EU suspends examination procedure against Turkey

06 Mar 2018 − 

After Turkey announced that it would not apply its controversial import licensing system for woodfree uncoated paper, the European Commission decided to suspend its examination procedure relating to this matter.

In a decision published in the Official Journal of the European Union, the Commission said that although Turkey had now decided not to apply the contentious system to imports of woodfree uncoated paper, the system "continues to exist and could be reintroduced for uncoated wood free paper”. The Commission said it was therefore suspending rather than terminating its examination procedure. However it added that it would monitor the situation.

The Confederation of European Paper Industries (CEPI) said the decision by the Turkish authorities to remove the "unfair measures” was "applaudable” but added that the issue should "never have been escalated in the first place”. CEPI expects that the Turkish authorities will stand by their obligations under the EU-Turkey Customs Union Agreement, said Sylvain Lhôte, director general of the organisation.

In the middle of last year, the European Commission launched an examination of Turkey’s import regulations as applied to the import of woodfree uncoated paper. The Commission objected to the system of allocating the import licenses as well as an arbitrary price threshold at which the measures took effect. Turkey subsequently revoked the questionable import regulations for uncoated woodfree paper before the Commission could take any further steps.

According to CEPI, the Turkish import measures would have affected EU exports of uncoated woodfree paper worth €150m. The association pointed out that around 22% of its production is exported to countries outside the EU and said CEPI would "remain an advocate for free trade”.

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