Modernisierung des Zollkodexes und die Einführung einer Liste nicht präferenzieller Ursprungsregeln

Gegenwärtig wird der Ursprung eines Erzeugnisses gemäß dem Grundsatz aus Artikel 24 des Zollkodexes der Gemeinschaften (Verordnung (EWG) Nr. 2913/92 des Rates) bestimmt, wonach eine Ware, an deren Herstellung zwei oder mehrere Länder beteiligt waren, Ursprungsware des Landes ist, in dem sie der letzten wesentlichen und wirtschaftlich gerechtfertigten Be- oder Verarbeitung unterzogen worden ist, die in einem dazu eingerichteten Unternehmen vorgenommen worden ist und zur Herstellung eines neuen Erzeugnisses geführt hat oder eine bedeutende Herstellungsstufe darstellt.

Die Welthandelsorganisation (WTO) bemüht sich derzeit darum, die nicht präferenziellen Ursprungsregeln zu harmonisieren. Die Kommission hat auf der Grundlage des WTO-Entwurfs und im Rahmen einer Modernisierung des Zollkodexes unterschiedliche verbindliche Ursprungsregeln für den nicht präferenziellen Ursprung eingeführt. Nach Ansicht der Kommission wird diese Liste fester Regeln zu mehr Rechtsklarheit in Bezug auf Einfuhren führen und als eindeutige Rechtsgrundlage vor allem in Anti-Dunping-Fällen dienen. Für Unternehmen würde die Einführung dieser Regeln hingegen bedeuten, dass sich das Verfahren erheblich verkompliziert. Während bislang das Ausfuhrland den Ursprung des Erzeugnisses bestimmt hat, würde gemäß dem Kommissionsvorschlag nun die EU den Ursprung von Erzeugnissen aus Drittstaaten bestimmen.

1. Wie wird dies überwacht werden? Wie können wir von mehr Rechtssicherheit für europäische Importeure sprechen, wenn man bedenkt, dass Anti-Dumping-Fälle lediglich 0,7 % aller Einfuhren in die EU betreffen?

2. Je nach der Gruppe von Erzeugnissen oder den Erzeugnissen, die zu ihrer Herstellung verwendet wurden, kann es zu Fällen kommen, in denen ein Erzeugnis nicht mehr europäischen Ursprungs ist. Wie gedenkt die Kommission dem Imageproblem, das sich für europäische Hersteller daraus ergibt, und der sinkenden Produktion in Europa zu begegnen?

3. Bei den Ausfuhren schlägt die Kommission vor, dass Einfuhrländer ihre eigenen Ursprungsregeln anwenden dürfen. Wie soll dies umgesetzt werden? Welche Ressourcen wird die Kommission den Anwendern zur Verfügung stellen, um sie bei der Umsetzung von Ursprungsregeln für über 190 Länder zu unterstützen? Wird dies nicht sogar zu noch mehr bürokratischem Aufwand führen?

4. Bei Einfuhren sind die EU-Ursprungsregeln anzuwenden, wohingegen bei Ausfuhren mehrere Optionen zur Verfügung stehen. Hat die Kommission sichergestellt, dass unterschiedliche Regeln für Ausfuhren und für Einfuhren mit dem EU-Recht und mit den WTO-Bestimmungen vereinbar sind?

5. Steht die Einführung der Liste mit den Zielen der EU-Regelung für kleine Unternehmen („Small Business Act“) und der EU-Strategie für die Internationalisierung von KMU in Einklang?

Antwort

Karel De Gucht, Member of the Commission: Mr President, I am replacing in this debate my colleague Mr Šemeta, who is on a round trip to a number of Member States to prepare the Ecofin Council later on next week. The Commission shares the concerns of the honourable Members to reduce red tape and increase predictability for our traders. This is why, with the draft Union Customs Code, we amend the current provisions of the Code to make clear that EU non-preferential rules of origin apply only to imports. Exports are not concerned here, so there will be no changes to the current practice. This is in line with WTO commitments. We need to make sure that all Member States apply one set of rules consistently. Uniform implementation is a basic principle and an EU obligation, which I am sure the European Parliament wants the Commission and the Member States to adhere to. On the import side, we have not yet made any proposal for implementing provisions pending the adoption of the Union Customs Code. The Commission confirms that the principle of last substantial transformation is enshrined in the WTO Agreement on Rules of Origin and in the EU Customs Code. This will continue to apply under the Union Customs Code. Currently, EU implementing provisions on the principle of last substantial transformation exist only for a limited number of products. Some discussions have taken place in the Customs Code Committee Origin Section to explore the possibility of establishing such provisions product by product, while taking account of the needs of SMEs. The Commission considers that such clearer rules could make origin determination more predictable and ensure better application of the trade measures such as anti-dumping and other trade defence instruments and safeguard mechanisms. It should not be for the exporting country to determine the non-preferential origin of products. Indeed, pending completion of the Harmonisation Work Programme in the WTO, importing countries are entitled to define the country of origin of goods imported into their territory, under strict conditions. Pending agreement in the WTO, it would not be in the interest of the EU to accept, a priori, whatever origin determination of imported goods is made by the authorities of the exporting countries. Doing so would undermine the EU’s capacity to negotiate in the WTO. In line with WTO obligations, when an EU good is imported into a third country, the rules of origin of that third country – not of the exporting country – are the rules to be used to define its originating status in that third country. The requirements for accepting EU originating status of EU products exported to third countries are for those third countries to decide. Any acceptance by third countries of non-preferential certificates of origin, issued for example by chambers of commerce in an EU Member State, is purely voluntary and cannot be determined by EU regulation. The Commission has no intention to introduce detailed rules for exports, so an image problem for European manufacturers does not arise, nor will there be any new need to assist operators. Finally, I would like to convey again Commissioner Šemeta’s apologies for not being able to join us this evening. On the other hand, I believe it is a very fortunate moment to have this discussion, as we are actively preparing MC9 – the ministerial conference of the World Trade Organization – in December of this year, which will be discussing trade facilitation, and there uniform rules of origin are very important because that will in fact simplify the entry of goods into the European Union and will be a contribution to the whole debate on trade facilitation. Karel De Gucht, Member of the Commission. − Mr President, I would like to very briefly respond to a number of observations that have been made. Let me start by a number of questions that have been put by Mr Fjellner. The problem is that the origin, as determined by third countries with which the EU has no bilateral agreement such as for example an FTA, cannot be accepted for the implementation of the EU’s trade policy at import. This is because such third countries do not apply the same non-preferential rules as the EU and there is no procedure for cooperation or verification. It makes no sense for the EU to accept this as it would undermine our capacity to negotiate in the WTO. As you rightly mentioned, Mr Fjellner, things have become much more difficult than before because it is now the exception that a good is produced in one single country, so it is very important on the one hand that we are precise on this and secondly, with countries where we have no possibility of dispute settlement for example, that we should be the final judge on what come on to our markets. Ms Koch-Mehrin, we acknowledge the position taken by the Committee on International Trade on the Customs Code and we look forward to starting the trialogue on this file as soon as possible. Pour répondre à la question de M. Proust, je confirme que la Commission est fermement engagée à poursuivre ses efforts en faveur de l'harmonisation des règles d'origine, à l'échelle internationale. Finally, I would like to thank all the participants in the debate for the views expressed. As I said earlier, we want to make it clearer, not more difficult, for traders both on the export and on the import side. Origin determination of goods exported from the EU will continue to be done as today. The change in the Union Customs Code makes this absolutely clear. You are right that this may cause problems with a number of countries we are exporting to, but this is inevitable because in the end it is those countries of destination that are going to decide on the origin of goods. For imports to the EU, we are still reflecting on the appropriate implementing provisions and it is in the interest of European producers to be sure that any measures adopted for their defence are applied correctly throughout the European Union. Let me just make one last remark. As I already mentioned in my introduction, we are in the midst of this very important negotiation on trade facilitation. For this purpose I believe it is extremely important that we have harmonised rules so that we can present ourselves as a real bloc in these negotiations, and also afterwards in the implementation of an agreement if it were to come about – and I hope it will come about, because it would be a very big contribution to doing away with red tape. It is a win-win situation for sure, but it is also a win-win situation where the European Union would be one of the biggest beneficiaries.