EU−Ukraine: 3rd meeting of the Association Council on 19 December
The third meeting of the EU−Ukraine Association Council will take place on 19 December 2016 in Brussels.
The meeting will be chaired by High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy Federica Mogherini, on behalf of the European Union. Ukraine will be represented by its Prime Minister Volodymyr Groysman.
A press conference will take place after the meeting, on Monday 19 December at 11.30 in the Justus Lipsius building (main press room). A specific accreditation is needed to attend the press conference and all media opportunities.
Trade defence instruments: Council agrees negotiating position
On 13 December 2016, the Permanent Representatives Committee (Coreper) agreed on the Council's negotiating position on a proposal to modernise the EU's trade defence instruments.
"This is a major breakthrough," said Peter Žiga, Slovakia's minister in charge of trade and President of the Council. "Our trade defence instruments have remained largely the same for over 15 years but the situation on world markets has changed dramatically. Europe cannot be naïve and has to defend its interests, especially in case of dumping. This is a crucial step towards a solid solution that would help EU producers cope with unfair competition and practices."
The proposed regulation amends current anti-dumping and anti-subsidies regulations to better respond to unfair trade practices. The purpose is to shield EU producers from damage caused by unfair competition, ensuring free and fair trade.
In particular, the proposed regulation sets out to:
Increase transparency and predictability as concerns the imposition of provisional anti-dumping and anti-subsidy measures. This includes a period of four weeks after the information is made public in which provisional duties will not yet be applied.
Enable investigations to be initiated without an official request from industry, when a threat of retaliation by third countries exists.
Shorten the investigation period
Enable higher duties to be imposed in cases where there are raw material distortions and these raw materials, including energy, account for more than 27% of the cost of production in total and more than 7% taken individually. This would allow for limited deviations from the EU "lesser duty rule" whereby duties must not be higher than what is necessary to prevent injury for an EU industry. The imposition of higher duties will based on a target profit and also be subject to a Union interest test.
Enable importers to be reimbursed duties collected during an expiry review in the event of trade defence measures not being maintained.
This is the first fundamental review of the EU's trade defence instruments since 1995. In April 2013, the Commission presented a proposal to modernise the existing instruments and make them work better for EU producers, importers and users. At its meeting on 20-21 October 2016, the European Council called for a balanced agreement on the Council position by the end of 2016
Stronger farmers, better food supply chain: Council conclusions
On 12 December 2016 the Council, led by the Slovak Presidency, adopted conclusionson strengthening the position of farmers in the food supply chain and tackling unfair trading practices.
The Council acknowledges the importance of a well-functioning food supply chainand expresses concern about the vulnerability of farmers in this context, despite multiple efforts to improve their situation. The conclusions suggest solutions that the Commission and member states could put in place to guarantee, among others, that risks are shared more equally along the supply chain, contractualisation is enhanced, and market transparency and risk management improved.
The Council underlined the importance of a level-playing field for all those involved in the supply chain that could be achieved by a common European legislative framework.
The conclusions also call on the Commission to undertake an impact assessment with a view to proposing an EU legislative framework or other non-legislative measures to addressunfair trading practices which respects the principle of subsidiarity and safeguards well-functioning national systems.
“Fairness is the new rule of the game. The fight against unfair trading practices has entered a new era. Today we have stepped up our fight against unfair trading practices. The unanimous support from the Council means that trading practices will be closely scrutinized at the European level. The Slovak Presidency has fully achieved its aim of securing for European farmers a transparent and fair business environment,” said Gabriela Matečná, minister for agriculture and rural development of Slovakia and President of the Council.