38. TRADE IN STEEL PRODUCTS WITH KAZAKHSTAN
Letter from Kim Howells MP, Parliamentary
Under-Secretary of State for Competition and Consumer Affairs,
Department of Trade and Industry, to Lord Tordoff, Chairman of
I am writing to inform you that at the next
available EU Council meeting I intend to remove the Parliamentary
Scrutiny reserve on the above proposal.
This proposal will roll-over for another six
months (from 1 July to 31 December 1999), the EC's unilaterally
imposed quota restrictions on imports of certain steel products
originating in Kazakhstan. The import restrictions under this
proposal are an important lever intended to bring Kazakhstan to
the negotiating table.
The European Commission have, for some time,
been attempting to negotiate a bilateral agreement with Kazakhstan.
Under the proposed agreement, there would be restrictions limiting
imports of certain steel products, until Kazakhstan introduces
a free market (rather than a state-controlled market) in steel
products. On the introduction of a free market in Kazakhstan,
the agreement will remove all EC steel quota restrictions on imports
from Kazakhstan. A negotiated agreement will eventually increase
bilateral access for steel products to the EC and Kazakhstan markets.
Member States were only notified of this proposal
by the EC Commission on 3 June 1999 (at a meeting of the Article
133 Steel Committee meeting in Brussels). Despite the UK notifying
the Commission of its Parliamentary scrutiny obligations, the
EC Commission intend to put the proposal to COREPER in the week
beginning 7 June and then to the first available Council meeting
after that date. My Department submitted an un-numbered short
Explanatory Memorandum on this proposal on 4 June 1999 (copy enclosed).
I am well aware of the requirement to provide
your Committee with an adequate opportunity to scrutinise measures
before adoption in Council. However, since the agreement is non-contentious
and very much in the interest of the UK, I would not wish to delay
its adoption. I hope you appreciate, therefore, why I intend to
lift the UK Parliamentary Scrutiny reserve on this proposal when
it comes to Council for adoption in the very near future.
7 June 1999
Letter from Lord Tordoff, Chairman of
the Committee, to Kim Howells MP, Parliamentary Under-Secretary
of State for Competition and Consumer Affairs, Department of Trade
Thank you for your letter of 7 June, telling
us that you intended to remove the Parliamentary scrutiny reserve
on the above proposal when it came up for adoption at Council.
I am glad to tell you that the proposal was cleared through scrutiny,
as far as this House is concerned, on 8 June.
17 June 1999