Modernisation of EU export controls

The Commission welcomes the agreement reached today by the European Parliament and the Council on its proposal for a modernisation of EU export controls on sensitive dual-use goods and technologies. The changes agreed today will upgrade and strengthen the EU’s export control toolbox to respond effectively to evolving security risks and emerging technologies. Thanks to the new Regulation, the EU can now effectively protect its interests and values and, in particular, address the risk of violations of human rights associated with trade in cyber-surveillance technologies without prior agreement at multilateral level.  It also enhances the EU’s capacity to control trade flows in sensitive new and emerging technologies.

Executive Vice-President and Commissioner for Trade, Valdis Dombrovskis, said: “I warmly welcome this agreement to upgrade our controls on dual-use technologies. These can have a far-reaching impact and pose a risk to national and international security, while cyber-technologies can lead to human rights violations. We will now have robust export controls to mitigate against abuses of dual-use tech and exporters will have to follow due diligence obligations. The Commission will work now closely with Member States and the European Parliament to implement the new Regulation effectively. We will also interact closely with industry, which is the ‘first line of defence’ to guard against proliferators and other malevolent actors.”

This new Regulation provides a new basis for the coordination of controls on a wider range of emerging dual-use technologies between the Commission and Member States in support of the effective enforcement of controls throughout the EU. Due diligence obligations and compliance requirements for exporters have also been introduced, recognising the role of the private sector in addressing the risks posed by trade in dual use items to international security. Transparency will also be enhanced through the obligation to publish reports on the licenses granted. Continue reading “Modernisation of EU export controls”

Trade preferences boost developing countries’ exports to the European Union

Exports to the European Union from developing countries using special tariff preferences under the EU’s Generalised Scheme of Preferences (GSP) reached a new high of €69 billion in 2018. According to the European Commission’s report published every two years on the GSP, released today, exports to the EU from the 71 GSP beneficiary countries increased to almost €184 billion. Nearly €69 billion of these used GSP special preferences.

High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy/Vice-President of the European Commission Josep Borrell said:  “Trade is one of the crucial tools the EU has at hand to address, support and improve human rights, labour rights and good governance, which are pillars of sustainable development, around the world. Through the EU’s Generalised Scheme of Preferences, we support developing countries to grow and advance in a sustainable way, not least when it comes to climate action. Our preferential trade tariffs help to take thousands out of poverty, to reduce inequalities, and to bring economic growth.

Commissioner for Trade Phil Hogan said: “Thanks to our trade preferences, the EU imports twice as much from least developed countries as the rest of the world does. This trademark tool of the EU’s trade policy underpins millions of jobs in the world’s poorest countries and acts as an incentive to countries to implement international conventions on human rights, labour rights, good governance and the environment.

The Generalised Scheme of Preferences removes import duties on developing countries’ exports to the EU.  By creating additional export opportunities, it helps the countries to tackle poverty and create jobs while also respecting sustainable development principles. For instance, today’s report shows that, thanks to the GSP, countries like Sri Lanka, Mongolia and Bolivia are more effectively tackling child labour. Continue reading “Trade preferences boost developing countries’ exports to the European Union”

First year of the EU-Japan Economic Partnership Agreement shows growth in EU exports

1 February 2020 marks the first anniversary of the entry into force of the EU-Japan Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA). In the first ten months following the implementation of the agreement, EU exports to Japan went up by 6.6% compared to the same period the year before. This outperforms the growth in the past three years, which averaged 4.7% (Eurostat data). Japanese exports to Europe grew by 6.3% in the same period.

Commissioner for Trade Phil Hogan commented: “The EU-Japan trade agreement is benefitting citizens, workers, farmers and companies in Europe and in Japan. Openness, trust and a commitment to established rules help deliver sustainable growth in trade. The EU is and will continue to be the largest and most active trading block in the world. The EU is a trusted bilateral partner to more than 70 countries, with whom we have the biggest trading network in the world.”

Certain sectors have seen even stronger export growth over the same period:

  • Meat exports increased by 12%, with a 12.6% increase for pork exports, and frozen beef exports have more than tripled.
  • Dairy exports were up by 10.4% (including a 47% increase in butter exports).
  • Beverages exports went up by 20%, with 17.3% growth in wine exports.
  • Leather articles exports and apparel have seen an increase of 14% and 9.5%, respectively.
  • Electrical machinery exports, such as telecommunications equipment, storage devices and electronic circuits went up by 16.4%.

Continue reading “First year of the EU-Japan Economic Partnership Agreement shows growth in EU exports”