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April 1, 2014
Issue # 358
Plan to Remove EU Tariffs on Imports
About 98% of the customs duties that Ukrainian goods exporters pay at EU borders would be removed by a proposal backed by the European Parliament’s International Trade Committee on Thursday. This unilateral measure would boost Ukraine’s struggling economy by saving its manufacturers and exporters €487 million a year.
"Parliament and other EU institutions should lose no time in passing this law, given the urgency of the situation in Ukraine. Ukraine’s new government needs strong and immediate EU help to fight off external pressures and to overcome economic and financial hardships”, said rapporteur MEP Pawel Zalewski (EPP, PL). Trade MEPs backed his proposal by 22 votes to 2, with 1 abstentions by not proposing any amendments to Commission’s proposal.
Unilateral – but not without safeguards
This unilateral trade preference measure would not require Ukraine to reciprocate by removing its own customs duties on imports from the EU, but would require it not to raise them.
EU imports from Ukraine would still have to comply with EU rules on origin
labeling and the Ukrainian authorities would have to ensure that third country goods do not enter the EU via
Ukraine, disguised as Ukrainian products.
The proposal also includes a "safeguard clause” which entitles the EU right to reimpose tariffs if imports from Ukraine flood the EU market in volumes that cause or threaten to cause serious difficulties to EU producers of the same goods.
The trade preference measure would apply from the date when it is finally approved until 1 November 2014, or until the EU-Ukraine association agreement, including a deep and comprehensive trade deal, enters into force.
In effect, this measure would give Ukraine the same terms of access to the EU market as it would have under the full trade deal.
The proposal has yet to be backed by the full House in the first plenary of April. According to estimated legislative procedure calendar, the trade preferences should become effective already in May this year.
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Canadelle to Close
American underwear manufacturer HanesBrands announced it will close the Montreal head office of its subsidiary Canadelle and its Canadian distribution
center, also in Montreal.
Starting this summer, about 100 employees who work at the head office will see their positions phased out.
Another 70 people who work at the company’s Canadian distribution center
will also be out of work once the center is shut down in early 2015.
Distribution to Canadian retailers will be handled by existing centers in the United States.
“We know today’s announcement will come as a shock, and we certainly regret the loss of jobs for employees … This is in no way a reflection of the skills, dedication and professionalism of our Canadian associates,” read a memo from management obtained by CBC News. It was sent out Wednesday to all HanesBrands employees.
Positions at Canadelle’s head office are expected to be completely phased out by the end of the year.
In its memo, company leaders say workers will get 60 days' notice of end dates.
“We sincerely regret that many of these fine Canadian employees will lose jobs, and we will do all that we can to treat employees with respect and compassion,” the memo said.
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Ann Summers to Sell
Ann Summers is putting the underwear brand Knickerbox up for sale as the lingerie and adult toys company tries to recapture the risqué edge that made it a success story.
The retailer has hired accountants KPMG to run a sale process for the business. It is thought interest may come from big supermarkets and department stores looking to bolster their underwear offering, with Tesco (Frankfurt: TS3.F - news) and Debenhams understood to have shown early interest.
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& EU Start
Myanmar and the European Union have begun negotiations on an investment protection agreement.
The Minister of National Planning and Economic Development, Dr Kan Zaw, and the EU Trade Commissioner Karel De Gucht, are leading the negotiations, which began in Nay Pyi Taw on March 20.
The agreement will offer EU investors protection against discrimination, expropriation without compensation, unfair and inequitable treatment and for the possibility of transferring capital.
A press release said that by improving the protection and fair treatment of investors from both sides, the agreement will contribute to attracting investment to Myanmar and the
"This investment agreement could become an important accelerator for the reform process in Myanmar," Mr De Gucht was quoted as saying.
"Experience has shown that improving legal certainty and predictability for investments is key in providing business opportunities and much-needed development for this growing economy,” he said, adding that he hoped the negotiations would conclude swiftly.
There is no bilateral investment agreement between Myanmar and any EU member state.
The legal certainty and predictability provided by an investment protection agreement would help to attract and maintain foreign direct investment in Myanmar.
Trade between Myanmar and the EU is on the rise.
Bilateral trade with Myanmar in 2013 amounted to 569 million euros (about K755,338,698,595), up 41 percent on 2012, it said. Myanmar exports to the EU rose by 35 percent in 2013, to 223 euros, and imports from the EU jumped 45 percent, to 346 million euros.
Exports to the EU were previously limited to garments (66.9 percent) fisheries products (8 percent), rice (4.4 percent) and beans (4.3 percent). In 2013 the share of garments declined to 58.2 percent, while precious stones accounted for 11.7 percent and wood products, 7.8 percent.
Polar Bear Plunge Successful Again This Year
Over 127 fearless and fun-loving souls, including local dignitaries and television personalities, braved the cold waters of Anthony Creek on Saturday, March 8 to raise awareness about child abuse as the 11th Annual Greenbrier Valley Polar Bear Plunge Club convened for its yearly meeting in the Monongahela National Forest.
Sunny skies brought out a crowd of over 1,300 who cheered on their favorite plungers - some who donned wacky costumes - as club members raised over $18,000 for the Child and Youth Advocacy Center of Lewisburg. As always, 100% of the proceeds benefited the 501-c-3, non-profit organization that interviews and counsels sexually abused children in Greenbrier, Monroe, and Pocahontas counties, so that offenders may be prosecuted.
Congressman Nick Rahall spoke words of encouragement to the plungers before they splashed into the 36-degree water, and he also gave out the “2014 Spirit of Polar Bear Award” to Michael Price, of Tennessee. The special award was in the form of a United States flag that Rahall brought from his Washington D.C. offices.
Zombies from Miller’s Nightmare Haunted Farm earn their Polar Bear membership cards at the 2014 plunge. The event raised over $18,000 for the Child and Youth Advocacy Center. Photo courtesy of Connie Manchester.
A letter of congratulations from West Virginia Governor Earl Ray Tomblin was also presented to club President Christian M. Giggenbach by Tomblin’s special representative, Kimberly Gross. Gross became a Polar Bear member during the 2013 plunge.
Giggenbach began plunging in Anthony Creek 11 years ago to honor his late mother, Kay Sweet Giggenbach. In 2008, he asked the CYAC to become the fundraising arm for his club. His polar bear club now has about 300 members and has in total raised nearly $60,000 for the
"I want to thank all of our sponsors, the CYAC, our club members and all the individuals from the community who gave donations for this year's plunge," Giggenbach said. "We promise to work even harder next year to raise funds to end child abuse in our community.”
Each year, club members ask citizens to sponsor them plunging into the water. This year's top fundraisers were: Lewisburg Mayor John Manchester ($820); Mary Dale Cannon Lauterbach, of Athens, Tennessee ($810); Tammie Smith, of Alderson ($736); David Vest, of Covington, VA ($500) and Adam Criddle, of Lewisburg ($415).
WVVA again served as the event’s media sponsor with television personalities Kristen Conner and Jaime Baker plunging. Conner wore her favorite pair of pajamas and Baker wore a banana suit costume.
A Polar Bear first occurred this year as Eva McVey, of Alderson, sang the Star Spangled Banner during the presentation of the Color Guard by the Greenbrier East High School JROTC. Other highlights included a flyover by stunt pilot Scott Yoak, a performance by the Half Bad Bluegrass Band, and Penny the D.J. served as the M.C. of the event.
Also new this year was the introduction of Professional Security Services, of Lewisburg, which employed security guards to man the entrance gates, help with
parking, and ease traffic flow and congestion. Previous issues with parking and traffic flow were greatly eliminated during this year’s event.
Special thanks goes out to U.S. Forest Service and the Greenbrier County Homeland Security and Emergency
Management Agency for their help in staging the event.
"The outpouring of support for our mission to end child abuse is overwhelming," Ann Weikle, CYAC executive director, said. "A special thank you goes out to all our sponsors, plungers and the 25 event staff that helped make this happen."
The next annual meeting of the Greenbrier Valley Polar Bear Plunge Club is scheduled for March 7, 2015. For videos, roster membership, and a complete list of sponsors please visit
The newlyweds are in their honeymoon room and the groom decides to let the bride know where she stands right from the start of the marriage.
He proceeds to take off his trousers and throw them at her. He says, "Put those on."
The bride replies, "I can't wear your trousers."
He replies, "And don't forget that! I will always wear the pants in the family!"
The bride takes off her knickers and throws them at him with the same request, "Try those on!"
He replies," I can't get into your knickers!"
"And you never bloody will if you don't change your attitude."
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