52002PC0221

Proposal for a Council Regulation establishing concessions in the form of Community tariff quotas for certain agricultural products and providing for an adjustment, as an autonomous and transitional measure, of certain agricultural concessions provided for in the Europe Agreement with Lithuania /* COM/2002/0221 final - ACC 2002/0102 */

Official Journal 203 E , 27/08/2002 P. 0146 - 0154


Proposal for a COUNCIL REGULATION establishing concessions in the form of Community tariff quotas for certain agricultural products and providing for an adjustment, as an autonomous and transitional measure, of certain agricultural concessions provided for in the Europe Agreement with Lithuania

(presented by the Commission)

EXPLANATORY MEMORANDUM

1. On 30 March 1999, the Council authorised the Commission to open negotiations for additional mutual agricultural concessions in the framework of the Europe Agreements between the European Community and the associated Central and Eastern European Countries.

2. A first round of negotiations was concluded between the EU and Lithuania, and became effective as from 1 January 2001 in the form of an autonomous and transitional measure pending the adjustment the relevant provisions in the Europe Agreement.

3. The two Parties expressed already during the 1999/2000 negotiations their willingness to continue with the negotiations to further enlarge the scope for the agricultural bilateral trade concessions. The Commission expressed in addition its intention to launch a new round of agricultural trade liberalisation in the Strategy Paper of the Regular Reports, which was adopted by the Commission in November 2000.

4. The second round of negotiations, which have been undertaken in the overall context of the accession process, have been based on Article 20(4) of the Europe Agreement with Lithuania. Article 20(4) provides that the Community and Lithuania shall examine in the Association Council, product by product and on an orderly and reciprocal basis, the possibility of granting each other further concessions taking account of the volume of trade in agricultural products between them, of their particular sensitivity, of the rules of common agricultural policy of the Community and of the rules of the agricultural policy of the associated country.

5. According to the Council decision, the negotiations should lead to a fair equilibrium, both in terms of exports and imports, between the interests of the European Community and its Member States and those of the associated countries.

6. The result of the negotiations between the Commission and the Republic of Lithuania on additional agricultural concessions provides for an immediate and full liberalisation of almost all agricultural products for which the Community tariffs are above 10%, both on imports in the Community and on imports into Lithuania. The scope for concessions within tariff quotas has also been substantially enlarged compared to the currently granted concession. The parties have also agreed to remove the export refunds for a certain number of sectors.

7. As a result of the adjustments agreed with Lithuania, a new Additional Protocol to the Europe Agreement with Lithuania has to be established. A swift implementation of the adjustments forms an essential part of the results of the negotiations for the conclusion of a new Additional Protocol to the Europe Agreement with Lithuania. Because of the duration of the procedure for the adoption of such a new protocol, a new Additional Protocol cannot enter into force on 1 July 2002.

8. A Council Regulation, made on an autonomous and transitional basis, would enable such a swift implementation of the results of the negotiations. This present Council Regulation would be replaced by the new additional protocol on the entry into force of the latter. The same model was used in 1996, to take into account the Agreement on Agriculture concluded during the Uruguay Round of Multilateral Trade Negotiations and in 2000 to implement the first round of negotiations to further liberalise the trade in agriculture.

9. The purpose of this proposal is to permit the early implementation, from 1 July 2002, of the results of the agricultural negotiations for the conclusion of new Additional Protocols to the Europe Agreement with Lithuania. It provides for the amendments of the Annexes of the Europe Agreement with Lithuania, which set out the concessions granted by the Community on imports originating in Lithuania.

10. Lithuania will take all necessary legislative provisions, on an autonomous and transitional basis, in order to enable a rapid and simultaneous implementation of the adaptations of the agricultural concessions of Lithuania provided for in the Europe Agreement.

2002/0102 (ACC)

Proposal for a COUNCIL REGULATION establishing concessions in the form of Community tariff quotas for certain agricultural products and providing for an adjustment, as an autonomous and transitional measure, of certain agricultural concessions provided for in the Europe Agreement with Lithuania

THE COUNCIL OF THE EUROPEAN UNION,

Having regard to the Treaty establishing the European Community, and in particular Article 133 thereof,

Having regard to the proposal from the Commission [1],

[1] OJ C ..., ..., p. ...

Whereas:

(1) The Europe Agreement establishing an association between the European Communities and their Member States, of the one part, and the Republic of Lithuania, of the other part [2], provides for certain concessions for certain agricultural products originating in Lithuania.

[2] OJ L 51, 20.2.1998, p. 3.

(2) The first improvements to the preferential arrangements of the Europe Agreement with Lithuania were provided for in the Protocol adjusting trade aspects of the Europe Agreement establishing an association between the European Communities and their Member States, of the one part, and the Republic of Lithuania, of the other part, to take account of the accession of the Republic of Austria, the Republic of Finland and the Kingdom of Sweden to the European Union and the outcome of the Uruguay Round negotiations on agriculture, including improvements to the existing preferential agreements [3].

[3] OJ L 321, 30.11.1998, p. 1.

(3) Improvements to the preferential arrangements of the Europe Agreement with Lithuania were also provided for, in the form of an autonomous and transitional measure pending a second adjustment of the relevant provisions of the Europe Agreement, as a result of a first round of negotiations to liberalise the agricultural trade. The improvements entered into force as from 1 January 2001 in the form of Council Regulation (EC) No 2766/2000 establishing certain concessions in the form of Community tariff quotas for certain agricultural products and providing for an adjustment, as an autonomous and transitional measure, of certain agricultural concessions provided for in the Europe Agreement with Lithuania [4]. The second adjustment of the relevant provisions in the Europe Agreement - which will take the form of another Additional Protocol to the Europe Agreement - has not yet entered into force.

[4] OJ L 321, 19.12.2000, p. 8.

(4) A new Additional Protocol to the Europe Agreement on trade liberalisation for agricultural products has been negotiated.

(5) A swift implementation of the adjustments forms an essential part of the results of the negotiations for the conclusion of a new Additional Protocol to the Europe Agreement with Lithuania. It is therefore appropriate to provide for the adjustment, as an autonomous and transitional measure, of the agricultural concessions provided for in the Europe Agreement with Lithuania.

(6) Since the measures necessary for the implementation of this Regulation are management measures within the meaning of Article 2 of Council Decision 1999/468/EC of 28 June 1999 laying down the procedures for the exercise of implementing powers conferred on the Commission [5], they should be adopted by use of the management procedure provided for in Article 4 of that Decision.

[5] OJ L 184, 17.7.1999, p. 23.

(7) Commission Regulation (EC) No 2454/93 of 2 July 1993 laying down provisions for the implementation of Council Regulation (EEC) No 2913/92 establishing the Community Customs Code [6] has codified the management rules for tariff quotas designed to be used following the chronological order of dates of customs declarations. Tariff quotas under this Regulation should therefore be administered in accordance with those rules.

[6] OJ L 253, 11.10.1993, p. 1. Regulation last amended by Regulation (EC) No 993/2001 (OJ L 144, 28.5.2001 p. 1).

(8) As a result of the aforementioned negotiations, Regulation (EC) No 2766/2000 has effectively lost its substance and should therefore be repealed.

HAS ADOPTED THIS REGULATION:

Article 1

1. The conditions for import into the Community applicable to certain agricultural products originating in Lithuania as set out in Annex C(a) and Annex C(b) to this Regulation shall replace those set out in Annex Va to the Europe Agreement establishing an association between the European Communities and their Member States, of the one part, and the Republic of Lithuania, of the other part, hereinafter the "Europe Agreement".

2. On the entry into force of the additional protocol adjusting the Europe Agreement to take into account the outcome of the negotiations between the parties on new mutual agricultural concessions, the concessions provided for in that Protocol shall replace those referred to in Annex C(a) and Annex C(b) to this Regulation.

3. The Commission shall adopt detailed rules for the application of this Regulation in accordance with the procedure laid down in Article 3(2).

Article 2

Tariff quotas with an order number above 09.5100 shall be administered by the Commission in accordance with Articles 308a, 308b and 308c of Regulation (EEC) No 2454/93.

Article 3

1. The Commission shall be assisted by the Management Committee for Cereals instituted by Article 23 of Council Regulation (EEC) No 1766/92 [7] or, where appropriate, by the committee instituted by the relevant provisions of the other Regulations on the common organisation of agricultural markets.

[7] OJ L 181, 1.7.1992, p. 21.

2. Where reference is made to this paragraph, the management procedure laid down in Article 4 of Decision 1999/468/EC shall apply, in compliance with Article 7(3) thereof.

3. The period provided for in Article 4(3) of Decision 1999/468/EC shall be one month.

Article 4

Council Regulation (EC) No 2766/2000 is hereby repealed.

Article 5

This Regulation shall enter into force on the third day following that of its publication in the Official Journal of the European Communities.

It shall apply from 1 July 2002.

This Regulation shall be binding in its entirety and directly applicable in all Member States.

Done at Brussels,

For the Council

The President

ANNEX C(a)

The following products originating in Lithuania shall benefit from a preferential zero-duty within unlimited quantities (applicable duty 0% of MFN) when imported into the Community

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(1) As defined in Commission Regulation (EC) No 2031/2001 of 6 August 2001, amending Annex I to Council Regulation (EEC) No 2658/87 on the tariff and statistical nomenclature and on the Common Customs Tariff (OJ L 279, 23.10.2001, p. 1).

ANNEX C(b)

Imports into the Community of the following products originating in Lithuania shall be subject to the concessions set out below (MFN = Most Favoured Nation duty)

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(1) Notwithstanding the rules for the interpretation of the Combined Nomenclature, the wording for the description of the products is to be considered as having no more than indicative value, the preferential scheme being determined, within the context of this annex, by the coverage of the CN code. Where ex CN codes are indicated, the preferential scheme is to be determined by application to the CN code and corresponding description taken together.

(2) In cases where an MFN minimum duty exists, the applicable minimum duty is equal to the MFN minimum duty multiplied by the percentage indicated in this column.

(3) The quota for this product is opened for the Czech Republic, the Slovak Republic, Bulgaria, Romania, Hungary, Poland, Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania. In case imports into the Community of live bovine domestic animals may exceed 500 000 heads for any given year, the Community may take the management measures needed to protect its market, notwithstanding any other rights given under the Agreement.

(4) The quota for this product is opened for the Czech Republic, the Slovak Republic, Bulgaria, Romania, Hungary, Poland, Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania.

(5) Excluding tenderloin presented alone.

(6) Subject to minimum import price arrangements contained in the Annex to this Annex.

(7) The reduction applies only to the ad valorem part of the duty.

(8) This concession is only applicable to products not benefiting from export refunds.

(9) In dried egg equivalent (100 kg liquid egg=25.7 kg of dried eggs).

ANNEX to Annex C(b)

Minimum import price arrangement for certain soft fruit for processing

1. Minimum import prices are fixed as follows for the following products for processing originating in Lithuania:

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2. The minimum import prices, as set out in point 1, will be respected on a consignment by consignment basis. In the case of a customs declaration value being lower than the minimum import price, a countervailing duty will be charged equal to the difference between the minimum import price and the customs declaration value.

3. If the import prices of a given product covered by this Annex show a trend suggesting that the prices could go below the level of the minimum import prices in the immediate future, the European Commission will inform the Lithuanian authorities in order to enable them to correct the situation.

4. At the request of either the Community or Lithuania, the Association Council shall examine the functioning of the system or the revision of the level of the minimum import prices. If appropriate, the Association Council shall take the necessary decisions.

5. To encourage and promote the development of trade and for the mutual benefit of all parties concerned, a consultation meeting may be organised three months before the beginning of each marketing year in the European Community. This consultation meeting will take place between the European Commission and the interested European producers' organisations for the products concerned, on the one part and the authorities', producers' and exporters' organisations of all the associated exporting countries, on the other part.

During this consultation meeting, the market situation for soft fruit including, in particular, forecasts for production, stock situation, price evolution and possible market development, as well as possibilities to adapt supply to demand, will be discussed.

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