Displaying items by tag: Trade

Monday, 01 February 2021 13:39

EU-China Comprehensive Agreement on Investment

The EU and China have agreed in principle to a Comprehensive Agreement on Investment (CAI). The agreement aims to balance the economic relationship between both parties, given that the EU market has always been more open to Chinese investment than the Chinese market has been to EU investment. It will ensure a better level playing field, which the Commission says will give European businesses a boost and will help them compete in China.

China has made market access commitments in a wide range of sectors, including the manufacturing, which is the most important sector of EU investment in China. In these areas, China will not be able to prohibit market access or introduce new discriminatory practices. Specifically, the agreement sets rules on state-owned enterprises, on the transparency of subsidies, and against forced technology transfers. It will also be easier for EU companies to obtain authorisations and complete administrative procedures, and they will now be able to access China’s standard setting bodies.

The agreement also contains provisions on sustainable development, whereby China commits to not lowering environmental and labour standards in order to attract investment. Other Chinese commitments include respecting international obligations, promoting responsible business conducts by Chinese companies, or implementing the Paris Agreement, among other things.

The agreement reached in principle is just the first step in the process, since now the text must be legally reviewed and then ratified by the EU legislative authorities (the European Parliament and the Council of the EU). More information on the agreement can be found here.

Thursday, 17 December 2020 19:36

Brexit reminder: key issues to keep in mind

The Brexit transition period will come to an end on 31 December. After this date, EU legislation will cease to apply in the UK. Although the new EU-UK relationship will depend on the agreement reached (if any), stakeholders in the boating industry will be affected in any case and should therefore be ready. Northern Ireland will remain within a special situation, staying in the EU Single Market. A notice for boating industry stakeholders on the legal changes resulting from Brexit is provided by the European Commission on this document.

Legal framework for recreational craft

The EU Recreational Craft Directive 2013/53, which sets out requirements for craft, was transferred into UK law as the Recreational Craft Regulations 2017, which mirrors the EU Directive while making necessary wording changes (e.g. removing references to EU bodies and replacing them with UK ones). The full text of the UK’s Recreational Craft Regulations 2017 can be found here, while a guiding document to help businesses that intend to place craft in the UK market (except Northern Ireland) can be found here.

Standardisation and conformity

EU harmonised standards for recreational craft (and for other products), which must be followed by businesses to conform with EU law, will remain unchanged in the UK after 31 December, although they will be now called “designated standards”. Designated standards for recreational craft are published here by the UK Government.

Under the UK’s new conformity assessment framework, notified bodies that are based in the UK will become “approved bodies” without the need to seek re-accreditation, and will be able to assess products for the UK market (notwithstanding Northern Ireland). The list of UK approved bodies can be found here. EU-based notified bodies have to apply for the same status and according to RSG two EU-based notified bodies have applied for the status of “approved bodies”.

In addition, the general rule will be that CE certificates will remain valid in the UK until the end of 2021. From 1 January 2022, CE-marked goods will have to obtain a UKCA (UK Conformity Assessment) marking to be placed in the UK market (notwithstanding Northern Ireland, where either the CE marking or the new UKNI marking will be valid). Please check here for detailed information and the specific application.

Manufacturers Identity Code

After 31 December, boat builders will have to register their Manufacturers Identity Code (MIC) on the UK register in order to place vessels on the British market if using the UKCA mark. It is advisable to do so in any case. The UK’s MIC register is managed by British Marine, on behalf of the Department of Business, Innovation and Industrial Strategy. To register a new MIC with British Marine, or to find out the manufacturer associated with a specific MIC, follow this link.

At the same time, vessels with a UK-based MIC can no longer be placed on the EU market, and hence affected manufacturers must obtain a new code from an EU Member State authority.

Tariffs and trade

After 31 December, there will be border requirements placed on the movement of goods between the EU and UK, and businesses importing or exporting goods will have to file customs declarations. In addition, business may need to provide security and safety data.

On top of that, if no trade agreement is reached between the EU and the UK, the UK Global Tariff will replace the EU Common External Tariff for goods entering the UK from the EU. The UK Global Tariff rates can be checked here. Likewise, tariffs will apply to goods moving from the UK into the EU.

There will be no changes regarding the movement of goods between Northern Ireland and EU Member States. For UK businesses trading with Northern Ireland, the necessary information can be found here.

Further guidance

On this page from the European Commission you can find information on getting ready for the end of the transition period, including a comprehensive Commission communication on changes after 31 December, as well as various sectoral guidance notes (on areas such as not only recreational craft, but also chemicals, consumer protection, competition, industrial products, inland waterways, maritime transport or VAT, among others). In addition, this checklist for businesses produced by the Commission also explains how to get ready for the end of the transition period. The UK Government provides information about the end of the transition on this page. Specifically, you can find guidance for EU businesses trading with the UK after 31 December on here.

For additional questions, please contact: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

Sunday, 29 November 2020 21:57

New European Commission trade complaints system

The European Commission has launched a new complaints system for reporting market access barriers as well as violations of sustainable development commitments in trade agreements. This comes amid a focus within the Commission on stepping up the enforcement of trade policy, and follows the appointment of the first Chief Trade Enforcement Officer in July.

Complaints can be sent by companies, trade and business associations, civil society organisations, EU citizens or Member States. They must include a detailed description of the existing problem, of any actions already taken to address it, and of the impact that either the trade barrier or the sustainable development breach might have. The Commission will then assess each complaint, and inform the complainant of whether enforcement action will be pursued, and if so, of what the steps of the action plan will be, as well as of a timeline if possible.

Complaints must be submitted through the online complaint form found on the Access2Markets portal, here.


The Commission launched a new online tool called Access2Markets, intended to provide companies with the necessary information on importing and exporting to and from 120 countries. Users must simply type the name or the Harmonised System (HS) code of the product they would like to import or export, select the country of origin and select the country of destination. The portal will then display all relevant information on tariffs, taxes, trade barriers, customs procedures, rules of origin, product requirements and relevant trade statistics. Boating industry companies that are trading internationally (or aspire to do so) can make use of this to receive swift and reliable information.

Specifically for goods traded with Canada, Japan and South Korea, users can also make use of the Rules of Origin Self-Assessment tool (ROSA), a questionnaire that will help them verify whether their products comply with the required rules of origin (more countries are to be included soon under this tool).

In addition, the website also offers general, user-friendly information on key issues, step-by-step guides on importing and exporting, and a glossary of key concepts, among other things. The information is presented in an accessible way and is available in all official languages of the European Union.

Access2Markets can be found on here.


For further support: Enterprise Europe Network

Companies from the boating industry can also obtain EU support by contacting Enterprise Europe Network. This is a support tool aimed at helping companies and in particular SMEs grow internationally and innovate. The network, which is available in over 60 countries (both EU and non-EU), is made up of 3000 experts from over 600 organisations, including technology poles, innovation support organisations, universities and research institutes, regional development organisations, and chambers of commerce and industry.

Through the Network’s website, companies can look up which of these organisations are present in their area, and seek support from their experts, who will offer free personalised business services. SMEs looking to grow internationally may receive advice on funding sources, exporting, EU standards, or protecting intellectual property abroad, among other things. Companies looking to innovate can be advised on innovation-related policies, relevant funding programmes, innovation strategy, intellectual property rights or innovation brokerage services, among other things. Finally, through the website, companies can also search for opportunities for international partnerships with other companies.

The Enterprise Europe Network website can be found on here.

The European Commission has issued practical guidance to help companies prepare for the changes from 1 January 2021 after the end of the transition period. This mainly relates to the changes that will certainly take place, regardless of the future trade relationship. The guidance is important for companies in the recreational boating sector with business relationships to the UK. The guidance includes

  • Commission Communication on readiness at the end of the transition period (with information on customs checks, certification, VAT, etc.) – see here
  • Stakeholder notice for the RCD sector (updated in June – see here)
  • Stakeholder notice for industrial products (last updated in March – see here)

All stakeholder notices can be found here. EBI encourages companies to closely follow the recommendations and prepare for the end of the transition periods. Questions for clarifications can be sent to the EBI Office.

Published in Newsletter July 2020

The European Commission has imposed anti-subsidy and anti-dumping measures on imports of certain woven and stitched glass fibre fabrics originating in the People's Republic of China and Egypt. Together with previous measures imposed on the same imports in April, the combined duties are now between 54.6% and 99.7% on imports from China (depending on the producer), and 30.9% on imports from Egypt. The full decision by the Commission can be found here.

Published in Newsletter June 2020

The EU Member States authorised the opening of negotiations for a new partnership agreement with the UK and formally nominated the Commission as the EU’s negotiator. The negotiations will be led by Michel Barnier.

The aim of the EU in its negotiation mandate is to achieve an ambitious economic partnership with the UK. The mandate emphasises that the partnership should be underpinned by robust commitments to ensure a level playing field for open and fair competition, which will be one of the contentious points in the negotiations. The aim is to establish a free trade agreement with zero tariffs and quotas to trade in goods, as well cooperation on customs and regulatory aspects.

The UK government has likewise released its mandate for the negotiations. Its main aim is a comprehensive Free Trade Agreement covering substantially all trade. It wants to achieve similar provisions as past EU free trade agreements, such as Canada and Japan. The first formal meeting between the EU and the UK negotiators is expected to take place in early March. EBI will be engaging with the EU’s negotiation team to provide input from the European recreational boating sector.

For the full negotiation mandate and further information, please click here for the EU’s and here for the UK’s.

The European Commission published its proposal for an EU-US agreement on conformity assessment for industrial products. A product exported between the two sides has to undergo an assessment to demonstrate that it complies with the technical and safety requirements of the importing party, the 'conformity assessment'. This means additional costs for exporters, which is especially burdensome for smaller companies, who may decide not to export at all because of those costs and complexities.

The EU proposal seeks an agreement under which the EU and the US would accept the conformity assessment results of each other’s assessment bodies, certifying products against the legal requirement of the other side. This would enable exporters to seek certification of their products in their originating country. The aim of the proposal is to make trade quicker, easier and cheaper, while maintaining a high level of consumer safety. The EU’s aim is to conclude an agreement as early as next year.

The proposal is horizontal and covers all relevant industrial sectors where third-party conformity assessment is required by either side. Below a selection of the sectors to be covered (full scope is included in the Annex):

  • Electrical and electronic equipment, including electrical installations and appliances, and related components
  • Electromagnetic compatibility (EMC)
  • Machinery, including parts, components, including safety components, interchangeable equipment, and assemblies of machines
  • Equipment for use outdoors as it relates to noise emission in the environment
  • Recreational craft, including their components, and personal watercraft
  • Appliances burning gaseous fuels, including related fittings
  • Personal protective equipment
  • Equipment placed on board a ship
  • Restriction of hazardous substances in electrical and electronic equipment
  • Pyrotechnic articles

Please note that marine equipment is excluded from the scope of the proposal as it is covered by an existing mutual recognition agreement.

EBI has been following this process since the start and has now increased its engagement with the European Commission and US counterparts to advocate for the interest of the recreational boating industry. EBI is closely cooperating with its international counterparts ICOMIA and US counterparts NMMA to ensure that the global recreational boating industry benefits from this agreement. Interested parties are invited to contact the EBI Office for further information and input.

For more information, please see the text of the proposal and explanatory notes on the EU proposal.

Tuesday, 01 October 2019 08:48

Brexit preparation

While the negotiations between the United Kingdom and European Union are ongoing, the preparations are likewise continuing on both sides. Under the current state-of-play, the United Kingdom will leave the EU without a deal on 31 October unless there are further developments. 

EBI urges its members to take careful note of the Brexit preparedness notices provided by the European Commission for the sector.
These include in particular:

EU-U.S.: Call for proposals for regulatory cooperation activities
April 29, 2019


European Boating Industry is grateful for the opportunity to comment on the regulatory cooperation activities between the EU and the USA, and warmly welcome the initiative.
We are cooperating closely with NMMA (USA Association of the nautical industries) and ICOMIA (International Council of Marine Industry Associations) as we are convinced that the European boating industry needs a transatlantic approach. Our view is that mutually beneficial economic growth is achievable through tariff elimination, simplified certification procedures and internationally harmonized standards.
As Commissioner for Trade Cecilia Malmström said: trade means jobs. In our case, trade is vital as we are an export-oriented industry.

The boating industry in the EU and in the USA
Recreational boating is a significant contributor to the US and European economy, contributing $41 billion in annual US sales through 691,000 jobs and 35,000 businesses. For the European Union, the boating industry is a significant contributor to the economy, accounting for over 32,000 businesses directly employing more than 280,000 people and generating an annual turnover of nearly 20 billion euros. Our industry was vocal during the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) discussion and we would like to reiterate our support of reducing technical barriers to trade that address standards harmonization, regulatory convergence and conformity assessment procedures.

The US and EU are natural trade partners and have a long tradition of exchanges in the boat industry. The US and the EU remain the two largest boating markets in the world and represent about 80% of the world’s production (boats, engines, equipment, components, accessories) and also 80% of the world’s boating market. The US and the EU share similar boating cultures in the way boats are used and recreational watersport activities are practiced. This is further reflected by the fact that the safety and environmental rules are similar in both regions. For instance, the EU revised its Directive on Recreational Craft to align the new limits for engine exhaust emissions with the US EPA Rules.

Regulatory convergence and coherence
Fragmented rules place significant burdens on product design and regulatory coherence will improve the business climate in all markets.
Manufacturer costs are reduced when there is a single global standard that would ensure that U.S. and EU boat building standards and certifications are compatible.

We advise you to focus on addressing the following:
1. Certification
   a. Simpler ISO standards
The breadth and complication of ISO standards make it difficult for many manufacturers to interpret and comply. Manufacturers without the ability to dedicate an entire engineering team to ISO standards, will be prevented from understanding complicated ISO requirements like stability, scantlings, windows, hatches and port lights, and drainage. Simple, easy to use, and effective standards models like those employed by ABYC make it easier for manufacturers and engineering teams to comply and therefore produce vessels for international markets. No discernable safety issues can be attributed to the different standards, just complications requiring a high level of expertise.

   b. Better acceptance of ISO standards
The EU Recreational Craft Directive (2013/53/EU), the US Code of Federal Regulations and the US agencies address the legal and mandatory requirements for the boating industry. In Europe, the Recreational Craft Directive is supported by over 60 standards, most of which are harmonized EN ISO standards covering the essential safety and environmental requirements of the Directive. In the US, the American Boat & Yacht Council (ABYC) develops and maintains voluntary safety standards for the design, construction, equipage, repair and maintenance of boats. ABYC develops standards, through ANSI processes, based on extensive consultation with standards project technical committees, a development technical board, comprised of USCG, industry stakeholders and technical experts.
Although the use of standards is voluntary, increased efforts by the industry have been made in the recent years in order to bring more convergence between the US standards and the EN ISO standards used in Europe. Where technical standards are not harmonised between the EU and the USA, parties should agree to the principle of mutual recognition.
However, there is a lack of Reciprocity of ISO to ABYC or other national standards. Manufacturers who use a harmonised ISO standard are presumed to be in conformity with the RCD. The RCD allows for other standards to be used, but the onus is on the boat builder to show conformity with the RCD essential requirements. Notified Bodies are typically unwilling to accept non-ISO standards as conforming to the essential safety requirements. This creates a monopoly for ISO standards in European markets. We ask negotiators to consider the principle of mutual recognition between ABYC and ISO standards.

   c. Recognition of standards
When the requirements are different but compatible, in the sense that a requirement from one side of the Atlantic is stricter than on the other side, the product which comply with the strictest requirement will comply with the other.
In order to simplify trade between Europe and the US, European Boating Industry propose that the USA and the EU agree on which US and EU standards can be recognised as “substantially” equivalent. In this area, US or EU standards could be used alternatively in the future. Double certification and thus double costs in this area could be avoided.

2. Conformity Assessment: One-stop shop
In order to limit the double cost of conformity assessment for products that are almost identical for both markets in terms of safety and environmental requirements, we propose to allow notified bodies in Europe and their US equivalent bodies to become a "one-stop-shop" being able to offer conformity assessment procedures according to both the EU recreational craft directive and the US regulations, depending on the market destination of the product.
In any case, recreational craft sold on the EU market would have to undergo the assessment foreseen in the EU recreational craft directive, and reciprocally for the US market. The boating industry which is mainly composed of small and medium sized enterprises sees a significant gain at this simplification, which will reduce the costs of trade between Europe and the US without jeopardizing existing regulations in place in both markets.

3. Regulatory dialogue between the EU and US agencies
European Boating Industry also call for a formal mechanism to be implemented that will guarantee a regulatory dialogue between the European Commission and the relevant US agencies (US Coast Guard and Environment Protection Agency) in the field of maritime industries, with a particular attention to avoid additional technical requirements for RCD certified craft.
The calendar could also be aligned: in the USA, the new standards apply once a year, in July. In the EU, this takes place twice a year, with transition periods. This creates perturbations in the application of the new standards.

We support the matching and/or the elimination of tariff schedules for recreational craft, their components and other accessories.
The steel and aluminium dispute has dramatic consequences for our industry, as expressed in several letters which we sent to the European Commission. For instance, in Germany, as a result of the higher US tariffs on imports and in response the EU imposition of punitive tariffs, the US shipyards did not offer discounts to their dealers in order to cushion the rise in cost, and US boats were 25% more expensive for EU countries. We encourage negotiators to come to a resolution on steel and aluminium tariffs while ongoing cooperation is being discussed between the EU and the USA.

European Boating Industry remains at the disposal of the European Commission for any clarification and additional information on the submitted comments.

The European Boating Industry represents the interests of the European leisure marine industry and its members. Our work facilitates our members’ access to the EU Single Market (for boating industry – a harmonised market) of all Member States and over 500 million people.
The boating industry is a significant contributor to the European economy, accounting for over 32,000 businesses directly employing more than 280,000 people and generating an annual turnover of nearly 20 billion euros.

Sandrine Devos, Secretary General, EBI │ This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. │+32 473 63 73 34
EBI – European Boating Industry
Square de Meeûs 35 - 1000 Brussels – Belgium
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Published in Press releases
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