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In September 2020, Belgium initiated a notification in the EU Rapid Alert System for Food and Feed (RASFF) concerning residues of an unauthorised substance called ethylene oxide (EO) in various lots of sesame seeds from India. This triggered a chain of enforced testing and controls, leading to withdrawals and recalls of significant amounts of products in many EU Member States, including products such as hummus, bread, and sauces containing sesame. Both conventional and organic products are concerned ...

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, in 2017 the Commission proposed to strengthen market surveillance rules for non-food products harmonised by EU legislation. Parliament and Council reached a provisional agreement ...

Until now, with the exception of two specific measures for Iraq and Syria, there has been no EU legislation covering the import of cultural goods from non-EU countries entering the EU. By ensuring that these imports are subject to uniform controls along all EU external borders, the new regulation aims to prevent the introduction, import and storage in the EU of cultural goods illegally removed from a third country, thereby protecting cultural heritage and combatting illegal trade, in particular where ...

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

Briefing 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 ...

The EU's beekeeping sector

Накратко 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.

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 ...

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 ...

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).

Imports of minerals from conflict areas

Накратко 11-05-2015

Mineral-rich countries afflicted by conflicts may face a vicious circle, under which revenue from illegally extracted resources feed armed revolts. To break this link, international organisations and the European Parliament have called for the setting up of due-diligence systems for firms in the mining supply chain. The Commission submitted in March 2014 a proposal instituting a voluntary due-diligence system aimed at importers and upstream producers of tin, tantalum, tungsten and gold (hereafter ...