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European Commission Spokesman's Briefing for 99-11-15

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-Parole 15/11/1999b


CONTENTS / CONTENU

  • [01] Imports of hormone free beef from the US : state of play
  • [02] Earthquake in Turkey : Commission is clearing humanitarian aid worth euro 3 million
  • [03] The EU and Macau : beyond 2000

  • [01] Imports of hormone free beef from the US : state of play

    Following problems identified in the US "hormone-free-cattle" programme earlier this year (12% of the consignments of imported US beef tested by the European Union showed residues of hormones), the EU adopted a decision (1999/301/EC) on 30.4.99 to suspend all imports of US beef from 15 June 99 onwards, if improvements were not made. The EU also adopted a Decision (1999/302/EC) on 30.4.1999 which provided for the testing of all consignments of beef from the US for residues of hormones. The US made significant changes and strengthened the "Hormone-Free Cattle" program in June. The EU adopted a Decision (1999/417/EC) which deferred the date of 15 June 1999 to 15 December 1999. The US subsequently suspended the Hormone- Free Cattle program in July as a result of problems identified, and launched a new reinforced program, the "Non-Hormone Treated Cattle"- programme (NHTC) in September 1999. The draft instructions for the accreditation of feedlots/farms and slaughterhouses/ cutting plants in the framework of the NHTC were discussed at an expert meeting between EU and US officials at the end of October in Washington. The Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) of the US certifies meat for export and takes overall responsibility for the NHTC, while the Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS) are responsible for the accreditation of participants in the NHTC. A mission of the EU's Food and Veterinary Office (FVO) to look at the provisions foreseen under the NHTC (accreditation and controls) finished last Friday. The preliminary report from the mission is scheduled to be presented to the Standing Veterinary Committee (SVC) on 23/24 November 1999. The Standing Veterinary Committee will review the situation regarding exports of beef from the US under the NHTC at that meeting. Closely linked to the above is the idea to negotiate compensation to replace the retaliation measures imposed by the US on the EU over the EU's ban on hormone-treated beef. Both sides are open to this idea in a spirit of "trade-creating" instead of "trade-distorting". The current tariff-rate quota for US exports of hormone free beef is 11500 t per year, but in 1998 only 6-7000 t were exported.

    [02] Earthquake in Turkey : Commission is clearing humanitarian aid worth euro 3 million

    The European Commission has launched a procedure to grant a package of humanitarian aid worth euro 3 million for victims of the earthquake that hit the town of Düzce in the Bolu province of Turkey on 12 November 1999. The aid, managed by the European Community Humanitarian Office (ECHO), will enable ECHO NGO partners to provide immediate relief supplies to the area worst hit by the earthquake. The death toll has reportedly risen to 370 with at least two thousand injured and made homeless. The funding will focus on the supply of emergency relief items.

    [03] The EU and Macau : beyond 2000

    The European Commission has adopted a Communication to the Council of Ministers and the European Parliament on the European Union (EU) and Macau. On 20 December 1999 Macau will revert to Chinese sovereignty. The EU, as one of Macau's major international partners, has a key role to play in contributing to a smooth handover and a stable, prosperous development of the territory thereafter. The links that already exist between the EU and Macau make Europe uniquely placed to fulfil this role. The EU and Macau share similar rights, liberties and values. Macau's legal system is rooted in European law and bilateral economic relations are firmly based on open trade and investment. The Communication develops the idea that the key to Macau's future stability lies in the "one country, two systems" concept, on which Macau's autonomy will rest. The Commission proposes to strengthen EU- Macau economic relations, notably by encouraging EU companies to invest in the territory, and to foster cooperation with Macau in order to contribute to reinforce the full implementation of the "one country, two systems" concept. Autonomy and respect for freedom and fundamental rights are inseparable from this concept, and the EU will take a close interest in monitoring its full implementation. The EU believes that it would ultimately be in the best interest of Macau and all of China that the territory's democratic process be constantly improved. The Communication concludes that the existing bilateral EU-Macau trade and cooperation agreement should be continued and expresses suport for the accreditation of a Trade and Economic Office of Macau to the EU.

    MIDDAY EXPRESS


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


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