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Europe

UK companies would incur tariff costs after no-deal Brexit: survey

Almost 40% of British businesses with suppliers in the European Union have signed “Brexit clauses” to allow prices or other terms to be renegotiated if trade tariffs return after a no-deal departure from the bloc.

The Chartered Institute of Procurement & Supply (CIPS) said the survey of 817 supply chain managers in Britain and the EU showed that British firms would incur the cost of any tariffs when buying parts from the bloc, potentially pushing up prices.

The Department for International Trade said in the event of a no-deal Brexit a temporary tariff measure would mean 86% of total imports would be eligible for tariff free access.

“This is a temporary measure and we will be monitoring the economy closely, as well as consulting with businesses to decide what our tariffs should be after this transition period,” it said.

[Reuters]

Europe launches last-ditch effort to avoid US tariffs

The European Commission has dangled the prospect of limiting its public subsidies to the US administration in an attempt to avoid further tariffs from Washington that could come as early as next month in the context of the Airbus-Boeing dispute.

The Commissioner for Trade, Cecilia Malmström, told reporters on Monday (16 September) that the EU will keep trying to negotiate with the US an amicable solution to the nearly two-decades-old dispute.

But should that prove impossible, the EU executive will discuss with member states their retaliatory measures.

“Our view is that there are enough tariffs in the world as it is so imposing tariffs on each other would not be a good solution,” she said.

[Euractiv]

Austria blocks EU-Mercosur trade deal with South America

MPs in Austria have dealt a blow to the EU’s landmark trade deal with South America’s economic bloc, by demanding a government veto on the deal.

The draft free trade agreement took 20 years to complete and the EU has described it as its biggest so far.

Mercosur includes four South American economies – Brazil, Argentina, Uruguay and Paraguay. A fifth member, Venezuela, is currently suspended.

France and Ireland have already warned they will reject the deal if Brazil does not do more to curb fires in the Amazon rainforest.

Austrian groups say the deal must do more to tackle environment issues.

Without backing from every government in the EU, the Mercosur deal cannot go through.

[BBC]

The EU Intellectual Property Rights Report 2019

New figures released by the European Commission show that the number of interceptions of fake goods being imported into the EU increased in 2018 due to a large amount of small parcels in express and postal traffic. Detention figures for seized consignments jumped from 57,433 in 2017 to 69,354 in 2018, though the total amount of articles detained decreased compared to previous years. Almost 27 million articles that infringed on intellectual property rights (IPR) were detained in 2018 with a street value of nearly €740 million.

The top categories of detained articles were cigarettes, which accounted for 15% of the overall amount of detained articles. This was followed by toys (14%), packaging material (9%), labels, tags and stickers (9%) and clothing (8%). Products for daily personal use in the home such as body care articles, medicines, toys and electrical household goods accounted for nearly 37% of the total number of detained articles.

[European Commission]

 

Middle East

Turkey, Azerbaijan to build simplified customs frontier

Turkey and Azerbaijan agreed to establish a “simplified customs frontier”, Turkish vice president said on September 16.

The eighth meeting of the Turkey-Azerbaijan Joint Economic Commission (KEK) was held under the chairmanship of Turkish Vice President Fuat Oktay and Azerbaijani Prime Minister Novruz Memmedovi with the agreement to contribute to the signing of a preferential trade agreement this year, to facilitate mutual trade and to expedite customs procedures.

Speaking at the meeting, Oktay announced they had signed the Eighth Term Joint Economic Commission Protocol during the meeting.

“The decisions taken by the commission today are indicative of our determination to move our economic relations further in many areas from trade to energy, transportation to education, agriculture to health on the basis of concrete actions,” Oktay said.

[Hurriyet Daily News]

New rules introduced for duty free shops in Oman

Chalking out new rules for duty-free shops in Oman, the Ministry of Finance (MOF) issued a list of regulations, conditions and procedures applicable for purchases and sales as well as establishing of new duty-free shops.

According to the decision of MOF, departing passengers and transit passengers on international flights as well as departing aircrew members can purchase items from duty-free shops by submitting their passports and boarding pass sales counters.

According to Times of Oman, Article 15 of the decision stipulates: “Sales staff are obliged to deliver to the buyer, a receipt containing the number of units sold, their inventory number, the type of item, the name of the airport where the sale was made and the price of the item”.

[Zawya]

 

Africa

No reset on EU-Africa relations under von der Leyen

Speculation that Commission President-elect Ursula von der Leyen could appoint a Commissioner specifically for Africa turned out to be much ado about almost nothing, if her team of Commission nominees is anything to go by.

The three Commissioners dealing with EU-Africa relations will be the Foreign Affairs High Representative, Josep Borrell; the Commissioner for ‘Protecting the European Way of Life, Margaritis Schinas, whose portfolio includes migration control; and International Partnerships Commissioner, Jutta Urpilainen.

The only significant change is the replacement of the ‘Development’ Commissioner with a Commissioner for ‘international partnerships’, and it is unclear whether this marks a rhetorical or substantive change.

The emphasis on ‘partnerships’ rather than ‘development’ potentially signals a shift away from traditional donor/recipient relations, and the nomination of Urpilainen, a Finnish parliamentarian who served as her country’s special envoy to Ethiopia, has been widely welcomed.

[Euractiv]