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US duties on imports of Spanish ripe olives

06-03-2019

In January 2019, the European Union (EU) launched a case before the World Trade Organization (WTO) against the United States (US) challenging duties on imports of Spanish ripe olives, definitively in place since July 2018. US authorities have concluded that certain EU support measures for Spanish olive producers under the common agricultural policy (CAP) are contrary to WTO rules and can be countervailed. Given the importance of such support for EU farmers, the US measures could have far-reaching ...

In January 2019, the European Union (EU) launched a case before the World Trade Organization (WTO) against the United States (US) challenging duties on imports of Spanish ripe olives, definitively in place since July 2018. US authorities have concluded that certain EU support measures for Spanish olive producers under the common agricultural policy (CAP) are contrary to WTO rules and can be countervailed. Given the importance of such support for EU farmers, the US measures could have far-reaching consequences for the EU's agricultural model and set precedents in the WTO.

Russia’s and the EU’s sanctions: economic and trade effects, compliance and the way forward

20-09-2017

This report summarises empirical facts about the economic impact of the EU sanctions against Russia and the Russian countersanctions, both implemented in the summer of 2014. The observed decline in trade volumes between the EU and Russia is not only due to the sanctions, but also other economic factors, such as the downturn of the Russian economy, largely caused by the falling oil price and the ensuing ruble depreciation. Furthermore, empirical evidence suggests that European and Russian companies ...

This report summarises empirical facts about the economic impact of the EU sanctions against Russia and the Russian countersanctions, both implemented in the summer of 2014. The observed decline in trade volumes between the EU and Russia is not only due to the sanctions, but also other economic factors, such as the downturn of the Russian economy, largely caused by the falling oil price and the ensuing ruble depreciation. Furthermore, empirical evidence suggests that European and Russian companies alike managed to partly divert trade flows to other international markets in response to the deteriorating trade relationships. Overall trade diversion, however, cannot nearly compensate for losses of EU exports to Russia and thus mitigate the economy wide negative impacts. Finally, descriptive evidence and additional information seem to indicate that compliance with the sanctions was partly circumvented right after the implementation of the sanctions in 2014, in particular for agri food goods via countries of the Eurasian Economic Union. Legal trade diversion through countries unaffected by the sanctions has also taken place. It is important to emphasise that this study does not assess the political costs or effectiveness of the sanctions, but merely analyses potential economic costs caused by all sanction measures in place.

Външен автор

Dr Oliver FRITZ, WIFO, Österreichisches Institut für Wirtschaftsforschung, Vienna (Austria) Dr Elisabeth CHRISTEN, WIFO, Österreichisches Institut für Wirtschaftsforschung, Vienna (Austria) Dr. Franz SINABELL, WIFO, Österreichisches Institut für Wirtschaftsforschung, Vienna (Austria) Dr Julian HINZ, Kiel Institute for the World Economy, Kiel (Germany)

Key issues at stake at COP1 on the Minamata Convention, Geneva, 24–29 September 2017

14-09-2017

• The Minamata Convention has been welcomed as a major step in the fight against mercury related health hazards. During COP1, Parties will discuss several topics of the agreement, debate amendments and adopt Articles or guidance. The public and private sector are encouraging Parties to take concrete actions during COP1. • The issue of effectiveness evaluation must be monitored closely as it will set the foundation for the future. Defining common methods and monitoring tools will be essential when ...

• The Minamata Convention has been welcomed as a major step in the fight against mercury related health hazards. During COP1, Parties will discuss several topics of the agreement, debate amendments and adopt Articles or guidance. The public and private sector are encouraging Parties to take concrete actions during COP1. • The issue of effectiveness evaluation must be monitored closely as it will set the foundation for the future. Defining common methods and monitoring tools will be essential when it comes to assessing the concrete impact of the Convention. • Guidance on mercury supply sources and trade will be adopted with the aim of phasing out the use of mercury products. Most of the world resources are localised in a few countries, therefore finding alternatives for these Parties will be of high importance. • Artisanal and small scale gold mining is often an illegal activity, which is hard to monitor and impacts the local environment. The guidance to be adopted will have to consider the reality of the communities concerned and associated ethical issues. • In regard to mercury emissions and releases, best practices and guidelines have been developed for countries to better develop inventories and set National Action Plans. A special focus is provided on open burning practices, which are currently poorly characterised despite their negative environmental impact. • One of the key challenges of the COP1 will be to agree on harmonised thresholds for the definition of contaminated sites and mercury waste, which should be based on experience sharing.

Търговски режими спрямо развиващите се страни

01-09-2017

Политиката на ЕС в областта на търговията и развитието е описана в съобщението „Търговия, растеж и развитие“ от януари 2012 г.. В него се поставя акцент върху най-нуждаещите се страни. Общата схема от преференции (ОСП) се запазва за най-слабо развитите страни, както и режимът „Всичко освен оръжие“, докато преференциалното третиране на страните от АКТБ, извън групата на най-слабо развитите страни, се заменя със споразумения за икономическо партньорство (СИП), включващи компонент за развитие. Понастоящем ...

Политиката на ЕС в областта на търговията и развитието е описана в съобщението „Търговия, растеж и развитие“ от януари 2012 г.. В него се поставя акцент върху най-нуждаещите се страни. Общата схема от преференции (ОСП) се запазва за най-слабо развитите страни, както и режимът „Всичко освен оръжие“, докато преференциалното третиране на страните от АКТБ, извън групата на най-слабо развитите страни, се заменя със споразумения за икономическо партньорство (СИП), включващи компонент за развитие. Понастоящем се изготвя нова стратегия на ЕС Помощ за търговията, която има за цел подпомагането на развиващите се страни в изграждането на търговски капацитет, и ще се основава на ново съобщение на Комисията. ЕС подкрепя преговорите за развитие в рамките на СТО и ратифицира Споразумението за улесняване на търговията през октомври 2015 г.

Mercury: Aligning EU legislation with Minamata

25-10-2016

The United Nations' Minamata Convention on mercury was agreed in 2013 with a view to protecting human health and the environment from the adverse effects of mercury. Although mercury use has declined significantly in recent decades, mercury released into the air, water and land remains a serious threat to human health and the environment. Once emitted into the air or water, mercury can travel over long distances, which makes it a global problem. Current EU policy bans exports of mercury, provides ...

The United Nations' Minamata Convention on mercury was agreed in 2013 with a view to protecting human health and the environment from the adverse effects of mercury. Although mercury use has declined significantly in recent decades, mercury released into the air, water and land remains a serious threat to human health and the environment. Once emitted into the air or water, mercury can travel over long distances, which makes it a global problem. Current EU policy bans exports of mercury, provides for the storage of mercury waste, restricts the use of mercury in various products and seeks to address pollution caused by it. However, there are some regulatory gaps between EU legislation and the Minamata Convention. The European Commission has recently submitted a legislative proposal aiming to align this legislation with the Convention in view of its ratification. The European Parliament's Committee for Environment, Public Health and Food Safety (ENVI) adopted its report on 13 October 2016. Interinstitutional negotiations are expected to start in November. 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

Mercury: Aligning EU legislation with Minamata

07-07-2016

The United Nations' Minamata Convention on mercury was agreed in 2013 with a view to protecting human health and the environment from the adverse effects of mercury. Although mercury use has declined significantly in recent decades, mercury released into the air, water and land remains a serious threat to human health and the environment. Once emitted into the air or water, mercury can travel over long distances, which makes it a global problem. Current EU policy bans exports of mercury, provides ...

The United Nations' Minamata Convention on mercury was agreed in 2013 with a view to protecting human health and the environment from the adverse effects of mercury. Although mercury use has declined significantly in recent decades, mercury released into the air, water and land remains a serious threat to human health and the environment. Once emitted into the air or water, mercury can travel over long distances, which makes it a global problem. Current EU policy bans exports of mercury, provides for the storage of mercury waste, restricts the use of mercury in various products and seeks to address pollution caused by it. However, there are some regulatory gaps between EU legislation and the Minamata Convention. The European Commission has recently submitted a legislative proposal aiming to align this legislation with the Convention in view of its ratification. The rapporteur for the European Parliament's Committee for Environment, Public Health and Food Safety (ENVI) has presented his draft report on the proposal. The deadline for submission of amendments is 13 July 2016. 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 Russian ban on agricultural products

21-04-2016

In response to the EU's economic sanctions against Russia in the context of the situation in Ukraine, a Russian ban on certain EU agri-food products has been in place since August 2014. The agricultural sectors most affected by the ban include dairy, fruit and vegetables and meat, reflecting products of which the EU has been an important supplier. Since the ban, the EU has lost more than €5 billion per year of agri-food exports to Russia. This loss has been partially offset by the 6% increase in ...

In response to the EU's economic sanctions against Russia in the context of the situation in Ukraine, a Russian ban on certain EU agri-food products has been in place since August 2014. The agricultural sectors most affected by the ban include dairy, fruit and vegetables and meat, reflecting products of which the EU has been an important supplier. Since the ban, the EU has lost more than €5 billion per year of agri-food exports to Russia. This loss has been partially offset by the 6% increase in the overall value of EU agri-food exports in 2015 in comparison to 2014, with major gains in export values in the USA, China and other key markets. The effects of the ban are not distributed evenly across EU Member States, impacting more on those whose agri-food sector had been more closely connected with the Russian market. In response to the ban, a set of actions have been pursued at EU level, ranging from specific market-support measures, including private storage aid, to actions aimed at promoting EU products either within or outside the EU. The European Commission has also intensified bilateral and regional trade negotiations to create new market opportunities. This includes actions to reduce market barriers in respect of sanitary and phytosanitary (SPS) measures. Member States will decide later this year whether sanctions on Russia are to be renewed.

Regulation on Mercury Aligning EU legislation with the Minamata Convention: Initial Appraisal of a European Commission Impact Assessment

14-04-2016

This note provides an initial analysis of the strengths and weaknesses of the European Commission's Impact Assessment (IA) accompanying the above proposal which was adopted on 2 February 2016 and has been referred to Parliament's Committee on Environment, Public Health and Food Safety. The IA clearly identifies and defines the problems, demonstrating that EU action is necessary to address them, within the existing regulatory framework. The analysis emphasises that in this case EU action is further ...

This note provides an initial analysis of the strengths and weaknesses of the European Commission's Impact Assessment (IA) accompanying the above proposal which was adopted on 2 February 2016 and has been referred to Parliament's Committee on Environment, Public Health and Food Safety. The IA clearly identifies and defines the problems, demonstrating that EU action is necessary to address them, within the existing regulatory framework. The analysis emphasises that in this case EU action is further justified by the external competence of the EU and its legal right to act in the context of an international agreement. The analysis of options mainly focuses on the alternatives within the 'ratification' scenario, whereas less prominence is given to the assessment of impacts under the hypothesis of 'non EU action', which is an option clearly ruled out from the outset. Stakeholders have been consulted on two main occasions (workshop and public consultation) and the IA reports extensively on the results of that consultation process. However, most of the preferred options identified in the IA – and which feature in the Commission's legislative proposal - differ from the opinion expressed by the relative majority of stakeholders who responded to the questionnaire used for the public consultation.

Mercury: Aligning EU legislation with Minamata

18-03-2016

The United Nations' Minamata Convention on mercury was agreed in 2013 with a view to protecting human health and the environment from the adverse effects of mercury. Although mercury use has declined significantly in recent decades, mercury released into the air, water and land remains a serious threat to human health and the environment. Once emitted into the air or water, mercury can travel over long distances, which makes it a global problem. Current EU policy bans exports of mercury, provides ...

The United Nations' Minamata Convention on mercury was agreed in 2013 with a view to protecting human health and the environment from the adverse effects of mercury. Although mercury use has declined significantly in recent decades, mercury released into the air, water and land remains a serious threat to human health and the environment. Once emitted into the air or water, mercury can travel over long distances, which makes it a global problem. Current EU policy bans exports of mercury, provides for the storage of mercury waste, restricts the use of mercury in various products and seeks to address pollution caused by it. However, there are some regulatory gaps between EU legislation and the Minamata Convention. The European Commission has recently submitted a legislative proposal aiming to align this legislation with the Convention in view of its ratification. Stakeholders are divided over the proposal. The European Parliament's Committee for Environment, Public Health and Food Safety (ENVI) is expected to consider the proposal in the coming months. 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

Invasive alien species: List of species of Union concern

15-12-2015

According to the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN), invasive alien species (IAS) are the second most significant threat to biodiversity after habitat loss. They are also capable of causing significant damage to human health and to the economy. The cost of controlling invasive alien species and repairing the harm they do in the EU is estimated at €12 billion annually. To tackle this cross-border issue, an EU Regulation on IAS was adopted in 2014 and entered into force in January ...

According to the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN), invasive alien species (IAS) are the second most significant threat to biodiversity after habitat loss. They are also capable of causing significant damage to human health and to the economy. The cost of controlling invasive alien species and repairing the harm they do in the EU is estimated at €12 billion annually. To tackle this cross-border issue, an EU Regulation on IAS was adopted in 2014 and entered into force in January 2015. The European Commission had to submit to Member States' representatives a list of 'invasive alien species of Union concern' by January 2016, as an EU wide containment measure. Under the Regulation, the list of IAS of Union concern will contain only species that are scientifically proven to be particularly harmful and that can be addressed in a cost-efficient manner. The compilation of the list is not a one-off exercise, but is intended as an ongoing process. NGOs and the European Parliament have criticised the draft list for being too short and for not including some species which they consider are particularly widespread and harmful to ecosystems.

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