FratiniVergano’s latest issue of Trade Perspectives© is published
The first article addresses the decision of the Council of the EU to adopt the ‘Council Decision on the conclusion of the Free Trade Agreement between the EU and the Republic of Singapore’, as well as the EU’s ‘Report on Implementation of Free Trade Agreements’. The article provides some background on the EU-Singapore FTA, and analyses its benefits. The article then reviews the EU’s ‘Report on Implementation of Free Trade Agreements’, which is an essential part of the Commission’s commitment to monitor and improve the implementation of FTAs. The article notes that the compliance by EU trading partners with the agreed rules contained in FTAs parties and the overall enforcement of trade agreements, has been made a priority for the incoming European Commission. The article concludes that relevant stakeholders in the EU, in Singapore and in all other EU trading partners should take advantage of the agreements in place, support ongoing negotiations and raise issues of implementation that should be addressed by the parties.
The second article addresses regulatory developments regarding cannabidiol (CBD), a substance derived from the hemp plant that is increasingly marketed in the EU and elsewhere. First, the article considers developments in several EU Member States in relation to CBD, notably, Slovakia recently updated the status of CBD from psychotropic to non-psychotropic ingredient, which exempts CBD from certain mandatory requirements for handling, import, and export. Secondly, the article reviews CBD’s current legal status in the US, where the growing and processing of hemp for the development of CBD finished goods was only authorised in 2018. Finally, the article focuses on developments in Asian. For instance, in Thailand, since 27 August 2019, the Government allows hemp to be used in herbal products, food, and cosmetics and products with a THC content not exceeding 0.2% are no longer considered narcotics. The article concludes that regulatory developments aimed at regulating CBD, one of the fastest-growing industries worldwide, are resulting in a piecemeal approach through often diverging national laws and regulations and that regulators around the world should pursue a more harmonised and trade-facilitative approach, while traders and operators must exercise extreme caution and due diligence.
The third article addresses regulatory issues related to cultured meat in the EU and draws a comparison to the situation in the US. In the EU, cultured meat may fall in the category of novel foods, including food consisting of, isolated from or produced from cell culture or tissue culture and would require a pre-market authorisation, which would include a safety assessment performed by the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA). Specific labelling requirements would ensure a high level of health protection and consumer information about specific characteristics or food properties. No application for the authorisation of in vitro meat has been received so far in the context of novel food. The US still needs to set up a regulatory framework regarding cultured meat, but, in March 2019, the roles of US Government agencies have been clarified. The idea of cultured or ‘laboratory-grown’ meat is gaining supporters, who are interested in enjoying a diet that includes meat, but without the linked environmental and animal welfare concerns. The article concludes that interested stakeholders should work with their legal advisors prior to submitting dossiers for the approval of cultured meat to the European Commission or to other competent authorities around the world.