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EU seeks reset in trade talks with U.S. – trade chief Hogan

The European Union’s new trade commissioner, Irishman Phil Hogan, was quoted on Monday as saying he would seek a reset of EU/US trade relations on a number of contentious issues when he meets his U.S. counterpart for the first time next month.

The Trump administration imposed tariffs on European steel and aluminum in mid-2018. It has done the same to $7.5 billion worth of EU products over a dispute about subsidies for European planemaker Airbus (AIR.PA), and is threatening action against France over a digital services tax.

Hogan, who was promoted from the role of EU farm chief this month, spoke to U.S. trade representative Robert Lighthizer just before Christmas, he told the Irish Times newspaper.

“We agreed to meet in Washington in mid-January to discuss the long list of issues causing strain in the relationship between the EU and the US. There is no point in getting into the details of resolving trade irritants unless we agree a line on a common trade agenda,” he was quoted as saying.

“I will be seeking a reset of the EU/US trade relationship on issues like tariffs on steel and aluminum and the threat of US tariffs in response to a digital tax in Europe.”


The European Commission has published the 2020 version of the Combined Nomenclature applicable as from 1 January 2020

The Combined Nomenclature (CN) forms the basis for the declaration of goods (a) at importation or exportation or (b) when subject to intra-Union trade statistics. This determines which rate of customs duty applies and how the goods are treated for statistical purposes. The CN is thus a vital working tool for business and the Member States’ customs administrations.

The Combined Nomenclature was established by Council Regulation (EEC) No 2658/87 on the tariff and statistical nomenclature and on the Common Customs Tariff. It is updated every year and is published as a Commission Implementing Regulation in the Official Journal of the European Union, L Series.

[European Commission]

EU trade chief: Boris Johnson will back down on Brexit timeline

U.K. Prime Minister Boris Johnson won’t stick to his pledge not to extend the Brexit transition period, the EU’s trade commissioner predicted.

In an interview with the Irish Times, Phil Hogan said Johnson had backed down on his promise not to request a new Brexit extension and “I don’t believe prime minister Johnson will die in the ditch over the timeline for the future relationship either.”

Brexit will have “negative consequences for our economies,” Hogan warned. Even an “ambitious” trade deal “will not change the facts on Brexit” he added, “particularly on goods the U.K. government has so far avoided any statement of the U.K. aligning with the EU on regulatory aspects. We all have to come to terms with the reality that Brexit means there will be two markets, not a single market.”


ICC has launched Incoterms® 2020 applicable as from 1 January 2020

ICC has launched Incoterms® 2020, the newest edition of the renowned trade terms for the delivery of goods, providing certainty and clarity to business and traders everywhere.CC releases Incoterms® 2020 which will enter into force on 1 January 2020.

The Incoterms® rules were first introduced by ICC in 1936 to establish commonly accepted definitions and rules related to the delivery of goods between trading partners worldwide. Since then, ICC has periodically revised the Incoterms® rules to reflect changes in the international trade system. The 2020 edition launches during the organization’s Centenary year.

More accessible and easier to use, Incoterms® 2020 includes more detailed explanatory notes with enhanced graphics to illustrate the responsibilities of importers and exporters for each Incoterms® rule. The introduction to Incoterms® 2020 also includes a more detailed explanation on how to choose the most appropriate Incoterms® rule for a given transaction, or how a sales contract interacts with ancillary contracts.

[International Chamber of Commerce]

Middle East

Bahrain signs customs deal with Saudi Arabia

Customs president of Bahrain Shaikh Ahmed bin Hamad Al Khalifa and Saudi Customs governor Ahmed Al Hakbani signed an agreement on the Economic Operator programme, jointly implemented by both.

Shaikh Ahmed said the signing was a result of a series of meetings to set mechanisms for joint work with consideration to security requirements.

The Saudi official highlighted that the agreement will reinforce historical relations and hoped it will promote the flow of goods between both countries.

The Authorised Economic Operator (AEO) is defined as one of the participating party in the movement of international trade in a manner that conforms to international customs regulations or to equivalent adopted standards of supply chain security. It includes importers, exporters, manufacturers, brokers, transportation companies, ports, airports, ports operators, warehouses, and distributors.




Turkish imports granted zero-tariff access to Egypt

Egypt has completed the phase-out of tariffs imposed on Turkish imports under the Free Trade Agreement (FTA) signed between the two countries.

As of 1 January 2020, all tariffs on imports coming from Turkey will be scraped, the Egyptian Customs Authority said in a statement on Wednesday.

In December 2005, Egypt and Turkey signed the FTA which stated that tariffs between the two countries will be phased out to zero by 2020.

In addition, Egypt’s agreement with the European Free Trade Association’s (EFTA) member states, including Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway and Switzerland, stated that tariffs on imports from EFTA’s countries will also be phased out gradually to zero by 2020.