Daily News 23 / 08 / 2016

Author: European Commission.

The following press release was issued by the European Commission on .

EU requests World Trade Organisation panel over Colombia’s discrimination against imported spirits

The EU today requested the establishment of a World Trade Organisation (WTO) panel to rule on a dispute concerning Colombia’s discriminatory treatment of imported spirits. The EU and Colombia held consultations earlier in the year which however failed to reach a solution to the dispute. While the EU recognizes Colombia’s efforts to bring about reform in the spirits’ regime since the initiation of the dispute, EU spirits continue to be discriminated in the Colombian market. The EU’s concerns about discrimination of EU spirits in the Colombian market are longstanding. EU spirits are subject to higher taxes and local charges than those applied to local brands. In addition, market restrictions apply in the departments or local subdivisions of Colombia. The departments impose market-access restrictions that distort the competitive conditions in the market to the detriment of EU spirits. This is in contravention of Colombia’s non-discrimination obligations under WTO rules. The EU is the number one exporter of spirits to the Colombian market and, as a result, the trading partner most affected by these measures. In 2014, EU exports of spirits to Colombia – valued at €43 million – represented approximately 14% of total agricultural exports to Colombia and 77% of total Colombian imports of spirits. A press release in all languages is available online with further information. (For more information: Enrico Brivio – Tel.: +32 229 56172; Axel Fougner – Tel.: +32 229 57276)

State aid: Commission approves hydropower and biogas support schemes in Czech Republic

The European Commission has found that two Czech schemes to support electricity and heat production from hydropower and biogas are in line with EU state aid rules. The schemes will increase energy produced from renewable sources, in line with EU objectives, without unduly distorting competition. The Commission assessed the measures under its 2014 Guidelines on state aid for environmental protection and energy, which allow Member States to support the production of energy from renewable sources under certain conditions. A full press release is available online in EN, FR, DE and CZ. (For more information: Lucía Caudet – Tel.: +32 229 56182; Yizhou Ren – Tel.: +32 229 94889)  

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