Commission's proposed emergency measures restricting imports of wood-packing
Hong Kong's exporters with interests in the Chinese mainland may already be aware of the emergency measures proposed by the Commission, which would require treatment of non-manufactured coniferous wood (e.g., as used in wood-packing materials) from the Chinese mainland, Japan, Canada and the United States before entry into the EU is permitted. The wood from the targeted countries is thought to harbour an organism (a pine wood nematode) hazardous to the environment (see: leading article of Issue 20, Business Alert-EU). Despite high-level discussions between all the Member States and the Commission, the EU has not yet taken any decision on the proposed emergency measures. However, at a meeting of 26 October 2000, the Member States were all in agreement that:
• exporters from the countries targeted will be given at least 6 months official notice before entry into force of the measures takes place; and
• the Member States' representatives and Commission will re-convene on 21 November to discuss the draft emergency measures further.
The proposed measures noted above were engendered in part as a result of requests made by Finland for Community-wide measures. Earlier this year (31 May 2000), Finland adopted a Regulation preventing entry into its territory of coniferous wood-packing material, except that of Thuja L, imported from the targeted countries mentioned above plus Korea, Mexico and Taiwan. The Regulation was introduced to prevent dissemination of the pine wood nematode. The Finnish Regulation requires any coniferous wood-packing material to be accompanied by a phytosanitary certificate which indicates that the material complies with the requirements, as set out in the Regulation's Annex. The Finnish authorities are required to conduct spot checks at all the points of import in Finland in order to ensure compliance with the Regulation. The Annex states that...