EU to enhance preferential trade with Pan-Euro-Mediterranean (PEM) countries

New Delhi: The European Commission has adopted today a package of proposals that aims to increase trade between the European Union and neighbouring countries in the Pan-Euro-Mediterranean (PEM) region, thereby contributing to the economic recovery following the coronavirus outbreak. Today’s proposals will modernise the EU’s preferential trade agreements with 20 PEM trading partners by making the relevant ‘rules of origin’ in those agreements more flexible and business-friendly.

These proposals amend the EU’s bilateral agreements with the following countries: Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway, Switzerland, Faroe Islands, Turkey, Egypt, Israel, Jordan, Lebanon, Palestine[1], Georgia, the Republic of Moldova, Ukraine, Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, North Macedonia, Montenegro, Serbia and Kosovo.

Paolo Gentiloni, Commissioner for Economy, said: “We need to do everything we can to facilitate trade and economic activity between the EU and our neighbours in the Euro-Mediterranean area, and to promote regional integration. This will also help countries like Lebanon recover and rebuild, while at the same time supporting European businesses in accessing new markets.”

‘Rules of origin’ are necessary under any trade agreement because they determine which goods can benefit from preferential treatment. The ‘origin’ is the ‘economic nationality’ of the goods traded. Origin procedures ensure that customs authorities can verify the origin of a good and allow businesses to prove the origin of their goods. When all the necessary requirements are met, goods with preferential origin are eligible to be imported with lower duty rates, or even a zero rate, depending on the preferential tariff treatment.

Today’s new rules, which are the result of ten years of negotiations, will apply alongside those of the Regional Convention on pan-Euro-Mediterranean preferential rules of origin (PEM Convention), pending the review of the Convention, which is currently under way.

 

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