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The EU calls on trading partners to honour their commitment to remove protectionist trade barriers

Monday, November 1st, 2010

A new report published today by the European Commission shows that more than 330 trade restrictive measures have been taken by the European Union’s major trade partners since the outbreak of the financial and economic crisis in 2008. Despite the economic recovery and contrary to the G20 commitment, a mere ten percent of those measures have been removed in the meantime. Ahead of the G20 summit in Seoul, the European Commission calls on its trading partners to remove the remaining restrictions in order not to undermine the recovery.

EU Trade Commissioner Karel De Gucht said: “With the economic recovery still fragile, the world’s major economies must remove the trade restrictive measures that put a break on growth. For the world economy to move forward, we have to roll back these barriers. The G20 summit in Seoul needs to demonstrate leadership in this respect.”

The latest report is the seventh in a series of reports which the European Commission has been issuing on trade restrictive measures adopted by major trade partners since the beginning of the economic crisis in 2008. The monitoring mechanism has been an important tool to ensure vigilance during the crisis and prevent an escalation of trade protectionism.

Source: http://www.clepa.be/index.php?id=news&no_cache=1

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Six-wheeled electric car boasts laser and battery power that lasts a year

Friday, October 29th, 2010

A remote-controlled, six-wheeled, car-sized electric vehicle currently being built by NASA for a forthcoming mission to Mars challenges the perception that battery-powered vehicles suffer from low-specification, poor range and performance.

As large as a Mini car, the latest Mars Rover has been named Curiosity; its mission is to explore and examine one particualr area of the planet’s surface for environmental conditions favourable for preserving evidence of life, if it existed.

Source: http://www.eta.co.uk/2010/10/27/six-wheeled-electric-car-boasts-laser-and-battery-power-lasts-year

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EU eyes closer trade ties with Japan

Saturday, October 23rd, 2010

Japan - The European Commission is looking at removing trade barriers with Japan after signing a milestone free trade agreement with South Korea earlier this month, according to a draft EU trade strategy seen by EurActiv, scheduled to be published next week.

“Japan is no longer perceived in Europe as an economic threat, but as an opportunity,” reads the document, which Trade Commissioner Karel De Gucht will present next week when he outlines the EU’s trade priorities for the years to come.

This represents a drastic about-turn from the long-standing approach held by the EU, dominated by many trade disputes with Tokyo.

“Japan continues to be a country where, for specific structural features of the Japanese society and economy, doing business or investing is often particularly difficult. Like with the USA, a potential for trade disputes has existed in the past,” underlines the Commission’s official webpage dedicated to relations with Tokyo.

The new trade strategy takes the opposite view. The document does not go as far as mentioning the idea of negotiating a free trade deal with Japan, which many EU countries would oppose, but clearly states that the Commission “will seek to deepen our trade and investment relations with the Far East”.

To many observers, this seems a logical consequence of the free trade deal (FTA) signed with South Korea, which is a direct competitor of Japan in exporting to the EU. Such a deal with Seoul is clearly damaging Tokyo, and Europe cannot afford to worsen relations with its Asian partner on a number of crucial global issues.

Although clearly opening to Japan, the Commission paper recalls that “regulatory obstacles to trade in goods, services and investment remain high and are perceived as being as insurmountable as ever”. Therefore, it links further steps to “Japan’s capacity to demonstrate that these barriers can be removed”.

Source:http://www.clepa.be/index.php?id=news&no_cache=1

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Heavy lorries to pay for costs of air and noise pollution

Saturday, October 23rd, 2010

EU Ministers have today voted in favour of new EU rules to allow Member States to charge heavy lorries, not only for the costs of the infrastructure which is currently the case, but also to levy an additional charge to cover the cost of air and noise pollution. The proposal to revise the current “Eurovignette Directive” will enable Member States to better manage problems of congestion, with a new flexibility to differentiate the charges applied to heavy lorries at different periods of the day.

Siim Kallas, Vice-President of the European Commission responsible for Transport, said “This is an important step in the right direction. It is part of a much broader drive to create a “fair financial” framework for transport where prices for the different transport modes reflect the real costs to society and the taxpayer. These new rules send the right signals to operators. The aim is to incentivise a shift in behaviour so companies invest in more efficient logistics, less polluting vehicles and more sustainable transport at large.”

Source:http://www.clepa.be/index.php?id=news&no_cache=1

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Member states strike deal on ‘green’ toll for lorries

Saturday, October 23rd, 2010

European transport ministers have reached an agreement on a new set of rules that will enable member states to charge heavy lorries an additional “green” tariff according to the air and noise pollution they create.

Discussions on the so-called “polluter pays” system have been rumbling on for the past two years, with road haulage groups strongly opposed to the measure.

“These new rules send the right signals to operators,” said EU transport commissioner Siim Kallas in a statement on 15 October.

“The aim is to incentivise a shift in behaviour so companies invest in more efficient logistics, less polluting vehicles and more sustainable transport at large.”

In its current form, the EU’s 1999 “Eurovignette” directive enables national governments to charge heavy lorries on roughly half of Europe’s 30,000 km of motorways.

Tolls are either time- or distance-based, and are designed to offset infrastructure costs.

If the European Parliament gives its approval to Friday’s deal, governments will then be able to charge the additional “green” tariff targeting pollution, if they wish.

Agreement on the compromise text proposed by the Belgian EU presidency is a significant diplomatic coup for the country’s caretaker government.

The deal will also allow member states to vary the tolls according to congestion levels, charging more at peak periods provided that lower tariffs are applied during off-peak periods.

Source:http://www.clepa.be/index.php?id=news&no_cache=1

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