FratiniVergano’s latest issue of Trade Perspectives© is published
The first article addresses recently launched EU assessments of the human rights situations in Cambodia and Myanmar, which might lead to the temporary withdrawal of the trade preferences accorded to these two countries on the basis of the EU’s Everything But Arms (hereinafter, EBA) preferential trading scheme, which is part of the EU’s Generalised Scheme of Preferences (GSP). The article first provides some general background information on the EU’s GSP and the EBA scheme. Secondly, the article details the various steps provided by Article 19 of the EU’s GSP Regulation that are to be followed in view of withdrawing the trade preferences. Finally, the article reviews the developments concerning Cambodia and Myanmar, including the competences that the withdrawal would have for their economies. The article concludes that, in view of the need for balanced and non-discriminatory decisions, the EU should ensure that all perspectives be taken into account and that the same standards be applied to all trading partners.
The second article concerns a Draft Decree setting maximum levels of tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) in food, which the Italian Ministry of Health, on 30 October 2018, notified to the European Commission under EU contaminant legislation. THC is a phytocannabinoid naturally occurring in the hemp plant and cannabinoids are the chemicals that give the cannabis plant its medical and recreational properties. THC is the most abundant cannabinoid in marijuana before cannabidiol (hereinafter, CBD). Products, derived from the hemp plant, in particular CBD oils, are increasingly marketed in the EU and elsewhere. The article analyses that EU legislation on restricted substances may be another possible legal basis for the restriction of THC in foods. Finally, the article looks at other ways of addressing THC content in food. On 18 June 2018, Denmark had established indicative guidance levels for THC content in foodstuffs from industrial hemp. The article concludes that the matter of levels for THC in food should be carefully monitored by interested stakeholders, as further national legislation may be adopted by other EU Member States.
The third article addresses the notification to the Commission on 14 November 2018 by Poland’s Ministry for Agriculture and Rural Development of its intention to introduce mandatory country of origin labelling (COOL) for potatoes on the basis of a Draft Regulation of the Minister for Agriculture and Rural Development. The article analyses that Poland’s notification is the most recent example of the continuously increasing number of EU Member States’ measures on COOL for foodstuffs. While the EU already provides COOL requirements for fruits and vegetables in Regulation (EU) No 543/2011, they do not apply to fresh potatoes. Looking at the Polish draft, the article discusses the French Council of State’s still pending preliminary question to the Court of Justice of the EU relating to mandatory COOL for milk and milk used as ingredient of food, where a question is if the assessment of the conditions set out in Article 39 of the FIR presupposes that the qualities of a food are considered to be unique because of their origin or provenance or that the qualities are being guaranteed on the basis of the origin or provenance. Finally, the article assesses the consequences of such COOL measures in view of the EU Single Market.