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European Commission Spokesman's Briefing for 98-02-20

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

20/02/98


CONTENTS / CONTENU

  • [01] Commission to start formal consultations with Ukraine over Daewoo and second hand car discrimination
  • [02] Commission urges Japan to treat European air carriers fairly by allocating airport slots according to international rules
  • [03] EU consults with Brazil in WTO on import payments restrictions
  • [04] Padraig Flynn strongly endorses codes of conduct to improve working conditions in developing countries
  • [05] Sir Leon Brittan : "Europe ready to share its expertise with Asia on the financial crisis"

  • [01] Commission to start formal consultations with Ukraine over Daewoo and second hand car discrimination

    The European Commission will start formal consultations with Ukraine on discriminatory practices related to the car market in order to trigger the dispute settlement procedure of the Interim Trade Agreement with Ukraine in case talks fail. In September 1997, the Ukrainian government adopted a law granting discriminatory fiscal advantages to the Ukrainian car manufacturer AvtoZAZ, following a major investment by Daewoo. This law will make it virtually impossible for anyone else to sell cars in Ukraine. The Commission considers that this law violates the most-favoured nation rules of the World Trade Organisation and several clauses in the Interim Trade Agreement between the European Union and Ukraine. It also runs counter to Ukraine's stated integration objective in the world economy. Ukraine has one of the lowest rates of foreign investment of the countries in transition. The Commission has raised this issue with Ukraine on eight occasions, starting in July 1997. No action has been taken by Ukraine to remedy the situation.

    [02] Commission urges Japan to treat European air carriers fairly by allocating airport slots according to international rules

    The European Commission has written to the Japanese Ministry of Transport urging Japan to apply non-discriminatory and transparent rules when allocating landing and take-off slots at its airports. The Commission's call comes after the conclusion of aviation talks between Japan and the United States which, the Commission fears, may lead to a further aggravation of the existing imbalance of slots in favour of the US air carriers at the congested Tokyo Narita airport. At present US airlines have five times more slots than European Union (EU) airlines at Narita airport. Under the "use-it-ot-loose-it" rules set by the International Air Transport Association (IATA), which are non-binding but widely applied, any allocated slots that over a period of time are not used should be reallocated according to transparent criteria designed in part to favour new market entrants. Japan has said it intends to apply the IATA rules but as part of a recent US-Japan Open Skies agreement the US and Japan seem to have agreed instead that slots currently under-utilised by the US airline Federal Express will be redistributed, through private deals, to US airlines only.

    [03] EU consults with Brazil in WTO on import payments restrictions

    The European Commission yesterday held consultations in Geneva with Brazil concerning Brazilian measures that restrict payment terms for imports and which appear to infringe World Trade Organisation's (WTO) rules. The measures require an advance non-interest bearing deposit, equal to the purchasing amount, on payment of all imports. This has significantly increased the cost for importers and placed imports at a disadvantage by comparison to domestic products. Several other trading partners are also concerned by the measures. The US, Japan, Australia, Switzerland and Korea joined in yesterday's consultations. The European Union (EU) is now awaiting Brazil's replies to the questions submitted during the consultations and will decide on further steps in the light thereof.

    [04] Padraig Flynn strongly endorses codes of conduct to improve working conditions in developing countries

    Speaking today in Brussels to a EU-US Symposium on Codes of Conduct and International Labour Standards, Employment and Social Affairs Commissioner, Padraig Flynn said : "Many large companies now realise that their customers and workers see them as responsible not only for what happens in their own plants but for what happens in their suppliers' premises too. Their response has been the development of voluntary codes of conduct at company level." He explained that "People - consumers by another name - value these codes. Cynics might argue that businesses only want to use the codes to improve their image and increase sales. I do not hold this view. I believe that the vast majority of companies are sincere about codes of conduct and labour standards. They take a serious risk with the credibility and their reputation when they subscribe to a code of conduct which applies to suppliers in distant countries. People should be aware how difficult it is to guarantee respect for basic labour standards across hundreds of suppliers." Mr Flynn concluded his remarks by stating that "the European Commission attaches great importance to the promotion of core labour standards worldwide. I firmly believe that public support for increased trade liberalisation will be threatened if we fail to address the public's concerns on this important issue. This is why we will support the ILO proposal for a Declaration on workers' fundamental rights and for mechanisms to guarantee those rights. And why, under our Generalised System of Preferences, we propose special benefits to countries that look after their workers' fundamental rights."

    [05] Sir Leon Brittan : "Europe ready to share its expertise with Asia on the financial crisis"

    Speaking in Hong Kong at the Trade Development Council today, Sir Leon Brittan, Vice-President of the European Commission, said that "we are ready and willing to share our expertise with our Asian friends, helping them to learn from the crisis and embark on serious financial reform. This should become a top priority at the Asia-Europe meeting (ASEM) in London in April, and during the follow-up to that Summit. It should also be pursued through specific programmes for individual countries or territories." Sir Leon added that "integrating Europe's banking, insurance and securities into the world's largest and most liberal market has generated the kind of expertise on market opening and prudential supervision that I believe Asia needs right now."

    MIDDAY EXPRESS


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


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