FratiniVergano’s latest issue of Trade Perspectives© is published
The first article discusses a recent ruling by a WTO arbitrator on the level of retaliation that Mexico can request for approval in US – Tuna II (Mexico). The article first provides a historical account of the dispute, including a pre-WTO panel similarly dealing with requirements for ‘dolphin-safe’ tuna imports into the US. The article reviews the Panel, Appellate Body and compliance Reports of the dispute at hand before providing a summary of the arbitrator’s findings and conclusions in the most recent ruling. The article concludes by placing the ruling in the context of ongoing trade tensions between Mexico and the US, in particular as they relate to the potential re-negotiation of the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), as well as bilateral negotiations pertaining to, inter alia, the corn and sugar sectors.
The second article addresses the state of play of the EU-Japan free trade agreement negotiations after the 18th round. Prior to the 18th negotiating round, the European Commission published its proposals for a Chapter on Small and Medium-Sized Enterprises (SMEs) and for the Chapter on Good Regulatory Practices and Regulatory Cooperation. First, the article analyses the outcome of the 18th round vis-à-vis the 17th round, pointing out relevant progress in certain areas and the remaining sensitive issues. The article then analyses the two chapters recently proposed by the Commission. The chapter on SMEs aims at enhancing the competitiveness of SMEs and their benefit from the future agreement. The Chapter on Good Regulatory Practices and Regulatory Cooperation has particular significance considering the existence of a large number of non-tariff measures affecting trade between the Parties. The article concludes that there has been continuous progress in the negotiations and that both Parties appear to be committed to accelerate negotiations in view of an envisaged conclusion of negotiations by the end of the year.
The third article addresses the issue of fishery subsidies and fishery sustainability in light of recent developments. First, the article provides background information on fisheries and fishery trade. Second, the article goes into further detail on the ‘Voluntary Guidelines on Catch Documentation Schemes’, recently agreed within the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations. The article then looks into the issue of global catch certification and traceability schemes, potentially rendering private sustainability schemes for fishery products obsolete. Furthermore, the article addresses the issue of fishery subsidies, which is garnering renewed attention ahead of the UN Ocean Conference in June 2017 and the upcoming WTO Ministerial meeting in December 2017. The article concludes that the issues of traceability and sustainability are of growing importance for an increasing number of sectors and that stakeholders should make use of all available fora, in order to protect their interests and be active participants in the discussions.
The fourth article addresses the draft French Order laying down the additional form of presentation of the nutrition declaration recommended by the Government of France. Under the draft order, the five-colour ‘Nutri-Score’ is the official (but voluntary) additional Front-of-Pack nutrition label, which France is recommending to food business operators in order to promote healthier food choices. The article analyses whether the justification of the French recommendation satisfies the requirements of Article 35 of the Food Information Regulation (FIR). This concerns in particular the requirement that other forms of expression must be based either on the harmonised reference intakes set out in the FIR or, in their absence, on generally accepted scientific advice on intakes for energy or nutrients. The article concludes that the French-recommended logo and its colour codes appear to simply categorise foods from good foods to bad foods, without taking into account how much energy and nutrients are consumed per day. It is now for the Commission and for the other EU Member States to assess whether the French recommendation complies with EU rules, particularly with the FIR.
Trade Perspectives© is available for full reading at the following link. With this fortnightly publication, we intend to regularly provide readers with a set of recent international trade developments of particular commercial and regulatory interest. Our focus is on those matters that are set to become contentious trade issues or which should be followed closely by traders, government officials, lawyers, consultants and all other concerned parties. Trade Perspectives© does not constitute legal advice and is not, therefore, intended to be relied on or to create any client/lawyer relationship. For new recipients to be added to our circulation list, please contact us at: TradePerspectives@FratiniVergano.eu.