|On 24 October 2013, the European Commission announced that it had adopted proposals to extend the partial exemption from duty drawback prohibition in the origin protocols to the Association Agreements with Algeria, Egypt, Jordan, Morocco, Palestine and Tunisia until 31 December 2015. These measures continue to allow imports free of customs duty into the EU of products originating in these countries, without them having to levy full customs duty on imported materials used in the manufacture of these products.
The measure puts production in these countries on the same footing with production in the EU and, as such, facilitates their market access to the EU and promotes their economic development.
The Euro-Mediterranean Agreements establishing associations between the EU and its Member States, of the one part, and Algeria, Egypt, Jordan, Morocco, Palestine and Tunisia, of the other part, provide for the establishment of a free trade area between the EU and these countries. Amongst others, they provide that industrial products originating in the EU may be imported free of customs duty into these countries and that products originating in these countries may be imported free of customs duty into the EU. This is subject to the condition called ‘prohibition of duty drawback’, meaning that customs duty paid on imported materials used in the manufacture of the products and which are not originating in the country concerned or in the EU should not be reimbursed.
However, as levels of customs duty applied by Algeria, Egypt, Jordan, Morocco, Palestine and Tunisia generally exceed those applied by the EU, the origin protocols to the Association Agreements provide for a partial waiver of the prohibition of drawback for products imported into the EU from these countries. The waiver allows these countries not to levy customs duty on materials used in manufacture in excess of a rate of 4% (for industrial products other than textile and textile articles) or 8% (textile and textile articles), which are the corresponding average levels of the conventional rates of duty applied by the EU. The measure thus puts industrial production in these countries on the same footing with production in the EU.