26 Oct 2018
EUROPEAN COMMISSION DAILY NEWS – 26 OCTOBERBrussels Daily
WTO reform – participants in Ottawa meeting agree on concrete steps
The 13 members of the World Trade Organisation (WTO), participatingin a ministerial meeting held in Ottawa on 24 and 25 October – including the EU represented by Commissioner for Trade Cecilia Malmström – unequivocally reiteratedtheir commitment to safeguarding the rules-based multilateral system. In a Joint Communique, the partners agreed to work on solutions to fix the dispute settlement system and resolve the Appellate Body crisis, while preserving its essential features; supported the need to reinvigorate the WTO negotiating function by recognising the need to move forward in various formats and the necessity to address the realities of today’s economy and in particular market distortions caused by subsidies, reiterated their commitment to concluding the fisheries subsidies negotiations by 2019 and welcomed the work being undertaken under the Joint Statement Initiatives, which are tackling such issues as e-commerce. Finally, the participants recognised the importance of ensuring effective monitoring and transparency in the WTO, and committed to work on concrete solutions, including engaging constructively on proposals to improve compliance with notification obligations. The outcome of the ministerial meeting broadly supports the proposals made by the EU in its WTO reform concept paper published on 18 September 2018. The EU will continue to take these proposals forward in different configurations and will work closely with like-minded countries, including those present in at the Ottawa ministerial (Australia, Brazil, Canada, Chile, Japan, Kenya, Korea, Mexico, New Zealand, Norway, Singapore and Switzerland).
Competition/Agriculture: Commission publishes report on application of competition rules in the agricultural sector
The European Commission has published the first report on the application of competition rules in the agricultural sector. The report shows that the work of European competition authorities can help farmers to obtain better conditions when selling their products to large buyers or cooperatives. The main findings of the report concern the (a) work of the European competition authorities, (b) derogations from competition rules for producer and interbranch organisations, and (c) sectoral tools in the agricultural industry. On the basis of the insights gained from the report, the Commission will continue its dialogue with stakeholders in the agricultural sector, as well as with Member States, the European Parliament and the Council, on future policy choices concerning the application of competition rules to the agricultural sector. The Commission will also intensify its monitoring of the market, in particular as regards collective agreements that segment the internal market. Margrethe Vestager, Commissioner in charge of competition policy, said: “This report provides key insights into the valuable work that European competition authorities have been doing in the agricultural sector, especially in protecting farmers from anti-competitive behaviour and ensuring farmers and consumers can benefit from a fully open internal market. We will continue the work together with the national competition authorities”. Phil Hogan, Commissioner for agriculture and rural development, said: “Strengthening the position of the farmer in the food supply chain, in a market oriented policy context, is of utmost importance. This report highlights how agricultural law and competition law go hand-in-hand in achieving fairer and more efficient outcomes for both producers and consumers. Let us not forget that farmers have a special place insofar as competition law is concerned. Recognised producer organisations can help them strengthen their position in the food supply chain”. A full press release is available online