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Strengthening market surveillance of harmonised industrial products

28-03-2019

Harmonised products represent 69 % of the overall value of industrial products in the internal market. However, a significant part of these products does not comply with harmonised EU rules. This has negative effects on the health and safety of consumers, and on fair competition between businesses. To remedy the situation, the Commission proposed, on 19 December 2017, to strengthen market surveillance rules for non-food products harmonised by EU legislation. The proposal for a compliance and enforcement ...

Harmonised products represent 69 % of the overall value of industrial products in the internal market. However, a significant part of these products does not comply with harmonised EU rules. This has negative effects on the health and safety of consumers, and on fair competition between businesses. To remedy the situation, the Commission proposed, on 19 December 2017, to strengthen market surveillance rules for non-food products harmonised by EU legislation. The proposal for a compliance and enforcement regulation would increase EU-level coordination of market surveillance, clarify the procedures for the mutual assistance mechanism, and require non-EU manufacturers to designate a natural or legal person responsible for compliance information. On 7 February 2019, Parliament and Council reached a provisional agreement on the proposal. Parliament is due to vote on that agreement during the April II plenary session. Fourth edition. The ‘EU Legislation in Progress’ briefings are updated at key stages throughout the legislative procedure. Please note this document has been designed for on-line viewing.

Regulating imports of cultural goods

18-10-2018

Currently, with the exception of two specific measures for Iraq and Syria, there is no EU legislation covering the import of cultural goods from third countries entering the EU. Moreover, the national legislation introduced by some Member States in this area is divergent. By ensuring that imports of cultural goods are subject to uniform controls along all EU external borders, the legislative proposal tabled by the Commission in July 2017 aims to prevent the import and storage in the EU of cultural ...

Currently, with the exception of two specific measures for Iraq and Syria, there is no EU legislation covering the import of cultural goods from third countries entering the EU. Moreover, the national legislation introduced by some Member States in this area is divergent. By ensuring that imports of cultural goods are subject to uniform controls along all EU external borders, the legislative proposal tabled by the Commission in July 2017 aims to prevent the import and storage in the EU of cultural goods illegally removed from a third country, thereby combatting trafficking in cultural goods, depriving terrorists of an income source, and protecting cultural heritage. In the European Parliament, the Committees on International Trade (INTA) and on Internal Market and Consumer Protection (IMCO) adopted a joint report on the proposed legislation on 27 September 2018. The report, which aims to ensure a balance between curbing the illegal import of cultural goods and avoiding a disproportionate burden for licit art market operators and customs authorities, is scheduled for debate in plenary in October. Second edition. The ‘EU Legislation in Progress’ briefings are updated at key stages throughout the legislative procedure.

Strengthening the market surveillance of products

27-03-2018

An initial appraisal of the impact assessment suggests that methodological strengths outweigh the weaknesses in this overall convincing analysis. This impact assessment is underpinned by a substantial body of work and clearly shows expertise. Nonetheless, the impact assessment could have provided more information on the links with two pending legislative procedures. Its presentation could have further facilitated consideration of the choices made by the Commission.

An initial appraisal of the impact assessment suggests that methodological strengths outweigh the weaknesses in this overall convincing analysis. This impact assessment is underpinned by a substantial body of work and clearly shows expertise. Nonetheless, the impact assessment could have provided more information on the links with two pending legislative procedures. Its presentation could have further facilitated consideration of the choices made by the Commission.

Import of cultural goods

19-12-2017

This note seeks to provide an initial analysis of the strengths and weaknesses of the European Commission's impact assessment (IA) accompanying the above proposal, adopted on 13 July 2017 and now under discussion in Parliament and Council. The proposal aims to prevent the import and storage in the EU of cultural goods illicitly exported from a third country, in order to reduce trafficking in cultural goods, combat terrorism financing and protect cultural heritage, especially archaeological objects ...

This note seeks to provide an initial analysis of the strengths and weaknesses of the European Commission's impact assessment (IA) accompanying the above proposal, adopted on 13 July 2017 and now under discussion in Parliament and Council. The proposal aims to prevent the import and storage in the EU of cultural goods illicitly exported from a third country, in order to reduce trafficking in cultural goods, combat terrorism financing and protect cultural heritage, especially archaeological objects in source countries affected by armed conflict (explanatory memorandum of the proposal, p. 3). The market for antiques, ancient art and collectibles of older age constitutes 24 % of the global legal art and antiques market. The European market share accounts for 35 % of this global market, with the UK in the lead with 24 % (due to its large auction houses), followed by Switzerland (6 %), France (5 %), Germany (3 %), and Austria, Spain and the Netherlands (each around 0.5% respectively). Based on Eurostat figures, the estimated annual value of imports of classical antiquities and ancient art declared to EU customs may be around €3.7 billion per year (IA, p. 10). The IA explains that the current Common Nomenclature tariff heading (9705) used for import of antiquities and ancient art objects is rather broad, including also a variety of other goods of interest to collectors, making it difficult to estimate the total EU imports of cultural goods (IA, p. 10). Regarding the illicit trade of cultural goods, there are numerous underlying factors, which cannot be changed by this initiative, according to the IA (p. 11). These include, for example, poverty and military conflicts prevalent in many regions rich in cultural heritage sites, technological progress in various digging tools (such as metal-detectors, power drills, explosives), the market demand for such objects, mostly concentrated in Europe and North America, as well as cross-border transaction and e-commerce (IA, pp. 11-12). Estimates show that 80-90 % of global antiquities sales are of goods with illicit origin, and these sales are worth US$3 to 6 billion annually (IA, p. 12). The illicit sales of cultural goods often stem from terrorist activities and serve as a means to finance terrorism (IA, p. 14). For example, the Islamist profit from illicit trade in antiquities and archaeological treasures is estimated at US$150-200 million (IA, p. 15).

The EU's beekeeping sector

24-10-2017

Every year, the EU's 600 000 beekeepers and their 16 million beehives produce 200 000 tonnes of honey. This is not however sufficient to cover demand on the EU market, and the shortfall is made up by imports, above all from China. Threats to bee health and market competition make the economic viability of apiculture a critical matter. EU policies aim therefore to address these issues and promote beekeeping, an activity that is of vital importance to the environment.

Every year, the EU's 600 000 beekeepers and their 16 million beehives produce 200 000 tonnes of honey. This is not however sufficient to cover demand on the EU market, and the shortfall is made up by imports, above all from China. Threats to bee health and market competition make the economic viability of apiculture a critical matter. EU policies aim therefore to address these issues and promote beekeeping, an activity that is of vital importance to the environment.

Workshop: Facilitating external trade via border management

24-05-2017

The subject of trade facilitation and border management lies at the heart of EU trade policy, which seeks to take advantage of global value chains for the benefit of workers, consumers and businesses. This demands that goods may flow smoothly across borders without jeopardising EU values and standards. Trade facilitation principles help reduce the cost of cross-border trade in goods while safeguarding regulatory control objectives. Good border management practice is integral to trade facilitation ...

The subject of trade facilitation and border management lies at the heart of EU trade policy, which seeks to take advantage of global value chains for the benefit of workers, consumers and businesses. This demands that goods may flow smoothly across borders without jeopardising EU values and standards. Trade facilitation principles help reduce the cost of cross-border trade in goods while safeguarding regulatory control objectives. Good border management practice is integral to trade facilitation. In this study many ideas and examples about how borders management can be improved are shown. The key is coordination, cooperation and integration within the respective border agencies (intra-agency), between the many border agencies (inter-agency) and international (with colleagues across the border and EU trade partners). Despite considerable policy interest, research is still in its infancy. There is much demand for further enquiry. This paper discusses relevant principles, ideas and concepts and concludes with a list of recommendations. This includes the recommendation to develop suitable EU institutions in aid of trade facilitation as well as for research.

Plant health legislation: Protective measures against plant pests

22-03-2016

Following an evaluation of the European Union's plant health regime, on 6 May 2013 the European Commission proposed a new regulation on protective measures against plant pests. These include regulating pests on the basis of established criteria for risk assessment and prioritising those pests with the most serious consequences. More focus is being placed on high-risk trade coming from third countries. The proposal provides for better surveillance and the early eradication of outbreaks of new pests ...

Following an evaluation of the European Union's plant health regime, on 6 May 2013 the European Commission proposed a new regulation on protective measures against plant pests. These include regulating pests on the basis of established criteria for risk assessment and prioritising those pests with the most serious consequences. More focus is being placed on high-risk trade coming from third countries. The proposal provides for better surveillance and the early eradication of outbreaks of new pests. On 15 April 2014, the outgoing European Parliament adopted its first-reading position. Seven trilogue meetings were held which concluded on 16 December 2015, when the representatives of the Council and Parliament finalised an overall compromise text. Once the Council adopts its first reading position, the text could then be adopted by the Parliament without amendment in an early second reading. A more recent edition of this document is available. Find it by searching by the document title at this address: http://www.europarl.europa.eu/thinktank/en/home.html

The Role of the OECD in Shaping EU Trade Policy

28-01-2016

The EU's trade policy does not exist in a vacuum. On the one hand, it is affected by international standard and rule-setting. On the other hand, the EU is itself an influential actor shaping the international trade agenda by participating in the work of international organisations and fora. This short note focuses on the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD).

The EU's trade policy does not exist in a vacuum. On the one hand, it is affected by international standard and rule-setting. On the other hand, the EU is itself an influential actor shaping the international trade agenda by participating in the work of international organisations and fora. This short note focuses on the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD).

Le importazioni di minerali provenienti da zone di conflitto

11-05-2015

I paesi ricchi di minerali e dilaniati da conflitti possono trovarsi in un circolo vizioso: gli introiti delle risorse estratte illegalmente alimentano rivolte armate. Per spezzare questa catena, le organizzazioni internazionali e il Parlamento europeo hanno chiesto l'istituzione di sistemi di dovere di diligenza per le imprese che operano nella catena di approvvigionamento mineraria. La Commissione ha presentato, nel marzo 2014, una proposta intesa ad istituire un sistema volontario di dovere di ...

I paesi ricchi di minerali e dilaniati da conflitti possono trovarsi in un circolo vizioso: gli introiti delle risorse estratte illegalmente alimentano rivolte armate. Per spezzare questa catena, le organizzazioni internazionali e il Parlamento europeo hanno chiesto l'istituzione di sistemi di dovere di diligenza per le imprese che operano nella catena di approvvigionamento mineraria. La Commissione ha presentato, nel marzo 2014, una proposta intesa ad istituire un sistema volontario di dovere di diligenza rivolto ad importatori e produttori a monte di stagno, tantalio, tungsteno e oro (di seguito STTO). La relazione della commissione per il commercio internazionale, che sarà discussa nella plenaria di maggio, introduce alcune importanti modifiche per quanto riguarda la natura e la portata degli obblighi di dovere di diligenza.

Responsible sourcing of minerals from conflict-affected areas: Initial Appraisal of a European Commission Impact Assessment

05-12-2014

This note seeks to provide an initial analysis of the strengths and weaknesses of the European Commission's Impact Assessment (IA) accompanying the proposal setting up a Union system for supply chain due diligence of responsible importers of tin, tantalum and tungsten, their ores, and gold originating in conflict-affected and high risk areas. Armed groups and security forces in conflict regions partly finance their activities from the proceeds of the extraction and trade of minerals. These products ...

This note seeks to provide an initial analysis of the strengths and weaknesses of the European Commission's Impact Assessment (IA) accompanying the proposal setting up a Union system for supply chain due diligence of responsible importers of tin, tantalum and tungsten, their ores, and gold originating in conflict-affected and high risk areas. Armed groups and security forces in conflict regions partly finance their activities from the proceeds of the extraction and trade of minerals. These products later enter the global supply chain, meaning that business operators further down this chain are at risk of supporting armed activities through their purchases of mineral ores or their derivatives. Business operators from the EU and third countries have therefore expressed an interest in sourcing responsibly from such regions. The concept of responsible sourcing is not new and the proposal builds on existing international due diligence frameworks. The document concludes that the overall quality of the IA is good; however, it is regrettable that the wealth of core information included in Annexes is not fully exploited in the analysis of the policy options and possible impacts. More readily available synthesis and analysis of data could have been presented in the body of the IA for better readability. Finally, it should be noted that the usefulness of some options, for example, Options 1 and 2, is not clear, as the comparison tables (on pp. 62 and 63) show that few of the declared objectives could realistically have been met by these options. This note, prepared by the Ex-Ante Impact Assessment Unit for the Committee on Internal Trade (INTA) of the European Parliament, analyses whether the principal criteria laid down in the Commission’s own Impact Assessment Guidelines, as well as additional factors identified by the Parliament in its Impact Assessment Handbook, appear to be met by the IA. It does not attempt to deal with the substance of the proposal. It is drafted for informational and background purposes to assist the relevant parliamentary committee(s) and Members more widely in their work.

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