7th February 2012

Did You Know? Issue 127 – 7th February 2012

1. Hong Kong/ EFTA agreement due2. EU Membership – update  3. New WTO members:  4. Argentina introduces import restrictions: 5. EU-Tunisia Agreement:


1. Hong Kong/EFTA agreement due: On 21 June 2011, Hong Kong and the member states of the European Free Trade Association (EFTA, comprising Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway and Switzerland) signed a Free Trade Agreement (FTA) which is expected to enter into force in June 2012.

2. EU Membership – update:

Croatia: referendum on joining the EU happened on 23-01-12 – it was a positive outcome which means Croatia will become 28th member on 1st July 2013.

Serbia: To be granted Candidate Status in February 2012

Montenegro: Accessions discussions to start June 2012

Iceland and Turkey: Still awaiting membership approval

Macedonia, Albania and Bosnia & Herzegovina are currently candidates for membership.

EU General: A proposal for a revised Instrument for Pre-accession Assistance (IPA) was adopted 7th December 2011 by the European Commission, granting proposed members a total amount proposed is €14,110 million over the period 2014-2020.

3. New WTO members: 2012 will see 4 new member countries to the World Trade Organisation bringing the number up to 157 members. The countries are:

            1. Vanuatu – became member 154 on 30th January 2012

            2. Montenegro - expected accession date 1st May 2012

            3. Samoa - expected accession date 15th July 2012

            4. Russia - expected accession date 22nd July 2012

4. Argentina introduces import restrictions: Argentina imposes new restrictions to slow consumer goods’ imports.  Announced only in January 2012 from 1st February 2012 Argentina has introduced new restrictions on consumer goods’ imports. Under the denomination of Anticipated Imports Sworn Statement, importers must declare with sufficient anticipation the goods they wish to bring into the Argentine domestic market.

5. EU-Tunisia Agreement: A joint letter of intent on a privileged partnership between the European Union (EU) and the Tunisian Republic was accorded by EU-representatives and the head of the Tunisian interim government on 2 February 2012 in Brussels. Next to political and financial support in the democratic and transparent accomplishment of general elections to be concluded by an independent national structure within a timeframe of 18 months, the EU representatives also committed themselves to the promotion of bilateral economic issues. Amongst others, this comprises the establishment of a European-Tunisian council of economic operators and the resumption of negotiations on the liberalisation of trade in agricultural products. In the long-run, Tunisia is interested in creating a completely elaborated free-trade area with the EU. On a technical level, the revision of conformity standards for industrial products is foreseen.



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