19 May 2016
EUROPEAN COMMISSION DAILY NEWS – 19 MAYBrussels Daily
Japan lifts ban on imports of Italian beef
Japan has lifted an embargo on Italian beef in place for 15 years, following an earlier opening of its market to beef products from other EU Member States (France, Ireland, the Netherlands, Poland, Denmark and Sweden). According to Commissioners Vytenis Andriukaitis, Cecilia Malmström and Phil Hogan, responsible respectively for food safety, trade and agriculture, “the fact that Japan continues to approve beef exports from EU Member States is a great success of the European trade diplomacy. All Commission services, together with the EU Delegation to Japan, have been working towards an opening of the Japanese market for EU beef and beef products from all EU countries interested in exports. We look forward to seeing Japan opening its market to beef from the rest of the EU in the near future.” Japan introduced an import ban on beef from the EU in 2001, referring to an alleged risk of Bovine Spongiform Encephalopathy. This measure went beyond the international standards set by the World Organisation for Animal Health, and did not take into account the EU’s stringent control and surveillance measures guaranteeing the safety of European beef and beef products. The full Statement can be found on the websites of DG Health and Food Safety, DG Agriculture and Rural Development, and DG Trade.
The Commission improves transparency and simplifies communication of trade defence procedures
The Commission has today taken further steps to increase transparency in its trade defence procedures and to simplify communication with involved stakeholders. Commenting on these steps that follow up on the “Trade for All” strategy launched in October 2015, EU Trade Commissioner Cecilia Malmström said: “I’m committed to making trade policy more transparent across-the-board, including for trade defence. With the on-going steel crisis, we need more engagement between the Commission’s trade defence services and everyone concerned, including small businesses who struggle with unfair imports. With these new tools to improve two-way communication, we hope for more contributions to help us better address the industry’s legitimate concerns.” A summary document will be published to provide background on each request for a Commission investigation or review of existing anti-dumping or anti-subsidy measures and further summaries will be published systematically. The goal is to help spread the information about any starting investigation to the public at large and guarantee that all interested parties can bring their contribution. In addition, the Commission will put in place a new online platform improving communication between stakeholders involved in the ongoing proceedings that will provide relief particularly to smaller companies.
State aid: Commission clarifies scope of EU State aid rules to facilitate public investment
The Commission has published its Notion of Aid Notice, which provides guidance on when public spending falls within, and outside, the scope of EU State aid control. It will in particular facilitate public investment in the European Union by helping Member States and companies to design public funding in ways which do not distort competition, notably because it does not risk distorting the level playing field in the Single Market or risk crowding out private investment. This will help maximise the effect of investments on economic growth and jobs, in line with the Commission’s Investment Plan for Europe to mobilise at least €315 billion over three years in private and public investment across the EU. The Notion of Aid Notice is the last part of the Commission’s State Aid Modernisation initiative, launched in 2012. The overall purpose is to provide legal certainty and cut red tape for public authorities and companies, and focus the Commission’s resources on enforcing State aid rules in cases with the biggest impact on the Single Market. A press release is available online in EN