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February 2019
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EDITO
Saturday, 16 February 2019
The EU Council adopted on 29 November a regulation[1] setting a new single tariff rate for banana imports with a view to the entry into force of a tariff-only regime as from 1 January 2006, as well as a zero tariff rate quota for bananas originating in ACP countries. The normal tariff rate for banana imported from Most Favoured Nations (MFN) suppliers will be EUR 176 per tonne. An annual import quota of 775 000 tonnes subject to a zero-duty rate will be opened for imports of bananas from ACP countries under the ACP-EU partnership agreement, starting from 2006. The Commission will adopt transitional measures in order to facilitate the switchover from the existing to the new arrangements.
The EU notified the World Trade Organisation (WTO), on 31 January 2005, its intention to replace its concessions on bananas, but a WTO arbitrator's award concluded last August that the tariff rate of EUR 230/tonne proposed by the EU was not consistent with WTO rules as it would not enable total market access for countries benefiting from MFN status. The EU could not reach an agreement on the tariff rate with some countries, namely, Ecuador and Panama, having a principal supplying interest, and Colombia and Costa Rica, having a substantial supplier interest. The EU revised the proposal in the light of the arbitrator's findings and in a second arbitration award, issued on 27 October, the WTO arbitrator concluded that the revised proposal for an MFN tariff rate of EUR 187/tonne failed to rectify the matter.
[1] The regulation was adopted at the Competitiveness Council session by qualified majority.
“.eu”: Europe’s new internet address opens for business on 7 December
The Commission announced today that the “.eu” top-level domain, which enables businesses, public bodies and citizens to choose a pan-European Internet name for their web sites and e-mail addresses, opens for business on 7 December 2005. A “.eu” suffix enables users to project a Europe-wide presence, ambition or affiliation. It complements, but does not replace, national country codes such as France’s “.fr”, Poland’s “.pl” or the UK’s “.uk”. A sunrise period of 4 months will allow holders of prior rights – including businesses – to apply for the registration of domain names provided they are settled in the European Union. From 7 April 2006, the Registry will open its doors for applications from the general public. With the launch of .eu, the Commission lives up to the promise made at the Lisbon European Council in 2000 to give Europe’s Information Society an identity on the web under reliable EU rules.
The European Commission, on behalf of the European Union, and Gabon have initialled a Fisheries Partnership Agreement (FPA) for a period of six years, which will become effective on 3 December 2005. This fisheries agreement will replace the current one, due to end the day before. The new Protocol under the FPA provides for tuna fishing opportunities for 40 Community vessels, in return for an EU annual financial contribution of € 860,000, of which 60% is earmarked for support to the Gabonese national fishing policy. In addition to refocusing financial support, the new agreement also marks the beginning of a new era in fisheries cooperation between the EU and Gabon dedicated to promoting sustainable fisheries in Gabonese waters. In particular, it breaks new ground by committing both parties to broad-ranging and systematic policy dialogue, and to strengthening cooperation in a number of areas. This move towards partnership agreements, agreed under the 2002 reform of the Common Fisheries Policy, focus support on developing the local fishing sector and the capacity of the partner countries to ensure sustainable fisheries in their waters.
Thursday, 01 December 2005
Later today, Joe Borg, European Commissioner for Fisheries and Maritime Affairs, on behalf of the European Union and Mr Mohamed Abdoulhamid, Minister of Rural Development, Fisheries and Environment of the Islamic Republic of the Comoros Islands, will sign the new EU/Comoros fisheries protocol which will be in place until 31 December 2010. This new protocol heralds a new era in co-operation by establishing both a clear commitment to fisheries policy cooperation between the two Parties, and the mechanisms to turn that commitment into a reality.
Economic Partnership Agreements: EU and Central Africa agree next phase of negotiations
EU Trade Commissioner Peter Mandelson met with Central African Ministers on the 25th November in Brussels to agree on the next phase of the Economic Partnership Agreement negotiations between the two regions. Ministers agreed to launch the next phase of negotiations in January 2006, and endorsed a detailed calendar. Work will therefore begin shortly on drafting the text and legal provisions of the EPA, in areas such as trade in goods, competition policy, public procurement, intellectual property rights, services, investment and trade and environment. The impact of the EPA on productive sectors in Central Africa will also be analysed, in order to prepare the future market access discussions. Commissioner Michel also participated in the meeting, underscoring the Commission’s commitment to helping Central Africa both manage economic change and grasp the opportunities the EPA will provide.