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European Commission Spokesman's Briefing for 97-02-04

Midday Express: News from the EU Commission Spokesman's Briefings Directory - Previous Article - Next Article

From: EUROPA, the European Commission Server at <http://europa.eu.int>

MIDDAY EXPRESS

News from the Spokesman's midday briefing

Nouvelles du rendez-vous de midi du Porte-Paroleb

04/02/97


CONTENTS / CONTENU

  • [01] Commission proposes exceptional financial assistance to Armenia, Georgia and Tajikistan
  • [02] President Constantinescu visits the Commission
  • [03] EU and Japan agree outcome on liquor tax dispute

  • [01] Commission proposes exceptional financial assistance to Armenia, Georgia and Tajikistan

    The European Commission has proposed making available to Armenia, Georgia and, if appropriate, Tajikistan exceptional financial assistance of up to ECU 220 million, in the form of long-term loans of ECU 170 million combined with straight grants of ECU 50 million. This exceptional assistance is justified by the particularly harsh conditions presently faced by these countries and has been proposed with a view to supporting the strong adjustment and reform programmes that these countries are implementing, and alleviating the important social cost that these programmes involve.

    [02] President Constantinescu visits the Commission

    Professor Emil Constantinescu, the newly elected President of Romania, met President Jacques Santer, Commissioners Hans van den Broek and Yves- Thibault de Silguy yesterday afternoon. They discussed the political and economic challenges facing Romania in its preparations for accession to the European Union. President Constantinescu outlined the programme of reforms being developed by the new government and the presidency to consolidate democracy and fully liberalise the economy together with particular action to fight corruption. The European Commission gave its warm welcome to the new programme and willingness to mobilise its various instruments in support of the reform measures foreseen.

    [03] EU and Japan agree outcome on liquor tax dispute

    European producers of whisky, brandy, gin, vodka and other spirits will enjoy lower tax when selling to Japan following the settlement of a long- running dispute on Japanese liquor tax. Intensive discussions between the European Union and Japan have led to an agreement under which tax on imports into Japan will be reduced and brought closer to tax levels on local spirits. For brown spirits such as whisky and cognac, the tax is currently 600% higher than for local products. This gap will be narrowed to just 3%. This will be achieved through a combination of a large tax decrease on brown spirits and a smaller increase on tax on the local product, Shochu. For white spirits like vodka and gin, currently taxed 250% higher than local products, tax discrimination will completely disappear, with both being taxed equally in future. The tax changes will come in two stages - on 1 October 1997 and then a year later.

    MIDDAY EXPRESS


    From EUROPA, the European Commission Server at http://europa.eu.int/
    © ECSC - EC - EAEC, Brussels-Luxembourg, 1995, 1996


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