FratiniVergano’s latest issue of Trade Perspectives© is published
On 11 February 2020, the Office of the US Trade Representative (hereinafter, USTR) published its Report on the Appellate Body of the World Trade Organization, which details the US Administration’s fundamental concerns regarding the role and jurisprudence of the World Trade Organization’s (hereinafter, WTO) Appellate Body (hereinafter, AB). Since 10 December 2019, when the terms of two of the three remaining AB members ended, the AB has been effectively impaired and is no longer functioning. For several years and due to certain systemic concerns, the US has been blocking the appointment of new members to the AB. In parallel, on 24 January 2020, the EU and Ministers from 16 further WTO Members announced their agreement to develop a multi-party interim appeal arrangement to operate during the AB’s impairment.
On 27 January 2020, Italy notified to the European Commission (hereinafter, Commission) a draft Decree on the ‘NutrInform Battery’ front-of-pack (hereinafter, FoP) nutrition labelling scheme. Italy recommends to food business operators (hereinafter, FBOs) the use of a form of expression complementary to the nutrition declaration, giving them the freedom to decide whether or not to voluntarily apply the recommended ‘NutrInform Battery’ logo. The Italian model appears to challenge the growing support for the colour-coded ‘Nutri-Score’ scheme, first notified by France and then also recommended by several other EU Member States. The Italian alternative to ‘Nutri-Score’ has been characterised as “counter intuitive” and “confusing” and will certainly add another layer to the already complex debate.
On 20 December 2019, the Italian Authority for Competition and Market Regulation (Autorità Garante per la Concorrenza e il Mercato, hereinafter, AGCM) issued a decision imposing a EUR 1 million fine to the retailer LIDL Italia s.r.l., as a result of an investigation assessing the compliance of the country of origin labelling (hereinafter, COOL) with the relevant legal rules. The ruling confirms a trend in Italy aimed at supporting its domestic agricultural sector and creating a demand for locally sourced and produced foodstuffs. COOL requirements have been introduced in a number of other EU Member States, notably in France, but have important negative implications for the EU Single Market, creating a preference for sourcing products in the respective EU Member States and, therefore, resulting in changes to the supply chains.