CEPI, the independent voice of the paper industry in Europe, presented a trade complaint (Trade Barrier Regulation (“TBR”)) to the European Commission on the 24 April 2017.

"The 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” says Sylvain Lhôte, Director General at CEPI.

The unfair non-automatic import licensing system puts at risk over €150 million worth of EU exports of these varieties of paper. At a time when global free trade is under increasing pressure the European paper industry urges the Turkish authorities to stand on the side of free trade. The paper industry already exports 22% of its entire produce outside the EU and will continue to remain an advocate for free trade and take a firm stance where this is put at risk.

The complaint concerned the unfair non-automatic import licensing system established by Turkey concerning, inter alia, EU exports of certain varieties of paper including office paper, books, envelopes and paper used for direct mail marketing (otherwise known as uncoated wood free (“UWF”) paper). This is both the first time a TBR complaint has been launched in almost ten years and the first time CEPI as an industry association has lodged a trade complaint.

What can be expected next ? Within a five to seven month period the Commission will now engage in a detailed investigation of the concerns raised by CEPI resulting in a report which may warrant the launch of WTO proceedings.

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