24th June 2013

Did You Know? Issue 160

1. US BIS launched Export Control Classification Interactive Tool: The USA Bureau of Industry & Security has launched a new interactive tool to search products that may come under the Export Administration Regulation (EAR), the Commerce Control List (CCL) Order of Review Decision Tool. The tool is effective for exports on or after October 15, 2013. Link
2. EU, Serbia and Kosovo:  Joint reports from the European Commission and the EU High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy published in late April conclude that negotiations on accession to the EU are to be opened with Serbia, and Kosovo is to begin negotiations with the EU on a stabilisation and association agreement.  Serbia has met the key EU priority of improving relations with Kosovo, with a sustained dialogue that has covered many aspects including integrated border management and recognition of customs stamps. A first agreement of principles governing the normalisation of relations was initialled by the two Prime Ministers on 19 April, and this opened the way for EU accession negotiations with Serbia. The report on Serbia also acknowledges its efforts to reform the rule of law and independence of key institutions, and also protection of minorities and the business environment.  Kosovo is reported to have achieved the short-term priorities required by an EU feasibility study of 2012, in the areas of the rule of law, public administration, protection of minorities and trade. A stabilisation and association agreement with the EU would liberalise trade between them and contribute towards preparation for eventual EU membership.
3. Recovering debts:  On 16 March 2013, the 2011 Late Payment Directive came into force in national legislation and should provide a financial safety net for SMEs. Late payment has resulted in bankruptcy for many smaller businesses and obtaining adequate access to finance is one of their greatest constraints. The directive obliges public authorities to pay for goods and services within 30 calendar days, or 60 days in very exceptional circumstances. Businesses are required to pay their invoices within 60 calendar days, unless they specifically agree otherwise and if that agreement is not grossly unfair to the creditor. The new provisions are mandatory for public authorities but are optional for companies. The EU also has a number of measures in place to help SMEs recover debts from other Member States, which can otherwise be a daunting prospect because of cost and differences in procedures and languages. An information campaign is running national events from March 2013 to June 2014.  Further information is on the European Commission website under Single market for goodsand SMEs.
4. EU and Moldova conclude Deep and Comprehensive Free Trade Area: The European Union and the Republic of Moldova successfully held mid-June 2013 the final round of negotiations on a Deep and Comprehensive Free Trade Area (DCFTA), as part of the Association Agreement between the EU and the Republic of Moldova.  Read More
5. USA export controls amended: The USA Bureau of Industry and Security (BIS) publishes this final rule to amend the Export Administration Regulations (EAR) to implement the understandings reached at the June 2012 plenary meeting of the Australia Group (AG) and the 2012 AG intersessional decisions. Specifically, this rule amends the Commerce Control List (CCL) entry in the EAR that controls human and zoonotic pathogens and ‘‘toxins’’ to reflect changes to the AG ‘‘List of Biological Agents for Export Control’’ that were made based on the understandings adopted at the June 2012 AG plenary meeting.
Read Federal Register Notice
6. EU and Thailand discuss the new FTA:  EU and Thai officials have just completed the first round of negotiations for a Free Trade Agreement. Meeting in Brussels from 27-31 May, negotiators spent a week working through a heavy agenda. Issues discussed included trade in goods, rules of origin, intellectual property rights, customs and trade facilitation, technical barriers to trade, public procurement, animal and plant health standards, sustainable development, services and investment protection. Read More  Read “Joint Statement”
7. Pharmaceuticals - New symbol for products undergoing monitoring:  From September 2013, pharmaceutical products subject to additional monitoring will be required to bear a black inverted triangle symbol on their product information leaflet. This will apply to all new medicinal products authorised after that date and it will be introduced progressively for products already authorised. The symbol will identify these products for patients and healthcare professionals, and the accompanying information will enable enhanced post-market surveillance by inviting them to report any unexpected adverse reactions through national reporting systems.
The products to be subjected to additional monitoring are:
  • all medicinal products authorised after 1 January 2011 containing a new active substance
  • biological medicinal products such as vaccines or plasma derived products, authorised after 1 January 2011
  • products for which extra information is required after authorisation, or for which authorisation depends on conditions or restrictions on their safe and effective use.
Further information is on the Europa website under Press Releases and Public Health.
8. SMEs’ 10 most hated EU laws:  As part of its REFIT programme (Regulatory Fitness and Performance), the European Commission has consulted approximately 1000 small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) and business organisations on what they felt were the most burdensome EU laws.
The 10 reported EU laws to cause most problems are:
  • REACH (Registration, Evaluation, Authorisation and Restriction of Chemicals)
  • VAT legislation
  • general product safety and market surveillance
  • recognition of professional qualifications
  • shipments of waste, waste framework legislation, lists of waste and hazardous waste
  • labour market-related legislation
  • data protection
  • working time
  • recording equipment in road transport (for driving and rest periods)
  • procedures for the award of public contracts (public works, supply and service contracts)
  • modernised customs code.
Steps have already been taken to simplify a number of these areas (action on late payments has been particularly successful), and the Commission has pledged to announce further actions by June 2013.
Further information is on the Europa website.
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