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Member's EU Customs & Global Trade update - Week 23

This week there is a focus on the EU in Geneva at WTO MC 12, UCC and further liberalisation in Moldova and EU-ESA talks.


  • EU in Geneva at WTO MC 12 - Impressions & Voices

  • EU's Union Customs Code - Interim Evaluation - What's in it?

  • Proposal to free remaining Moldova Trade

  • EU-ESA FTA Talks


EU in Geneva at WTO MC 12 - Impressions & Voices

In the words of Valdis Dombrovskis, Executive Vice-President for an Economy that works for people, also Trade Commissioner:

Why does this week's #MC12 meeting of WTO trade ministers matter?

Because the global community is facing multiple challenges/threats: Russia's aggression against Ukraine, Covid-19, inflation, food insecurity...Clearly, a strong global trade response is needed. Further, Russia’s brutal & unprovoked war is a direct threat to rules-based institutions like WTO. Aggression, blackmail & conflict flourish in the absence of functioning global bodies. Because such bodies provide stability for economic recovery. They uphold the rules. But the rulebook is out of date, based on 1990s reality. Without root-and-branch reform, it cannot hope to be relevant or achieve results. That is why EU is the strongest advocate for meaningful change. We already published a detailed plan 👉EU's WTO Reform Plan.

WTO Reform Plan by EU
Download PDF • 517KB
  • And at #MC12, we are working closely with those who share our concerns.

  • But we urgently need others to match our ambition!

  • We believe a real reform process can be launched this week, with a deadline for delivering concrete outcomes by #MC13.

  • We've been working hard on a multilateral food security package, in the face of an emergency caused by Russia, which is using food & grain as a weapon of war.

  • Nothing is more important than food.

  • WTO must help tackle restrictions to this most precious of commodities.

  • When it comes to tackling the #COVID19 pandemic (+ preparing for future pandemics): we support a Ministerial Declaration on trade & health, including a sensible outcome on the contribution that intellectual property can make.

  • The global trading system must play its part to protect our planet. EU wants a robust deal on sustainability in global fisheries at #MC12. 🐟🎣

  • We also want to see a reform process in agriculture, focused on tackling trade-distorting policies.

  • Finally, in the digital realm we want to extend the #ecommerce moratorium.

  • This is critical for businesses around the globe.



EU's Union Customs Code - Interim Evaluation - What's in it?

The Union Customs Code (UCC) is a key element of the ongoing actions to modernise EU customs. What is the impact for EU and other businesses? The EU has produced its interim assessment in June 2022 on the UCC. But what actually is the UCC? On May 31, 2022, the European Commission released an interim assessment report. It offers an evaluation of the execution of UCC legislative rules and IT systems from May 1, 2016 to the end of December 2020. What is the main conclusion in our mind?

Free Trade Agreements

Proposal to free remaining Moldova Trade

Moldova has had Deep and Comprehensive Free Trade Area (DCFTA) with the EU since 2014. This preferential trade arrangement has eliminated tariffs for Moldova's exports to the EU, save for seven agricultural items. Moldova has superior investment environment and access to EU services markets. Moldova has committed to aligning its laws with EU acquis in several areas. EU now wishes to aid Moldova financially to help them cope with the Russian aggression in Ukraine. News proposed measures encompass plums, table grapes, apples, tomatoes, garlic, cherries, and grape juice, for which Moldovan exports to the EU are not yet completely liberalised. The new draft law law increases for one year the quantity of certain items Moldova may import tariff-free into the EU. Potential tariff-free volumes currently total €55 million, including €10 million in plums and €27 million in table grapes. Additional EU import liberalisation would assist Moldovan manufacturers and exporters overcome market losses from Russia's conflict in Ukraine. Together with improved access to EU road transport (now being discussed), liberalisation could enhance Moldovan exports to and through the EU. The EU Parliament and Council must now approve the plan.

For More Information

Proposed Regulation text

EU-Moldova Association Agreement

EU solidarity with Moldova

Negotiations on road transport liberalisation between Moldova and the EU


The Commission has issued a report on the eighth round of negotiations with five Eastern and Southern African nations to strengthen the current Economic Partnership Agreement. The European Commission has released a report summarising progress achieved during the most recent round of negotiations to strengthen the current Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA) with five countries from Eastern and Southern Africa (ESA5): Comoros, Madagascar, Mauritius, Seychelles, and Zimbabwe.

This round addressed all themes except Trade and Sustainable Development (TSD).

Positive and productive vibes pervaded the conference. Thematic chapter progress varied. Sanitary and Phytosanitary Measures (SPS), Customs and Trade Facilitation (C&TF), Technical Barriers to Trade (TBT), Agriculture (AGRI), and Economic and Development Cooperation (EDC) are at an advanced level. Parties made progress on a C&TF final text. Certain TBT articles made progress. AGRI made little progress. EDC chapter discussions must continue.

Parties achieved a compromise on public procurement (PP). Rules of Origin (RoO) improved, although certain concerns persisted. Text-based talks permitted considerable progress on TiSIL&DT, although not in all areas. First serious talks on Competition (COMP) led to text convergence. Discussions are early on IPR and GI. First-time discussions on Dispute Settlement and Institutional Provisions created a sound foundation for future rounds (see more details below).

Both parties agreed to convene the 9th round of negotiations in September at ESA5.

Sanitary/phytosanitary measures (SPS)

Only technical matters need to be explained in the SPS chapter. They agreed on the article's design, pending ESA5's presentation of a list of essential aspects requiring technical support. The Parties also agreed on the article on a dedicated "Sub-Committee," taking into consideration the corresponding draught text of the chapter on "Institutional Provisions" and any potential amendments once that chapter is completed.






If you have any questions about this update, please let us know.

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