On 15 September 2014, the FTA French Regional Conference took place in Lille. This regular meeting brings together French-speaking FTA members with an emphasis on customs affairs and import procedures. This well-accepted format allows for an exchange of information and opinion on current topics and legislative changes. The next edition is scheduled for beginning of 2015.
In the morning, Sandrine Ménard from the French Ministry of Economics and Trade (Direction Générale du Trésor) reported about the state-of-play of on-going negotiations between the EU and ASEAN countries, with a focus on Vietnam, Thailand and Malaysia. Participants raised inter alia questions about dematerialisation clauses in these trade agreements and the high tariffs regime for exports in South East Asia. The afternoon saw a presentation by Caroline de Saussure, Head of Section at the Direction Générale des Douanes, about the Union Customs Code. The principles of the new Customs Code and major changes in comparison to the current system were intensively discussed.