and trafficking in illegal drugs.

The Commission will take account of the evaluations by the international organisations responsible for each international agreement concerned before deciding which of the applicant countries will be selected to benefit from the GSP+. This scheme will include a credible suspension clause that can be rapidly activated where a country fails to meet its commitments under the agreements.

Improving the rules of origin

The Commission proposes improving the rules of origin by changing their form (simplifying them), their substance (adjusting the origin criteria and cumulation rules) and their procedures (formalities and controls).

The new rules of origin should also be flexible in order to encourage development. One of the objectives must be to facilitate acquisition of origin to optimise the benefits of preferences.

The system could, for example, be improved by regional cumulation, promoting regional cooperation among beneficiary countries. The Commission attaches particular importance to regional integration for southern countries as a route to greater involvement of the southern countries in international trade.

Restoring the temporary withdrawal instruments, safeguard measures and anti-fraud measures

The Commission proposes redefining the GSP temporary withdrawal arrangements and the safeguard clause to take account of the new graduation focused on the most competitive beneficiary countries.

Even though they will still be for use in exceptional circumstances only, those arrangements must be made more credible, which will involve simplifying them and making the way they are used more flexible, particularly in cases of unfair trade practices. It is also essential that the Commission and Member States responsible for applying the GSP should apply these rules unwaveringly where fraud is detected.

As the beneficiary countries also have GSP management responsibilities, the Commission calls on them to establish effective and appropriate management structures to guarantee the validity of certificates or origin.

Background

The generalised system of preferences allows manufactured products and some agricultural products exported by developing countries access to the Community market with total or partial exemption from customs duties.

It is thus an instrument of both the European Community’s trade policy and its development policy. As it is a cooperation instrument it is a provisional mechanism, the benefits of which are to be withdrawn from countries that no longer need it.

The EU absorbs one fifth of developing countries’ exports. 40 % of EU imports come from the developing countries. The EU is also the world’s biggest importer of agricultural products from developing countries, importing more than the United States, Canada and Japan put together.

Half the preferential imports under this system in 2002 were exempt from customs duties and reduced duties were applied to the other half.

Related Acts

Communication from the Commission to the Council, the European Parliament and the European Economic and Social Committee – The rules of origin in preferential trade arrangements – Orientations for the future [COM(2005) 100 final – Not published in the Official Journal]

This communication follows the consultation launched by the Commission Green Paper on the future of rules of origin in preferential trade arrangements. It shows that the preferential rules of origin need to be reviewed. The review is also important because of the goal of integrating developing countries into the world economy. The review should also be accompanied by an adjustment of the procedures for their management and control.
The Commission is proposing actions in three areas:

  • a revision of the conditions for a product to be considered as originating in a country;
  • a change in the customs procedures necessary for the proper implementation and the control of the use of the preferences by the economic operators;
  • the development of instruments ensuring that the beneficiary countries comply with their obligations.


Council Regulation (EC) No 980/2005 of 27 June 2005 applying a scheme of generalised tariff preferences [Official Journal L 169 of 30.06.2005]


This Regulation sets out the Community scheme of generalised tariff preferences which applicable from 1 January 2006 until 31 December 2008. It simplifies the preferential import arrangements for products originating in developing countries, thereby streamlining the preferential scheme and reconciling trade and development objectives.

Assisting developing countries to benefit from trade

Assisting developing countries to benefit from trade

Outline of the Community (European Union) legislation about Assisting developing countries to benefit from trade

Topics

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

External trade

Assisting developing countries to benefit from trade

Document or Iniciative

Communication from the Commission to the Council and the European Parliament, “Trade and development: assisting developing countries to benefit from trade” [COM(2002) 513 final – Not published in the Official Journal].

Summary

STEPPING UP DIALOGUE WITH PARTNER COUNTRIES

Trade reform in poverty reduction strategies

The European Union is committed to placing greater emphasis on trade issues in its political dialogue with the developing countries to improve the integration of trade policies into poverty reduction strategies. Trade policy must be integrated in such a way that it contributes to the fundamental objectives of poverty reduction and sustainable development. It should foster equitable growth, promote human development, and ensure the proper management of natural resources and the protection of the environment.

Adapting trade-related assistance to each country’s specific conditions

To that end, the Commission must ensure that the financing of trade-related assistance, which is one of the six priority areas for development policy laid down in 2000, is adapted to needs, particularly for least developed countries. Assistance should ideally be adapted in the light of a national dialogue involving government, the private sector and representatives from labour and civil society.

ENHANCED EFFECTIVENESS OF EU SUPPORT

Political dialogue is translated into practical assistance by country and regional strategy papers. Trade issues and their linkages with other policies important for sustainable development need to be addressed at each stage of the preparation of strategy papers.

The Commission also proposes reinforcing, where appropriate and in consultation with the partner country/region, the trade component when programming EU development assistance. This will be done by including:

  • Support for macroeconomic and fiscal reforms: Support to enhance trade capacity should also aim for sound macro-economic and tax policies, to achieve a policy mix that is conducive to improved trading conditions and economic and financial stability.
  • Support for the restructuring and competitiveness of production: In order to support the repositioning process and increase the competitiveness of the private sector in developing countries, a variety of private-sector facilities have been set up at both national and regional levels. Strengthening support services and improving infrastructure has been another core area of EU support.
  • Support for the restructuring and competitiveness of production: Regional integration is supported in the framework of the development strategy. This is the South-South-North approach. Under this approach, the EU is negotiating agreements with regional groupings. It is doing so in South America, with the Mercosur countries, in the Mediterranean, and in South-East Asia. But this approach applies in particular to the economic partnership agreements between the African, Caribbean and Pacific states (ACP) and the EU, for which negotiations started in September 2002.
  • Support for genuine participation in the multilateral trading system: EU assistance in this area is mainly oriented towards assistance for accession to the World Trade Organisation (WTO) and multilateral trade negotiations, support for the implementation of existing and future WTO agreements requiring major financial input, and support for the policy reforms and investment necessary to enhance economic efficiency and ensure greater participation in the world economy. This last area notably includes reform of customs administrations, standards and conformity assessment, services, investment, intellectual property rights, competition policy, the adoption of legislation for appropriate labour standards, and environmental standards.

The Commission is also examining the scope for funding trade-related assistance initiatives that benefit all developing countries, especially in collaboration with multilateral agencies. At present, practically all EU development assistance is provided on a country/region basis. Yet this is an area in which it is very important to support multilateral initiatives in collaboration with international organisations, without confining them to specific countries or regions.

CONTRIBUTION TO THE EFFECTIVENESS OF INTERNATIONAL ACTION

It is important to make the most of the linkages between trade and all other areas important for sustainable development, and to ensure the consistency between the various EU policies with an external dimension.

There is a need to review existing mechanisms to improve coordination with Member States and to promote a greater exchange of “best practices” between the Commission and Member States and between Member States themselves.

Closer cooperation with international organisations with specific expertise in trade and trade-related matters is also encouraged.

The EU should also encourage regional development banks (such as the African Development Bank, the Asian Development Bank and the Interamerican Development Bank) to devote additional resources to capacity-building programmes in the sphere of trade.

The communication encourages the EU to support the WTO Secretariat in matters of technical assistance, and to continue contributing to the Trust Fund for the Doha Development Agenda.