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Review of dual-use export controls

26-11-2019

Certain goods and technologies have legitimate civilian applications but can also be used for military purposes; so-called 'dual-use' goods are subject to the European Union's export control regime. The regime is now being revised, mainly to take account of significant technological developments and to create a more level playing field among EU Member States. The proposed regulation would recast the regulation in force since 2009. Among other elements, the proposal seeks to introduce an 'autonomous ...

Certain goods and technologies have legitimate civilian applications but can also be used for military purposes; so-called 'dual-use' goods are subject to the European Union's export control regime. The regime is now being revised, mainly to take account of significant technological developments and to create a more level playing field among EU Member States. The proposed regulation would recast the regulation in force since 2009. Among other elements, the proposal seeks to introduce an 'autonomous' EU list for cyber-surveillance technology featuring items that are not (yet) subject to multilateral export control. Moreover, the proposal seeks to introduce human rights violations as an explicit justification for export control. Stakeholders are divided over the incorporation of human rights considerations, with the technology industry particularly concerned that it might lose out to non-European competitors. On 17 January 2018, based on the INTA committee's report on the legislative proposal, the European Parliament adopted its position for trilogue negotiations. For its part, the Council adopted its negotiating mandate on 5 June 2019, and on the basis of this mandate, the Council Presidency began negotiations with the European Parliament's delegation on 21 October 2019. Fifth 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.

Balanced and fairer world trade defence: EU, US and WTO perspectives

29-05-2019

This workshop of the Committee on International Trade discussed recent developments in trade defence legislation and practice from the perspectives of the EU, the USA and the WTO. A set of trade defence rules have been agreed in the framework of the World Trade Organisation (WTO), in particular on anti-dumping, anti-subsidies and safeguards. The WTO also provides a dispute settlement system for cases brought forward by its members. The EU has recently adopted two sets of new legislation on Trade ...

This workshop of the Committee on International Trade discussed recent developments in trade defence legislation and practice from the perspectives of the EU, the USA and the WTO. A set of trade defence rules have been agreed in the framework of the World Trade Organisation (WTO), in particular on anti-dumping, anti-subsidies and safeguards. The WTO also provides a dispute settlement system for cases brought forward by its members. The EU has recently adopted two sets of new legislation on Trade Defence Instruments (TDI), known as ‘TDI methodology’ and ‘TDI modernisation’. These new rules aim at enhancing the EU’s trade defence, without deviating from its commitment to an open economic environment set in an international rules based order. The US has its own rules and practice for trade defence and continues to distinguish between countries having a market economy and those who don’t - a difference abandoned by the EU in its latest reform. Moreover, the Trump Administration has imposed many new tariffs on foreign imports, often based on the national security exception provided by the WTO - a justification contested by most of the countries targeted. Furthermore, the US expressed concerns about the system of dispute settlement in the WTO, blocking nominations to its Appellate Body. Experts gave their views on whether all these recent developments are contributing to an international trade defence regime that is ‘fair’ and ‘balanced’, taking into account the different perspectives.

Ulkopuolinen laatija

Erdal YALCIN, Hannes WELGE, André SAPIR, Petros C. MAVROIDIS

Revision of the Explosives Precursors Regulation

10-07-2018

Explosives precursors can be found in various chemical products used by consumers, general professional users, and industrial users, for example, in detergents, fertilisers, special fuels, lubricants and greases, water treatment chemicals. They can be used by terrorists to produce home-made explosives (HME). In April 2018 the European Commission put forward a proposal for a new regulation, accompanied by an impact assessment (IA) and an evaluation, which have been performed at the same time. The ...

Explosives precursors can be found in various chemical products used by consumers, general professional users, and industrial users, for example, in detergents, fertilisers, special fuels, lubricants and greases, water treatment chemicals. They can be used by terrorists to produce home-made explosives (HME). In April 2018 the European Commission put forward a proposal for a new regulation, accompanied by an impact assessment (IA) and an evaluation, which have been performed at the same time. The IA has attempted to provide a rather detailed, albeit mainly qualitative, analysis of the various types of impacts, disregarding some limitations to obtain data, such as a risk of exposing vulnerabilities in Member States and of jeopardising ongoing investigations and prosecutions. The IA notes that many SMEs are not part of the EU level industry associations, which have been consulted while drafting the ex-post evaluation. A question arises if the SMEs have been targeted at the stakeholder consultation in any other way, which appears not to be the case. The public consultation took less than 12 weeks, which is not in line with the Better Regulation Guidelines.

Plenary round-up – Strasbourg, May II 2018

31-05-2018

The May II plenary session highlights were the debate on the 2021-2027 Multiannual Financial Framework and own resources in the context of the publication of individual proposals for spending programmes, and the debate on the future of Europe with the Prime Minister of Luxembourg, Xavier Bettel. Alpha Condé, President of Guinea and the President of Colombia, Juan Manuel Santos Calderón, also addressed Parliament. VP/HR Federica Mogherini's statements on the situation in the Gaza Strip, the status ...

The May II plenary session highlights were the debate on the 2021-2027 Multiannual Financial Framework and own resources in the context of the publication of individual proposals for spending programmes, and the debate on the future of Europe with the Prime Minister of Luxembourg, Xavier Bettel. Alpha Condé, President of Guinea and the President of Colombia, Juan Manuel Santos Calderón, also addressed Parliament. VP/HR Federica Mogherini's statements on the situation in the Gaza Strip, the status of Jerusalem, and the situation in Nicaragua were also discussed. Debates followed on US tariffs in the steel and aluminium sector, the use of pre-accession funds in Turkey and the impact of delocalisation on workers and regions. Parliament approved the revision of the Posting of Workers Directive, and the modernisation of the Trade Defence Instruments Regulation (at second reading), and a multiannual plan for demersal stocks in the North Sea. Parliament voted, inter alia, on a number of own-initiative reports on implementation of the interinstitutional agreement on better law-making, odometer manipulation in motor vehicles, gender equality and women's empowerment, and minimum standards on rights, support and protection for victims of crime.

Regulation 98/2013 on the marketing and use of explosives precursors: Implementation Appraisal

29-05-2018

Explosives precursors are chemical substances that can be (and have been) misused to manufacture homemade explosives (HMEs). Regulation 98/2013 on the marketing and use of explosives precursors, applicable since September 2014, has two general aims: to increase public security through a reduced risk of misuse of explosives precursors for the manufacture of HMEs and, at the same time, to enable the free movement of explosives precursor substances in the EU internal market, given their many legitimate ...

Explosives precursors are chemical substances that can be (and have been) misused to manufacture homemade explosives (HMEs). Regulation 98/2013 on the marketing and use of explosives precursors, applicable since September 2014, has two general aims: to increase public security through a reduced risk of misuse of explosives precursors for the manufacture of HMEs and, at the same time, to enable the free movement of explosives precursor substances in the EU internal market, given their many legitimate uses. The regulation establishes a system of restrictions and controls on a number of explosives precursors with the aim of limiting the general public's access to these substances. The regulation also establishes an obligation for economic operators to report suspicious transactions, disappearances and thefts of explosives precursors. Evidence collected through the Commission's evaluation and stakeholder consultation confirms the existence of significant challenges related to the application of the regulation. These include a fragmented landscape of restrictions and controls across Member States (which apply an outright ban, a licensing or a registration regime, or a combination of these); insufficient awareness along the supply chain about rules and obligations arising from the regulation; and a lack of clarity about certain provisions that focus particularly on the identification of products that fall within the scope of the regulation and the identification of legitimate/professional users. Lack of clarity as to the application of the regulation to online marketplaces is yet another problem, given the absence of an explicit reference to e-commerce in the regulation. Non-inclusion of all threat substances in the list of restricted explosives precursors is seen as yet another important challenge, and so is the perceived inflexibility of the procedure for adding new threat substances to the list, especially in view of the need to react quickly to new and evolving threats. In light of the above, in April 2018 the European Commission put forward a proposal for a new regulation, accompanied by an impact assessment and an evaluation.

EU sanctions: A key foreign and security policy instrument

08-05-2018

Sanctions have become an increasingly central element of the EU's common and foreign security policy. At present, the EU has 42 sanctions programmes in place, making it the world's second-most active user of restrictive measures, after the US. Unlike the comprehensive trade embargoes used in the past, the EU has moved towards asset freezes and visa bans targeted at individual persons and companies, aiming to influence foreign governments while avoiding humanitarian costs for the general population ...

Sanctions have become an increasingly central element of the EU's common and foreign security policy. At present, the EU has 42 sanctions programmes in place, making it the world's second-most active user of restrictive measures, after the US. Unlike the comprehensive trade embargoes used in the past, the EU has moved towards asset freezes and visa bans targeted at individual persons and companies, aiming to influence foreign governments while avoiding humanitarian costs for the general population. Other measures in the sanctions toolkit include arms embargoes, sectoral trade and investment restrictions, as well as suspensions of development aid and trade preferences. The declared purpose of EU sanctions is to uphold the international security order as well as defending human rights and democracy standards, by encouraging targeted countries to change their behaviour. Measuring their effectiveness is difficult, as sanctions rarely achieve all their aims, and usually there are other causes to which changes can be attributed. However, even when this primary purpose is not achieved, sanctions may have useful secondary effects, for example by deterring other actors from similar behaviour. The broader the international support for EU sanctions and the closer the relationship between the EU and the targeted country are, the stronger the prospects for success will be. On the other hand, effectiveness can be undermined by inconsistent application of sanctions standards and by the difficulty of coordinating implementation between multiple stakeholders.

The EU’s Market Access Strategy: does it reach its main goals?

13-12-2017

The EU Market Access Strategy (MAS) and associated Market Access Partnership (MAP) is a EU trade policy operational instrument designed to identify and remove market access restrictions confronting EU firms in third country export markets. Since the 2008 financial crisis, there has been a steady increase in the number of trade restricting measures imposed by EU trading partners. The MAS is a key tool through which the EU seeks to work with third countries to prevent, remove and reduce market access ...

The EU Market Access Strategy (MAS) and associated Market Access Partnership (MAP) is a EU trade policy operational instrument designed to identify and remove market access restrictions confronting EU firms in third country export markets. Since the 2008 financial crisis, there has been a steady increase in the number of trade restricting measures imposed by EU trading partners. The MAS is a key tool through which the EU seeks to work with third countries to prevent, remove and reduce market access barriers. There is broad support for the MAS among stakeholders who are aware of the mechanism and a virtual consensus that greater emphasis should be given by the European Union to identifying and removing barriers to trade and investment in third countries. Two types of challenges confront the MAS and, as a result, its effectiveness. One centres on the identification of protectionist measures and the ability of the EU to induce policy changes by trading partners. The other is to improve awareness among EU exporters of the existence of the MAP and leveraging the tools that are available to address market access restrictions. The European Parliament can contribute to addressing these challenges by engaging with national parliaments and constituencies on the existence and utility of the MAS and in advocating that market access issues be prioritised in the activities of the European Commission. The European Parliament can also play an increased role in helping to achieve the goals of the MAS and support EU exports by raising market access issues when they engage with third country counterparts.

Ulkopuolinen laatija

Bernard HOEKMAN, Matteo FIORINI, Roberta IGLIOZZI, Naïs RALAISON and Aydin YLDIRIM.

EU-Russia trade continuing despite sanctions

14-11-2017

Since 2014, trade between the EU and Russia has slumped due to the difficult context (an economic downturn in Russia, EU sanctions over Ukraine and Russian counter-sanctions, and long-standing trade barriers), but remains substantial. Trade started to recover in early 2017. This publication updates an 'At a glance' note of January 2016, PE 573.931.

Since 2014, trade between the EU and Russia has slumped due to the difficult context (an economic downturn in Russia, EU sanctions over Ukraine and Russian counter-sanctions, and long-standing trade barriers), but remains substantial. Trade started to recover in early 2017. This publication updates an 'At a glance' note of January 2016, PE 573.931.

Current and Emerging Trends in Disruptive Technologies: Implications for the Present and Future of EU’s Trade Policy

20-09-2017

Digital technologies, taken as a broad generic category of technological inventions and applications, fall under a rare kind of ‘disruptive technologies’ that can radically change existing economic sectors, enable new modes of work, production and consumption and trigger broader societal transformations. To make apt policy decisions, there is a distinct need to understand what these technologies and their effects actually are and how they may develop over time. This study attends to this need in ...

Digital technologies, taken as a broad generic category of technological inventions and applications, fall under a rare kind of ‘disruptive technologies’ that can radically change existing economic sectors, enable new modes of work, production and consumption and trigger broader societal transformations. To make apt policy decisions, there is a distinct need to understand what these technologies and their effects actually are and how they may develop over time. This study attends to this need in particular with regard to the implications of digital technologies for EU’s external trade policies. It accentuates the critical importance of data and cross-border data flows for the emergent digital economy and underscores the need to appropriately address them with a calibrated and more proactive positioning of the EU in international trade venues.

Openness of public procurement markets in key third countries

04-07-2017

This report assesses the openness of public procurement markets in key third countries of interest to the EU. It provides a comparative overview of the regulatory and market access characteristics of the US, Brazil, India, China, Japans’ procurement markets, with reference to the procurement regulation and enforcement within the EU. The report assesses the available data on both the de jure and de facto levels of openness of these markets to put forward some conclusions of value to policy making ...

This report assesses the openness of public procurement markets in key third countries of interest to the EU. It provides a comparative overview of the regulatory and market access characteristics of the US, Brazil, India, China, Japans’ procurement markets, with reference to the procurement regulation and enforcement within the EU. The report assesses the available data on both the de jure and de facto levels of openness of these markets to put forward some conclusions of value to policy making both within the EU and in its trading relations with key third countries. This assessment concludes that the lack of comprehensive comparable data on procurement contract awards, particularly at the sub-central level, is not a trivial challenge for policy makers. Nevertheless, it is evident that the liberalisation of procurement markets continues to take place on a strictly reciprocal basis – linked to the offensive interests of governments. Given the slow-down in negotiating mega-regional agreements with comprehensive procurement chapters, the WTO Government Procurement Agreement remains the most efficient and transparent forum for undertaking further liberalisation in public procurement.

Ulkopuolinen laatija

Kamala DAWAR, Sussex University, United Kingdom

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