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Recalls of sesame seed products due to pesticide residues

03-02-2021

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 ...

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. A possible explanation according to scientists could be that ethylene oxide has been used for fumigating sesame seeds, to eradicate contamination with salmonella.

Strengthening market surveillance of harmonised industrial products

29-07-2019

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, 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 ...

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 on the proposal in February 2019. The new regulation was signed on 20 June and published in the Official Journal on 25 June 2019, applying in full from July 2021. It aims to increase EU-level coordination of market surveillance and clarify the procedures for the mutual assistance mechanism. Non-EU manufacturers of products that could cause an elevated level of risk to public interest will have to designate an importer, an authorised representative or a fulfilment service provider established in the EU. Fifth edition. The 'EU Legislation in Progress' briefings are updated at key stages throughout the legislative procedure.

Regulating imports of cultural goods

28-06-2019

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 ...

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 it may serve as an income source for terrorist groups. Both Parliament and Council agreed positions on the Commission’ proposal in autumn 2018, and reached an agreement in trilogue negotiations in December that year. Adopted by both institutions in spring 2019, the new regulation lays down the conditions for the introduction, as well as the conditions and procedures for the import, of cultural goods from third countries. The regulation does not apply to cultural goods that have been created or discovered in the EU. To focus the measures established by the regulation on the goods considered most at risk of pillage in conflict areas and to avoid a disproportionate burden for licit trade, the new legislative act introduces age and value thresholds for certain goods categories. The regulation will apply at the latest six years after it comes into force, i.e. from June 2025. Third 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).

Importaciones de minerales procedentes de zonas en conflicto

11-05-2015

Los países ricos en minerales que sufren conflictos pueden enfrentarse a un círculo vicioso, en el cual los ingresos procedentes de los recursos extraídos ilegalmente alimentan las revueltas armadas. Al objeto de romper este vínculo, las organizaciones internacionales y el Parlamento Europeo han solicitado la creación de sistemas de debida diligencia para empresas que operan en la cadena de suministro de productos de la minería. La Comisión presentó en marzo de 2014 una propuesta por la que se instauraba ...

Los países ricos en minerales que sufren conflictos pueden enfrentarse a un círculo vicioso, en el cual los ingresos procedentes de los recursos extraídos ilegalmente alimentan las revueltas armadas. Al objeto de romper este vínculo, las organizaciones internacionales y el Parlamento Europeo han solicitado la creación de sistemas de debida diligencia para empresas que operan en la cadena de suministro de productos de la minería. La Comisión presentó en marzo de 2014 una propuesta por la que se instauraba un sistema de diligencia debida destinado a los importadores y los productores de insumos de estaño, tantalio, wolframio y oro. El informe de la Comisión de Comercio Internacional, que se debatirá en la sesión plenaria de mayo, introduce algunas enmiendas importantes en lo que concierne a la naturaleza y el alcance de las obligaciones de diligencia debida.

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