Wide support for origin marking in the plenary of the European Parliament

Date: 9 November 2010
Source: www.cerameunie.eu
On 21 October 2010, the European Parliament plenary has adopted with a very broad majority (525 votes in favour, with only 49 votes against and 44 abstentions) the proposal for a European Union (EU)-wide system of the indication of the country of origin of certain products imported from third countries (COM (2005) 661 final).

Cerame-Unie (the European ceramic industry association), COTANCE (the EU leather association), EUROCOTON (the European Committee of Cotton and Allied Textile Industries), EFIC (the European furniture industries confederation) and EDG (the European Domestic Glass Committee) strongly welcome the outcome of the plenary vote which is in line with the growing demand from EU consumers for reliable information on the products they purchase. The associations – which represent sectors included in the scope - hope that the vote will give a clear signal to the Council to approve the origin marking regulation at first reading.

The above mentioned associations are convinced that origin marking, if finally adopted by the Council, will re-establish a level playing field for EU companies which have to comply with origin marking requirements of many of EU main trading partners, notably China, the US, Canada and Japan. Origin marking is already widely used in many sectors covered by the proposed regulation. Consequently, the additional administrative costs for placing the mark of origin are negligible and are by far outweighed by the benefits for the EU consumer.

Equally important, the scheme will address the growing demand from consumers for more transparency on the origin of the imported goods concerned. It is also expected to reduce the incidence of fraudulent or misleading indications of origin.

Following the INTA and plenary votes, the associations would also like to highlight the following points:

- As amended by the plenary, the law would at first enter into force for a period of five years. However, one year before the end of the five-year term, the European Parliament and the Council would be required to decide whether to prolong or amend it.

- The debate held in the Parliament before the vote showed a strong support from the Parliament across the political parties and EU Member States.

- A number of other sectors were added to the scope of the proposed regulation. For instance, the bricks and roof tiles sector (which is part of the ceramic industry) has been added.

- As a matter of principle, origin marking shall be applied on certain imported products and shall not be applied on goods originating in the European Union, Turkey, Norway, Iceland or Liechtenstein.

- The Commission proposal had not provided for a harmonised system of penalties in case of infringements. However, the Parliament has adopted an amendment which obliges the Commission to propose minimum common standards for penalties. This shall ensure a uniform application of the rules in all EU Member States. The above mentioned signatories welcome this additional aspect and hope that a Commission proposal on a harmonised system of penalties will soon be presented.

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