The European Commission on July 7, 2017 initiated an examination procedure on obstacles to trade applied by the Republic of Turkey consisting of measures affecting the import of uncoated wood free paper.
The related application to European Commission was submitted by CEPI, the independent voice of the paper industry in Europe, on the April 24, 2017. According to CEPI, the import surveillance system in Turkey introduced as of September 28, 2015 for uncoated wood free paper. The system, which according to the complaint, introduced a specific import licencing requirement, would apply only to paper imported into Turkey at a customs value of 1 200 USD per tonne or less, a threshold which would cover all imports from the European Union.
According to the complaint, it is impossible for an importer to obtain such import licence due to the specific information requirements of the licencing procedure. To obtain an import licence, the Turkish authorities allegedly request information to which only the producers of the paper have access. For this reason, importers would allegedly see no alternative than to declare a customs value above 1 200 USD per tonne of imported paper even if the actual import value is below this amount.
Sylvain Lhôte, Director General at CEPI, commented:
“Today’s launch of this investigation is an indictment of the Turkish authorities’ reluctance to maintain a level-playing field when it comes to free trade. Turkey should withdraw, in the spirit of the EU-Turkey Customs Union and its WTO commitments, any unfair trade barriers.”
Uncoated wood free paper covered under the following headings of the Harmonised System: 4802.55.15.10.00, 4802.55.25.10.00, 4802.55.30.10.00, 4802.55.90.10.00, 4802.56.20.20.00, 4802.56.80.10.00, and 4802.57.00.10.00.