FratiniVergano’s latest issue of Trade Perspectives© is published
The first article addresses the publication by the European Commission, on 22 November 2019, of its proposal for an agreement on the conformity assessment for industrial goods with the US. The text proposal, which covers most industrial sectors where third-party conformity assessment is required by either party, stems from the agreement between the EU and the US reached in July 2018. The article first provides some background information on the current state of EU-US trade relations and the work of the Executive Working Group. The article then discusses the issue of the envisaged agreement on the conformity assessment for industrial goods and the related negotiating directive. The article review and assesses the draft agreement, also in view of previous negotiations and possible controversial issues. The article concludes that, considering the US Administration’s apparent reluctance to launch actual trade negotiations, it appears uncertain if the EU’s Draft Agreement would indeed be subject to such negotiations
The second article discusses the modifications of EU food law rules for the authorisation process of regulated substances and products, which aim at striking a balance between transparency and the protection of commercial information. The new rules address the transparency of scientific information held by the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) in the framework of the authorisation procedures for genetically modified food and feed, feed additives, smoke flavourings, food contact materials, food additives, enzymes and flavourings, plant protection products, and novel foods. The article first provides some background information on the amended EU rules, notably those affecting the EU’s Regulation laying down the general principles and requirements of food law (the EU Regulation on General Food Law) and assesses the new rules. In particular, the article discusses the issue of the notification of studies commissioned by the applicant, as well as the issue of confidentiality of submitted information. The article concludes that business operators are advised to consider speeding up, or delaying, their application for authorisation, depending on their needs and interests.
The third article addresses the ongoing debate in the EU and the US on the legality of denominations of ‘plant-based’ ‘dairy’ products, such as almond milk, tofu butter, soymilk, oat milk and vegan mozzarella cheese. This article first looks at the current regulatory situation in the EU, where the debate has been mostly settled since the Court of Justice of the EU (CJEU) held that purely plant-based products, such as tofu or soya, cannot, in principle, be marketed with designations such as ‘milk’, ‘cream’, ‘butter’, ‘cheese’ or ‘yoghurt’, which, under Regulation (EU) No 1308/2013 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 17 December 2013 establishing a common organisation of the markets in agricultural products (Single CMO Regulation), are reserved for animal-derived products with few exceptions provided in Commission Decision 2010/791/EU, such as for cocoa butter and almond milk. In the US, after the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has carried out a public consultation, it appears that the current legal framework might soon change, in particular the so-called ‘standards of identity’ for dairy products, defining terms like milk, which are currently barely enforced.