As a result of nearly two years of efforts by Estonian oil-shale chemical companies and government agencies, the EU has officially recognized nine chemicals, thus legalizing their sale throughout the EU.
Existing legislation has given older European chemical companies an unfair competitive advantage over acceding countries. "All such chemicals that were produced in the territory of the EU in 1971 - 81 were automatically permitted and recognized," Viru Keemia Grupp development director Jaanus Purga said. "As Estonia was not a member of the EU in that period, in [the EU's opinion] these chemicals did not exist." At the initiative of the Estonian Chemical Industry Association and the Economic Affairs Ministry, a 25 million kroon (1.6 million euro) project was launched for the legalization of oil-shale chemistry products in the EU. The project was financed with about 75 percent of the Phare program's means, the rest of the expenses being footed by the state and chemical companies.
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Lithuania's meat and dairy exporters expect to obtain 1.9 million litas (570,000 euros) in EU export subsidies in June and July. EU subsidies for meat, dairy products and eggs exported in May should reach approximately 6.4 million litas. During the first month after accession, local producers applied for many export licenses, but according to Juozas Bruzgulis, director of the foreign trade department at the National Paying Agency, financial support had not been extended yet. In June and July the NPA issued permits for exports of approximately 8,000 tons of cheese and other dairy products and 328 tons of beef. The major part of shipments will be channeled to Russia, Ukraine and the U.S.A.
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The cost of Lithuania's textile exports to Belarus will decrease by approximately half as the Eastern country intends to apply for preferential duties for Lithuanian and other EU member textile products. The duty to be levied on EU textile imports will decrease to 4 percent - 12 percent, from 15 percent - 20 percent, Lithuania's Foreign Ministry announced.
The decision of Belarus authorities would have a positive effect on the country's talks with the European Commission and would benefit both Lithuania's exporters and Lithuania's companies that do business in Belarus, the ministry pointed out. The ministry added that Lithuania would continue to pursue further improvement in terms of trade with Belarus and would back higher quotas for Belarusian producers in upcoming talks between the EC and Belarus. Exports of textiles to Belarus surged twofold in 2003 to about 16 million litas (4.6 million euros), comprising 2.5 percent of total exports to the neighboring country.
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Lithuania's leading fermented cheese producer, Vilkyskiai Dairy, raised sales by 33.4 percent year-on-year to 37.2 million litas (10.8 million euros) in the January-to-July period thanks to rising sales to EU members. Revenues on exports surged 65.1 percent to 28.6 million litas in the seven-month period. Last year Lithuania used up its quota for cheese exports to the EU by August.