2002 National Trade Estimate Report  on  Foreign Trade Barriers

Issued by USTR April 6, 2002 

 

From the chapter on the European Union

STANDARDS, TESTING, LABELING AND CERTIFICATION

EU Member States still maintain widely differing standards, testing, and certification procedures for some products. These differences may serve as barriers to the free movement of products within the EU, and can cause lengthy delays in sales by U.S. exporters due to the need to have products tested and certified to meet differing national requirements. Nonetheless, the advent of the EU’s “new approach,” which streamlines technical harmonization and the development of standards for certain product groups, based on “essential” requirements, continues the general movement toward the harmonization of laws, regulations, standards, testing, and certification procedures within the EU. The United States has concerns that the European standardization and regulatory development processes lack adequate transparency and remain generally closed to U.S. stakeholders’ direct participation at critical points in the regulatory development process. Standards-related and regulatory-based issues represent a growing element of U.S.-EU trade relations.

Standardization

The U.S. Government anticipates that EU legislation covering regulated products will eventually be applicable to half of all U.S. exports to Europe. Given the large volume of U.S.-EU trade, EU legislation and standardization work in regulated market segments is of considerable importance. Although there has been some progress with respect to the EU’s implementation of legislation, a number of problems related to this evolving EU-wide legislative environment have caused concerns to U.S. exporters. These include lags in the development of EU standards; delays in the drafting of harmonized legislation for regulated areas; inconsistent application and interpretation by EU Member States of the legislation that is in place; overlap and inconsistencies among Directives dealing with specific product areas; grey areas between the scope of various Directives; and a frequent tendency to rely on design-based, rather than performance-based, standards. Such problems can impede U.S. exports to the EU. In addition, there are some problems related to the respective procedures, responsibilities (e.g., accountability, redress) and transparency in both the Commission and the European standards bodies that require careful monitoring and more frequent advocacy efforts.

Mutual Recognition Agreements

The EU is implementing a harmonized approach to testing and certification as well as providing for the mutual recognition within the EU of laboratories designated by Member States to test and certify a substantial number of regulated products. The EU encourages mutual recognition agreements between private sector parties for the testing and certification of non-regulated products. One difficulty for U.S. exporters is that only “notified bodies” located in Europe are empowered to grant final product approvals of regulated products. While there are some laboratories in the United States that can test regulated products under subcontract to a notified body, the limited number of such laboratories means that these subcontracting procedures are unlikely to be sufficient for U.S. exporters. Moreover, subcontracting laboratories cannot issue the final product approval but must send test reports to their European affiliate for final review and approval, which delays the process and adds costs for U.S. exporters.

The United States and the EU negotiated a Mutual Recognition Agreement (MRA) covering the following sectors: telecommunications equipment, electromagnetic compatibility (EMC), medical devices, pharmaceuticals, electrical safety, and recreational craft. The U.S.-EU MRA is intended to facilitate trade in these sectors, while maintaining our current high levels of health, safety and environmental protection. The MRA, which entered into force in December 1998, permits U.S. exporters to test and certify their products in the United States to the requirements of the EU, and vice versa. The recreational craft annex entered the operational phase in June 2000, and the telecommunications and EMC annexes became operational in January 2001. In late 2001, both sides agreed to extend the transition periods of the medical device and pharmaceutical annexes. In June 2001, under the Transatlantic Economic Partnership (TEP), the United States and the EU initialed a separate MRA on marine equipment, which is planned to enter into force in mid-2002. In an effort to promote more effective cooperation between U.S. and European regulators, the United States and the European Commission reached agreement, in early 2002, on TEP Guidelines for Regulatory Cooperation and Transparency.

Protocols to the Europe Agreement on Conformity Assessment (PECAs)

In 2001, the European Union concluded Protocols

to the Europe Agreement on Conformity

Assessment and Acceptance of Industrial

Products (PECAs) with Hungary and the Czech

Republic. The EU is currently negotiating similar

agreements with a number of other countries

seeking EU membership. PECAs eliminate the

need for further product testing and certification of

EU-origin products covered by the agreements.

Products originating in countries not party to the

PECAs, even if the products have been tested and

certified to EU requirements, may not benefit from

these agreements. During 2001, the United States

raised concerns, both bilaterally and in the WTO,

that the rule of origin provision in these

agreements unjustifiably discriminates against non-EU

origin products and is inconsistent with WTO

obligations. The European Commission initiated

steps in late 2001 to drop the problematic origin

provision from existing and future agreements.

The U.S. Government will continue to monitor the

amendment and implementation of PECAs.

Biotechnology

The breakdown in the EU’s approval process for

products made from modern biotechnology has

hindered U.S. exports of corn and threatens trade

in soya. Food processors and exporters are either

reformulating or seeking non-biotech sources, and

the prospect of new mandatory traceability and

labeling requirements is causing enormous

uncertainty in the feed and seed sectors.

Problems exist for both approved products and

products currently undergoing the approval

process. Biotechnology continues to be more of a

political than a scientific issue in Europe and

prospects for improvement remain dim. Few EU

Member States are willing to support a resumption

of product approvals under current rules.

With some minor exceptions, no biotechnology

products have been approved since 1998. Several

products have been under review for more than

six years, as compared with an average 6-9 month

process in Canada, Japan, and the United States.

U.S. exports of corn to Spain, Portugal and Italy,

the most significant EU importers, have stopped.

Austria, Luxembourg and Italy have imposed

marketing bans on some biotechnology products

despite existing EU approvals. The European

Commission has not taken steps to overturn the

bans, despite the fact that the EU’s Scientific

Committee has found no justification for the bans.

Portugal and Germany have suspended approvals

for planting certain biotechnology products.

Revisions to Directive 90/220 (newly revised as

Directive 01/18) governing approval of

biotechnology products, including seeds and grains,

for environmental release and commercialization

will be implemented in October 2002. Directive

01/18 is expected to be the “basis” for revision of

“Novel Food” (processed food) legislation and

new legislation covering feeds and seeds.

Although Directive 01/18 provides some needed

clarity and sets time limits for various steps in the

approval process, it is vague regarding specific

rules for biotech imports.

In July 2001, the European Commission submitted

for approval by the Council of Ministers and the

European Parliament two proposals for new rules

governing traceability and labeling and

biotechnology food and feed authorizations. The

proposals include mandatory traceability and

labeling requirements for all biotechnology

products that would be onerous and expensive for

producers and foreign suppliers to meet. It could

take more than two years to complete the co-decision

process that would lead to final approval

of these new Regulations. Some Member States

have linked their willingness to restart product

approvals to the entry into force of these new

rules. Others have indicated that environmental

liability legislation needs to be in place before the

approvals process could resume.

Austria: Austria has imposed a marketing ban on

some biotechnology products despite existing EU

approvals. However, the European Commission

has not initiated the necessary steps to overturn

the bans even though the EU’s Scientific

Committee has ruled there is no justification for

the ban. Austria will be introducing a regulation in

2002 under which unapproved biotechnology

events must not be detected in conventional seeds

(“zero tolerance”), but EU-approved events may

be present in conventional and organic seeds up to

0.1 percent. This will make Austria’s regulations

even more restrictive than other EU members’.

Germany: Germany's nominally independent

Federal Variety Office in June 2001 postponed

“for further study of legal issues” an impending

approval of what would have been Germany’s first

biotechnology products available for commercial

cultivation. In January 2001, Germany indefinitely

postponed the “Chancellor’s Initiative,” a

discussion between industry and government on

biotechnology policy. Citing the bovine spongiform

encephalopathy (BSE - mad cow disease) crisis,

the government said that consumer insecurity was

too high and the timing was inopportune to address

a topic as controversial as this. No significant

changes in the German government’s approach to

biotechnology are expected before federal

elections are held in September 2002.

Greece: Recently, Greece has not been

responsive to applications to introduce

bioengineered seeds for field tests, despite support

for such tests by Greek farmers and Greece’s

agricultural science community.

Italy: Italy announced in October 2001 that it

would no longer block consideration of EU market

access for new biotechnology products. However,

Italy has not pressed the EU to restart the

biotechnology product approvals process despite

the Italian policy shift. Domestically, Italy has

failed to rescind its ban on four biotechnology corn

varieties (BT11, MON 810, MON 809 and T25)

enacted by the previous government. On

December 28, 2001, the Agriculture Minister,

alleging that Italian policy calls for a non-biotech

food chain, issued a decree calling for a study of

seeds available on the international market that

could be guaranteed biotech-free.

Ban on Beef from Cattle Treated with Growth

Promoting Hormones

For more than ten years, the EU has banned

imports of beef from cattle raised with hormonal

growth promoters. The United States launched a

formal WTO dispute settlement procedure in May

1996 challenging the EU ban. The WTO ruled

that the EU's ban is inconsistent with the WTO

Agreement on Sanitary and Phytosanitary (SPS)

measures because it is imposed without evidence

of health risks, and in 1999 the WTO authorized

the United States to impose sanctions on EU

products with an annual trade value of $116.8

million.

During 2001, the United States and the EU

intensified negotiations on a possible temporary

settlement in this dispute. Negotiations are

focused on a possible lifting or phasing out of U.S.

retaliatory tariffs in exchange for increased access

to the EU market for U.S. non-hormone beef.

Discussions are scheduled to continue in 2002.

Although the EU recently published a number of

new studies that analyzed the use of hormones in

beef production, none of these studies presented

any new evidence to support the EU’s hormone

ban.

Poultry Regulations

The EU continues to prohibit the use of

antimicrobial treatments in poultry production to

prevent transmission of bacteria such as

salmonella. As a result, U.S. poultry exports to

the EU have been blocked since April 1, 1997. In

October 1998, the EU published a study on

antimicrobial treatments, which recommends that

antimicrobial treatment could be used as part of an

overall strategy for pathogen control throughout

the production chain. Although some forms of

treatment such as tri-sodium phosphate (TSP) and

lactic acid were deemed more acceptable, the use

of chlorinated water was rejected by the study.

Chlorination is the primary means employed in the

United States to meet strict U.S. standards

designed to ensure the safety of poultry products

from microbial contamination. Recent audits by

the Commission have shown that Member States

are not complying with the EU ban on the

domestic use of chlorinated water. In 2001, the

U.S. continued to seek approvals for the use of

anti-microbial treatments, other than chlorine, that

could restore trade in poultry and ensure that

existing markets for U.S. poultry exports in EU

accession candidates are not lost as these

countries complete the process of EU accession.

Transmissible Spongiform Encephalopathies

(TSE) Regulations

In July 1997, the European Commission adopted

Commission Decision 97/534/EC, commonly

known as the Specified Risk Materials (SRM)

ban. The goal of the ban was to avoid health risks

related to transmissible spongiform

encephalopathies (TSEs), such as bovine

spongiform encephalopathy (BSE), which is linked

to a new variant of Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease in

humans. The ban prohibited the use of SRMs

(defined as the skull, tonsils, ileum and spinal cord

of cattle, sheep and goats aged more than one

year, and spleens of sheep and goats) in any

products sold in the EU.

The original date of implementation was July 1,

1998, but this was delayed several times due to

controversy over product coverage. In addition to

food and feed, the ban as originally proposed

would have significantly adversely affected the

production of pharmaceuticals, cosmetics, medical

devices and fertilizers. In September 1999, the

EU implemented specific regulations for SRMs on

medical products for human use (Directive

99/820/EC). It also provided guidelines on how

companies could comply with this Directive. Thus

far, it appears U.S. companies have successfully

been able to comply with it.

In June 2000, Commission Decision 2000/418/EC

was adopted, which repealed Commission

Decision 97/534/EC, but set new requirements for

handling SRMs. This new measure limited the

scope of the ban to food, feed and fertilizer and

required slaughterhouses and authorized meat

cutting and processing plants in all EU Member

States to remove the SRMs mentioned above,

regardless of whether BSE exists in each country.

The measure became effective October 1, 2000

for all EU Member States.

Initially the ban did not apply to third countries.

However in March 2001, the EU published the

results of their geographical BSE risk (GBR)

assessment of third countries exporting food, feed

or fertilizer products to the EU. The EU classifies

the United States as provisionally recognized as

“unlikely, but cannot be excluded (GBR-2).”

In late May 2001, the European Commission

adopted Regulation 999/2001, which is eventually

intended to supersede all existing TSE legislation,

including 2000/418. Among other things, it

establishes criteria to classify the BSE status of

Member States and third countries into one of five

classification categories. Certain requirements,

including removal of SRMs, would then be applied

to a country depending on the classification. In the

interim, as a result of transitional measures which

were passed in July 2001 (Regulation 1326/2001),

only countries recognized as provisionally BSE-free

are exempt from the requirement to remove

SRMs in order to export to the EU. The EU

currently only recognizes New Zealand, Australia,

Norway, Chile, Argentina, Paraguay, Nicaragua,

Botswana, Namibia and Swaziland as provisionally

BSE-free.

As a country that is not in the EU’s provisional

BSE-free category, the United States is required

to remove SRMs and Mechanically Recovered

Meat (MRM) from animal products exported to

the EU. The United States fully expects to be

placed in a low risk category for BSE once the

EU’s new categorization is completed in July

2002. If the United States is re-categorized as low

risk, it would not be required to remove SRMs

and MRM when Regulation 999/2001 is

definitively implemented. USDA has submitted

information to the EU as requested under

Regulation 999/2001 for evaluation and country

classification. However, in the meantime, even

the interim requirement related to the removal of

SRMs is extremely disruptive for the U.S.

industry.

Animal By-Products Legislation

The European Commission has proposed

legislation that would require that animal by-products

not intended for human consumption,

including blood products, hides and pet food, be

derived from the carcasses of animals deemed fit

for human consumption. The United States is

concerned that the proposal as currently written is

overly restrictive and could negatively affect U.S.

exports of animal by-products not intended for

human consumption to the European Union, which

were valued at $525 million in 2000.

In July 2001, the EU Agricultural Council adopted

a common position on a proposal articulating health

rules concerning animal by-products not intended

for human consumption. The proposed legislation

was initially developed in response to the BSE

crisis but has been broadened to address several

additional animal and public health issues. If

passed, the Animal Waste Directive will replace

Directive 90/667/EEC on the disposal and

processing of animal waste and amend Directive

90/425/EEC. The Animal Waste Directive has to

go through a second reading by the European

Parliament, expected to take place in March 2002,

and will take effect six months after adoption.

As currently written, the proposal would: (1)

prohibit the use of any rendered protein obtained

from animal carcasses that were unfit for human

consumption as an animal feed ingredient or for

pet food; (2) ban the use of catering waste and

yellow grease from being used as an animal feed

ingredient or for pet food; and (3) create a

burdensome certification and list requirement. In

addition, it would prohibit feeding an animal protein

derived from the same species.

Gelatin Regulation

In October 1999, the EU adopted a Directive that

established requirements, effective June 1, 2000,

for manufacturing facilities producing gelatin for

human consumption. Under the directive,

manufacturing facilities are required to meet

certain procedures for authorization and

registration, inspection and hygiene, as well as

control measures. Also covered are the raw

materials permitted and the treatments they must

undergo before being used in the manufacture of

gelatin. The United States has raised concerns

with the European Commission that some

provisions of the Directive are overly restrictive,

effectively halting all U.S. exports of gelatin in

June 2000. The U.S. and the EU are near

agreement on a health certificate that will allow

U.S. exports of gelatin to resume.

Cosmetics and Animal Testing

The EU has proposed several amendments to

Council Directive 76/768/EEC governing the

manufacture and sale of cosmetic products in the

European Union. Some of these amendments are

of concern to the U. S. government, including a

proposed ban on the sale in the EU of cosmetics

tested on animals where OECD-approved

alternatives to animal testing exist. This ban,

supported by a majority of EU Member States in

November 2001, would conflict with FDA rules

requiring animal testing of certain cosmetics (e.g.,

anti-dandruff shampoos, sunscreens, fluoride

toothpaste) classified in the United States as over-the-

counter (OTC) drugs in order to substantiate

product safety. The U.S. Government has

expressed concern that entry into force of the ban

could restrict transatlantic trade as certain U.S.

products tested on animals could be prohibited

from sale in the EU, while EU products not tested

on animals could be prohibited for sale in the U.S.

The proposed amendments to the EU's Cosmetics

Directive will be submitted to the European

Parliament in early 2002 for a “second reading.”

Chemicals

The European Commission is planning a massive

overhaul of existing EU policy for chemicals

regulation. In its February 2001 White Paper on a

“Strategy for a Future Chemicals Policy,” the

Commission proposed a new, EU-wide system for

assessing the risks of existing and new chemical

substances called REACH (Registration,

Evaluation, and Authorization of Chemicals).

Under this new system, chemical companies and

downstream users would be responsible for testing

chemicals, carrying out risk assessments, and

making this information available to a central

database run by the European Chemicals Bureau.

While the United States fully supports the EU’s

objectives to protect human health and the

environment, there are concerns that the new

policy could have significant adverse trade

implications for U.S. products. The EU’s White

Paper outlines what appears to be a costly,

burdensome, and complex regulatory system,

which could prove unworkable in its

implementation. U.S. industry has warned that the

system could present obstacles to trade and

innovation, possibly distorting global markets for

thousands of products. Industry concerns have

also focused on possible bans for some chemicals

based on the EU’s “precautionary principle.” The

U.S. chemical industry estimates that the new

policy could cost $8 billion for testing and

evaluation of chemicals.

The Commission is currently drafting formal

legislative proposals which are targeted for

completion by Summer 2002. The U.S.

Government is working cooperatively with the

Commission to ensure full transparency and that

the views of trading partners and their

stakeholders are taken into account.

Waste Management

In June 2000, the European Commission issued

proposals for a Directive focusing on the “take

back” and recycling of discarded equipment

(known as Waste from Electrical and Electronic

Equipment or “WEEE”); and a second Directive

addressing restrictions on the use of certain

substances in electrical and electronic equipment,

such as lead, mercury, cadmium, and certain flame

retardants (known as Restrictions on the Use of

Hazardous Substances or “RoHS”). The EU

Council of Ministers reached a "common position"

on both proposals in December 2001. The

European Parliament is expected to complete its

second reading of the proposals in the first part of

2002.

The United States supports the drafts’ objectives

to reduce waste and the environmental impact of

discarded products. However, the United States

has expressed concerns that the proposals lacked

transparency in their development and would

adversely affect trade in products where viable

alternatives may not exist. The proposals would,

in part, ban certain materials and impose

comprehensive collection and recycling

requirements for end-of-life equipment on a

retroactive basis. Responding to concerns about

the basis for the substance bans, the Commission

has pledged to conduct risk assessments before

2004.

On a related issue, the Commission continues to

work on a proposal for a Directive on Batteries

that would, in part, ban the sale of nickel-cadmium

batteries and products powered by such batteries.

The U.S. Government has urged the Commission

to seriously consider the battery industry’s draft

voluntary agreement for comprehensive collection

and recycling of batteries as an alternative to a

ban. The United States continues to closely

monitor these proposals as they proceed through

the EU legislative process to ensure that they will

not unreasonably restrict trade.

Belgium: In June 1999, the Belgian government

submitted to the European Commission a plan to

implement the EU’s 1991 Battery Directive. The

Belgian plan includes a ban on most cadmium-containing

batteries, effective in 2008. The plan

was reviewed by several statutory committees

(the Federal Council for Sustainable Development,

the Central Council for Economic Policy, the High

Council for Public Health, and the Council for

Consumer Affairs) during the second half of 1999.

Work on the drafting of implementing regulations

has been suspended pending the completion of a

preliminary risk assessment on the production,

uses and recycling of nickel-cadmium batteries.

Denmark: The Danish Environment and Energy

Minister in November 2000 signed an Executive

Order which as of December 1, 2000 banned the

import and marketing (but not export) of certain

products containing lead over the next four years.

The ban is at odds with the EU Scientific

Committee on Toxicity, Ecotoxicity and the

Environment (CSTEE) report on lead that

concluded that there are no scientific grounds for

the Danish ban. Products for which viable

alternatives do not exist, for example car batteries,

are not affected by the ban.

Electrical and Electronic Equipment (EEE)

The European Commission is developing a draft

Directive that would comprehensively regulate the

product design of electrical and electronic

equipment with the objective of minimizing harmful

effects on the environment. It would be issued as

a “new approach” Directive, outlining so-called

essential requirements that could be met through

harmonized European standards. Unofficial

versions of the draft text have been shared

selectively in Brussels and a formal proposal is

expected in 2002. U.S. industry is concerned that

the draft has the potential to interfere with design

flexibility, delay new product development and

introduction, and impose extensive administrative

burdens. Industry is further concerned that the

European standards and regulatory development

processes are not sufficiently transparent and open

to non-EU stakeholder input.

Acceleration of the Phase-outs of Ozone-depleting

Substances and Greenhouse Gases

In June 2000, the EU adopted Regulation

2037/2000, a new Regulation for phasing-out all

ozone depleting substances in the EU. The

timetable in the directive is faster than that agreed

under the Montreal Protocol. The U.S.

Government actively opposed early drafts which

proposed phase-outs of HCFCs by 2001 without

yielding appreciable environmental benefits. The

existing Regulation requires the air conditioning

industry to phase out its use of HCFCs by 2001

while most other HCFC uses may continue until

2004. Small (100 kW) fixed air conditioners and

heat pump units have been exempted from the

initial phase-out.

The European Commission introduced its Climate

Change Program in 2001 and is expected to issue

approximately 10 new directives in order to

implement the program. The U.S. business

community will monitor Commission activity

closely and carefully examine new directives for

the impacts on business.

Austria: The government is planning to introduce

a ban of hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs) in 2006.

However, emission reduction regulations on

products containing HFCs would take effect as

early as 2002. The ban appears to exempt

production of HFCs for the export market. The

draft legislation would also ban certain uses of

perflurocarbons (PFCs) and sulphur hexafluoride

(SF6), beginning as early as 2003. The United

States hopes that the Austrian government will

consider alternate policy responses.

Denmark: In September 2001, the Danish

government sent to the Danish Parliament’s

Committee for the Environment and Health for

debate a revised draft of a statutory order banning

the use of HFCs, PFCs and SF6 in products

imported and marketed in Denmark. In the draft

order, all three gasses would be phased out by

2006, with the exception of refrigeration units

containing less than 25kg of HFC, HFCs in serum

coolers, mobile refrigeration units (including

cooling and freezing units in containers, trucks,

trains and agricultural machinery), laboratory

equipment, medical dose inhalers, insulating gas in

electrical equipment and thermostats. Danish

exports would not be affected. Due to the

November 2001 general elections, the draft

statutory order has not yet been debated. The

new government will be reviewing the proposed

statutory order. In response to the proposed

statutory order, the United States government

registered concern with the Danish government

and the European Commission arguing that the ban

would have relatively few environmental benefits

due to the energy efficiency losses associated with

using alternative hydrocarbons in refrigeration.

U.S. industry also has underscored the potential

safety concerns related to use of volatile

hydrocarbons. The United States hopes that the

new Danish government will reconsider the

proposed ban on HFCs, PFCs and SF6.

Sweden/Finland: Effective May 1999, Sweden

imposed a unilateral ban on the use of HCFCs

used in refrigerator foam insulation, which

effectively prevents U.S. manufacturers from

shipping U.S.-made refrigerators and freezers to

Sweden in the near term. Finland established a

similar HCFC ban effective January 1, 2000. As

these bans on HCFCs used in foam insulation are

in advance of the EU-wide phase-out date of

January 2003, the United States has raised

concerns with the Swedish and Finnish

governments , as well as with the European

Commission, regarding the possible inconsistency

of the unilateral ban with EU internal market

provisions.

Triple Superphosphate Fertilizer

EU legislation (EC Directive 76/116) requires

Triple Superphosphate (TSP) – a phosphate-based

fertilizer used to enhance soil fertility and to

increase crop yields – to meet a standard of 93

percent water solubility in order to be marketed as

“EC-Type” fertilizer. Scientific studies done to

date on typical crops cultivated in Europe show

that water solubility rates of 90 percent or higher

are not necessary to gain the agronomic benefits

associated with adding TSP to the soil. While in

theory, TSP of any origin can be imported and sold

in the EU, the inability to market TSP with less

than 93 percent water solubility as “EC-Type”

restricts its marketability, depresses its price, and

has the effect of unfairly discriminating against

countries that cannot meet the 93 percent water

solubility requirement. EU imports of “non-EC-Type”

TSP have been virtually eliminated. The

U.S. fertilizer industry, which accounts for 20

percent of total world TSP exports, has been

working with the European Commission and

European industry to amend the water solubility

requirements to reflect current scientific and

agronomic studies. The United States continues to

seek from the European Commission a justification

for the 93 percent standard in light of scientific

evidence and trade rules.

Hushkitted or New Engine Modified and

Recertificated Aircraft

EU Council Regulation 925/99 (the “hushkits”

Regulation) took effect in May 2000. This

legislation, which was allegedly aimed at reducing

noise around airports, is in effect a trade barrier,

and has little impact on noise. It disproportionately

impacts U.S. manufacturers and airlines by limiting

the registration and use within the EU of certain

aircraft modified to meet the International Civil

Aviation Organization’s (ICAO) most stringent

noise certification standards, i.e., aircraft equipped

with “hushkit” noise reduction devices and those

“re-engined” with engines of a certain design, all

of which are of U.S. design and manufacture.

The United States has repeatedly urged the

European Commission to revoke the hushkits

Regulation as both discriminatory and inconsistent

with the EU’s international obligations, and to

work within ICAO on a new multilaterally agreed

noise standard. On March 14, 2000, the United

States brought the matter before ICAO pursuant

to dispute resolution proceedings under Article 84

of the 1944 Convention on International Civil

Aviation (Chicago Convention). Proceedings

were suspended for settlement discussions.

In June 2001, the ICAO Council adopted a new

aircraft noise standard, and in October, the 33rd

ICAO General Assembly unanimously approved a

Resolution on a “balanced approach” for aircraft

noise management. The ICAO Assembly

Resolution gives ICAO Member States the ability

to effectively address aircraft noise problems

where they occur – at individual airports – in a

deliberative, transparent, and measured process

while providing a degree of stability to the aviation

industry. This approach is based on an airport by

airport “balanced approach” where each airport

identifies a noise problem based on objective data,

considers all available alternatives for addressing

the noise issue, and selects the most cost-effective

approach.

The Commission has stated its commitment to

implement an ICAO-consistent noise management

framework Directive and to repeal the hushkits

Regulation by April 1, 2002. In November 2001,

the European Commission proposed a framework

Directive “establishing rules and procedures with

regard to the introduction of noise-related

operating restrictions at Community airports.”

Legislation faithfully implementing the ICAO

Assembly resolution would be a positive move

toward resolving the longstanding dispute between

the United States and the European Union over

aircraft noise.

New Aircraft Certification

The United States has worked with the European

Joint Aviation Authorities (JAA) to develop

procedures for validating of U.S. products for use

in the European market. In fact, there are no

outstanding project certification issues now

pending with the JAA. France, however,

continues to insist on an exception to the JAA’s

decision on certification of Boeing’s new model

737 aircraft. The French exception limits the seat

density of aircraft sold to carriers in France. The

United States continues to promote a transparent,

equitable, and consistent process for aircraft

certification according to the relevant bilateral

airworthiness agreements.

The European Commission in 2000 submitted a

draft Directive proposing the establishment of a

European Aviation Safety Authority (EASA). The

U.S. Government and U.S. industry have been

working with the Commission, European

Parliament, and EU Member States to ensure that

the final legislation meets U.S. concerns so that

the availability of U.S. aviation products is not

impeded. The United States welcomes the

potential establishment of EASA and believes it

has the potential, if structured appropriately, to

help overcome some past problems. The recently

approved common position of the Council

incorporated significant changes to the legislation

that eliminated many U.S. concerns, including

language that would have allowed trade

considerations to play a role in what should be

strictly technical safety certification decisions.

Gas Connector Hose Standard

The European standardization organization (CEN)

is in the process of drafting a standard for gas

connector hoses that is likely to exclude a U.S.

product from the market because of design-restrictive

specifications. The U.S. firm has

experienced considerable difficulties in gaining

access to the standardization process and has been

unsuccessful in countering unfounded assertions

by the CEN Technical Committee that only

fixed/welded connections can be considered safe

for gas hose connectors. This case represents a

long-standing example of the market access

barriers that European standards can create. The

U.S. Government continues to raise this issue with

national CEN members and Commission officials

to press for more transparency and performance

criteria in the CEN standardization process.

Roofing Shingles

CEN is in the process of drafting a harmonized

standard under the Construction Products

Directive for bitumen roofing shingles. The text,

as currently drafted, is likely to exclude a durable

U.S.-made product from the market because of

weight specifications in the draft standard. The

U.S. manufacturer cannot join the CEN working

group, which is open to EU-based companies only.

U.S. manufacturers will be required to obtain CE-marking

on a time-consuming country-by-country

basis, although a possible alternative may be

through an EOTA (European Organization for

Testing and Approvals) technical specification.

Anchor Bolts

In early 2001, the Commission confirmed its

support for an amendment to the draft European

test standard for evaluating post-installed anchors

in concrete structures. The transition period for

compliance with this standard (ETAG 001) will

end in July 2002. The Commission has accepted

the validity of complaints filed by European (and

U.S.) industry that the draft standard would in

effect require all anchor bolts to meet more

stringent requirements associated with installation

in cracked concrete. The Commission is

particularly concerned that the new standard

would have an adverse impact on those anchor

bolts that are currently in use in EU markets and

supports revisions to the ETAG 001 to

accommodate anchor bolts for use in non-high-risk

structures. However, to date, the problem has not

been solved and the process has raised procedural

questions regarding the respective responsibilities

of EOTA and the European Commission.

Member State Practices

Some EU Member States have their own national

practices regarding standards, testing, labeling, and

certification. A brief discussion of the additional

national practices of concern to the United States

follows:

France: National standards impose restrictions on

the import of U.S. products in several areas,

including enriched flour, bovine genetics, and

exotic meats. French regulations prohibit the

import of any products made with flour enriched

with vitamins, since added vitamins are permitted

only in dietetic food products. Current French

government marketing controls and regulations

restrict trade in bovine semen and embryos. Prior

to import, a license must be obtained from the

French Customs service and approved by the

Ministry of Agriculture. Imports of exotic meats

are prohibited by the French government unless

authorized by a special waiver. Imports of

alligator meat are the subject of ongoing

discussions with the French Veterinary Service.

Italy: Italy’s interpretation of EU sanitary and

phytosanitary requirements has caused, or

threatened to cause, problems for the following

U.S. agricultural exports: processed meat products, wood products, poultry products, game meat, ingredients for animal feed and seafood. In most cases, problems are limited to clarifying and satisfying import certification requirements that differ slightly from other EU countries. In addition, Italian imports of bull semen are restricted because of “qualitative” import standards for bull semen that favor domestic animals as well as high testing and registration fees.

 

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