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C 330 E/210 Official Journal of the European Communities EN 21.11.


In order to facilitate the application of the directives and to help to reduce occupational accidents, the
Commission initiates non-legislative measures, including the drafting of non-binding practical guides,
whenever this is needed.

In this connection, the Commission would also draw the Honourable Member’s attention to the activities
of the Agency for Health and Safety at Work, and especially to the conference on health, safety and
employability that was held in September 1999 in Bilbao. At this conference, mention was made of the
links between exclusion from the labour market, employability, occupational rehabilitation, the culture of
the protection of health and safety at work and equal opportunities, the adaptation of the working
environment to man and the competitiveness of firms.

A copy of the conclusions of this conference is being sent directly to the Honourable Member and to the
Secretariat-General of the Parliament.

(2000/C 330 E/244) WRITTEN QUESTION P-0729/00

by Daniel Varela Suanzes-Carpegna (PPE-DE) to the Commission

(6 March 2000)

Subject: EU-Korea meeting and the European shipbuilding industry

When appearing before the European Parliament’s Committee on Industry in December 1999, the
Commissioner responsible for enterprise, Mr Liikanen, said that the Commission was to meet with Korea
to discuss current problems affecting the shipbuilding industry at international level and, specifically, the
unfair competition practised by Korea in this sector.

Has the Commission held any meetings with Korea to discuss these problems?

If so, at what level were the meeting or meetings held, what was on the agenda and what were the results?

What strategy and what measures has it adopted or will it adopt further to the contacts it has had with

What is the schedule for future meetings with Korea, at what level will they be held and what is on the

Answer given by Mr Lamy on behalf of the Commission

(5 April 2000)

In line with the conclusions of the Industry Council of 9 November last year, a dialogue between the EU
and Korea has got under way in an effort to find solutions to the problems of unfair competition in the
shipbuilding industry. The Commission has pointed out that, in the absence of satisfactory results, the
Community industry could very quickly lodge a complaint with it under the Trade Barriers Regulation
which could lead in due course to proceedings in the World Trade Organisation.

Following initial contacts in Paris on 14 December last year, a Commission delegation went to Seoul on
10 and 11 February seeking clear commitments whereby the Koreans would acknowledge their responsi-
bility in the crisis currently affecting the sector, undertake not to intervene to rescue bankrupt shipyards
and promise to implement transparency rules, in particular international accounting standards ensuring
that ships are priced so as to cover all costs. At this stage, Korea did not accept the EU proposal.
21.11.2000 EN Official Journal of the European Communities C 330 E/211

In response to the threat of proceedings by the Community, however, Korea proposed holding a third
round of discussions from 14 to 16 March to look for a way of avoiding a possible trade dispute. Finally,
on 29 March, Korea agreed to give virtually all the commitments the Commission had called for.

Should an agreement be reached in the near future, the Commission  together with the Community
industry and the Member States  would check very carefully that Korea was fulfilling its commitments. In
this context, the Commission could very quickly ask for consultations with Korea to find concrete
solutions to the difficulties facing our industry.

Should Korea fail to deliver on its commitments or should there be no real impact on the market, the
Community industry has said that it would lodge a complaint with the Commission (under the Trade
Barriers Regulation) regarding Korea’s subsidy practices. If the complaint provided sufficient evidence, the
Commission would be prepared to initiate an investigation. This could end up before the WTO Dispute
Settlement Body, thus offering the EU the prospect of the practices being penalised.

(2000/C 330 E/245) WRITTEN QUESTION P-0731/00

by Paul Coûteaux (UEN) to the Commission

(6 March 2000)

Subject: FSCs  Case before the WTO

The WTO’s appeal body has recently condemned the American system of FSCs (Foreign Sales Corpora-
tions) which enable exporters to avoid all tax by using fictitious bases in tax havens. This system of
avoiding export duties, currently legal in the USA, will therefore have to be dismantled (Report AB-1999-
9, 24 February 2000). However, it is unlikely that Congress will be inclined to comply with the WTO’s
decision in the run-up to the election.

Can the Commission say whether, if the USA does not abolish FSCs within the prescribed time limit
(before 30 September 2000), it proposes to implement sanctions of the same kind as those adopted by the
USA in connection with the Euro-American dispute over hormone-treated beef, in other words to impose
tit-for-tat trade restrictions?

Does the Commission intend to link these two cases in the context of wider negotiations on trans-Atlantic
trade disputes?

Answer given by Mr Lamy on behalf of the Commission

(29 March 2000)

The Commission is confident that the United States will comply with their international obligations
relating to Foreign Sales Corporations (FSC) and bring their legislation into line with the World Trade
Organisation (WTO) agreements before 1 October 2000. However, in the hypothetical case that the United
States should fail to bring the FSC laws into line with the conclusions of the panel and the appellate body
by this date, a number of options are open to the Community. These include negotiating compensation,
and suspending concessions granted to the US. These are rights enjoyed by any party that brings a
complaint before the WTO, should the obligations that result not be implemented as required, and are in
no way peculiar to the FSC case. However, the Commission expects that the United States will indeed
implement the recommendations made by the disputes settlement body of the WTO.

Concerning the second part of the question, the Commission has been working for some time now on the
case of hormone-treated beef. Given the specific importance of each of these two cases in its own right,
the Commission will endeavour to find an independent solution for each, in line with our international
obligations under the WTO agreements.