30th September 2013

Did You Know? Issue 167


1. EU and Singapore EUSFTA: 2. Non-Tariff Measures effect on developing markets: 3. EU report on protectionism shows rise in restrictive measures: 4. ITA-II: 5. Mexico enters the Australia Group (AG)6. Nigeria: Trade Hub and Customs Modernization: 7. EU -US Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP): 8. New Customs Notices:
1. EU and Singapore EUSFTA: 20th September 2013, the EU and Singapore today release the text of one of the most comprehensive trade agreements they have ever negotiated. It is the first EU deal with a Southeast Asian economy and has the potential to open the door to Free Trade Agreements (FTAs) with other countries from the region Read More
2. Non-Tariff Measures effect on developing markets: A new UNCTAD publication reports on the effects of non-tariff measures in the developing world. The publication, "Non-tariff Measures to Trade: Economic and Policy Issues for Developing Countries," seeks to inform policymakers and other stakeholders about issues relating to non-tariff measures, which pose ever more challenges to international trade policies.​ Read More
3. EU report on protectionism shows rise in restrictive measures: The Commission’s 10th protectionism report was published in late August. It shows that protectionist measures are still on rise in G20 countries with about 150 new trade restrictions introduced over the last year. The measures found include behind-the-border restrictions, public procurement, services and investments, export restrictions, measures to stimulate exports and internal stimulus measures. The report covers the period 1 May 2012 to 31 May 2013 and describes trade-disrupting measures implemented by the EU’s main trading partners.
Press release on the report
The report
4. ITA-II: The number of participant countries has grown from the original 15 to 78, representing about 97% of world trade in information technology products.  WTO member states are said to be encouraging  their leaders to sign phase two (ITA II) of the Ministerial Declaration on Trade in Information Technology Products, during the WTO Ministerial Conference in Bali, Indonesia, in December 2013. 
ITA II would see that list of products increased from 217 to include an even broader range of items that could be exported to countries with a zero tariff to be paid.   This includes extending the coverage of the Agreement into related areas such as televisions; MP3 players; game controllers; web cameras; global positioning system equipment; thermoplastics and prisms. The inclusion of a few consumer electronic items and certain security related products is one of the main reasons why it has not been possible for the members of ITA to come to a consensus yet.
In addition to expanding the base of IT products with zero tariffs, WTO member states are expected to discuss at the WTO Bali Conference in December 2013 non-tariff barriers (NTBs) relating to other IT items.  This will be very important for anyone working in these industries.
5. Mexico enters the Australia Group (AG): After receiving unanimous support from the 40 participant countries and from the European Commission, Mexico has been accepted as the 42nd member of the Australia Group (AG) according to a press release from the Economy Ministry. The AG is a group of countries established in 1985 which has as a purpose to reduce the risk of chemical and biological weapons proliferation through monitoring and application of control measures on exports of certain chemical substances, biological agents and the equipment used to produce them. With the access, Mexico reassures its commitment to international security and balance, and adds to the efforts against chemical and biological proliferation, its components and dual use goods. Furthermore, Mexico’s entrance will contribute to increased competitiveness from the Mexican export industry, strengthening the platform for continuous and controlled development of technology. It is worth mentioning that during 2012 Mexico exported over $3billion in dual use goods within the chemical and biological terms related to the control lists from AG, like pesticides, fermenters and several other chemical substances.
6. Nigeria: Trade Hub and Customs Modernization:Nigerian Customs have been progressing Trade Facilitation measures under WTO guidelines.  It recently launched the Nigeria Trade Hub (NTH) and the Nigeria Import, Export and Transit Process Manual.  The portal, developed with the cooperation of other government regulatory agencies and some private sector players, seeks to provide invaluable guide and reliable reference tools to the global trading community that wish to do business in or with Nigeria.  Read More
7. EU -US Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP): 
On 10 July 2013, Jean-Luc Demarty addressed Parliament’s Committee on International Trade. He spoke at length about a series of issues, including the TTIP negotiations.  In September 2013 The European Union has raised financial services regulation as a possible subject for these negotiations. But American trade negotiators continue to stress that such regulation should be addressed elsewhere and not encompassed in the negotiations.  The talks have been complicated by the revelation of American spying stemming from the leaks by Edward J. Snowden, the former National Security Agency contractor, which has sharply recast the European view of issues like data privacy addressed in the talks. Asked about the spying scandal, Mr. Mullaney said, “Our negotiations during the first round were, I’d say, substantive and workmanlike.” He added that “the discussions on some of the intelligence issues were addressed in another forum, so they didn’t play a big role.”
He suggested that it was too early to set any deadline for concluding the talks. (Source New York Times)
8. New Customs Notices:
Notice 12A: What you can do if things are seized by HMRC
Notice 236: Importing returned goods free of duty and tax
VAT Notice 700: The VAT Guide
VAT Notice 700/45: How to correct VAT errors and make adjustments or claims
Notice 700/56: Update to Sections 7 & 17 Insolvency VAT
Notice 780: Common Agricultural Policy import procedures and special directions for goods
Notice 826: Tariff preferences imports
Notice 827: European Community Preference: Export Procedures
Notice 828: Tariff Preferences: Rules of Origin for Various Countries.  Now includes South Korea but not Colombia or Peru agreement yet.
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