FratiniVergano’s latest issue of Trade Perspectives© is published
The first article addresses the three requests by Australia, Brazil and Guatemala for consultations with India regarding certain measures concerning sugar and sugarcane in the context of the World Trade Organization’s (WTO) dispute settlement mechanism. The article provides some background information on sugar policy in India and then analyses the arguments by the complainants, who allege that certain measures by India, namely subsidies accorded to sugar producers, as well as alleged export subsidies, were inconsistent with India’s obligations under the WTO Agreement on Agriculture, the WTO Agreement on Subsidies and Countervailing Measures, and the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade 1994. The article then assesses India’s position, noting that it denied, in November 2018, that the market price support provided for sugarcane constituted domestic support. The article concludes that the global sugar market was under intense pressure and that India’s increasing exports were significantly contributing to a global sugar surplus and decreased prices. Considering that India is the world’s second largest sugar producer, any development regarding India’s sugar policies is poised to have a significant impact on the world sugar market
The second article addresses the EU’s proposal for a Single-Use Plastics Directive, which the European Parliament adopted on 27 March 2019. The Single-Use Plastics Directive, proposed by the Commission in May 2018, aims at tackling marine litter coming originating from the ten single-use plastic products most often found on European beaches, as well as abandoned fishing gear and oxo-degradable plastics. The article analyses that it appears that, in certain EU Member States, measures are already being adopted extending the list of the restricted products, even before the Directive has come into force. EU Member States may, depending on their national level of decentralisation and competences, choose to implement EU Directives with regional measures. However, arguably, EU Member States, or their regions, may not introduce stricter measures at national or regional level. The article concludes that the Directive and its implementation across EU Member States will have significant consequences for EU businesses and importers of relevant products.
The third article concerns the global trend in various countries of introducing new Front-of-Pack (hereinafter, FoP) nutrition labelling systems, highlighting recent examples from Latin America and Asia. First, the article discusses Uruguay’s Manual for the application of Decree No. 272/018 on FoP labelling, published on 21 March 2019 by Uruguay’s Ministry of Public Health and concerning black and white octagon labels that state ‘excess in …’, followed by the corresponding nutrient. The article then notes that in the Asian region, India and Sri Lanka were implementing so-called ‘traffic light’ nutrition labelling schemes. Finally, the article assesses the question whether the different measures imposing FoP nutrition labels, including warning messages on food, comply with international trade law. The article concludes that one of the main issues regarding FoP nutrition labelling is the lack of global consistency, despite high-level WHO recommendations and Codex Guidelines. The Codex Alimentarius Commission agreed, in July 2018, to develop guidance on providing simplified FoP nutrition information to consumers so as to enable them to identify healthier food choices, while avoiding unnecessary obstacles to food trade.