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C 310/132 EN Official Journal of the European Communities 9. 10.

98

Answer given by Mr Flynn on behalf of the Commission


(11 May 1998)

The Commission is aware of reports in the media that the chronic shortage of organs has led to the development
of trafficking in organs. Consideration of ethical issues and action in these matters are, however, for the Member
States to deal with.

In accordance with the provisions of Chapter IV and Article 29 of Council Directive 75/319/EEC of 20 May 1975
on the approximation of provisions laid down by law, regulation or administrative action relating to proprietary
medicinal products (1), the importation into the territory of the Community of medicines from third countries
requires a manufacturing authorisation from the authorities of the Member State concerned, which is issued if the
strict conditions laid down in these provisions are met. The national authorities conduct regular inspections to
check that these obligations are being complied with at all times.

(1) OJ L 147, 9.6.1975.

(98/C 310/178) WRITTEN QUESTION E-0801/98


by Peter Truscott (PSE) to the Commission
(26 March 1998)

Subject: Opening up of the Japanese market for consumer photographic materials

The US Government has made major steps in opening up the Japanese consumer photographic paper and film
market. During the ensuing proceedings at the WTO, Japan made a number of specific commitments.

Considering that the EU is a major player in this market with companies such as Kodak based in my
Hertfordshire constituency, what steps will the Commission be taking to monitor and ensure progress on the
opening up of this market?

Answer given by Sir Leon Brittan on behalf of the Commission


(15 April 1998)

The World trade organisation (WTO) panel concerning access for foreign companies to the Japanese market for
photographic film and paper was established on 16 October 1996, on the request of the United States. The
Community joined this panel as a third party in view of its economic interest in this market.

The final report of the WTO dispute settlement panel on Japan — Measures affecting photographic film and
paper has been distributed to the parties (United States and Japan). It will be distributed to other WTO members
in the coming weeks. According to information provided by the parties the panel dismisses the American claims,
as no causal link between measures adopted by the Japanese government and an upsetting of the competitive
relationship between domestic and imported products has been established.

The issue whether the structure of the Japanese market is competitive falls outside the scope of current WTO
rules. Accordingly the panel has not made a judgement on this. Only through a multilateral framework of
competition rules would the WTO be able to examine private practices that may have a market foreclosure effect.
The case clearly underlines the need for a WTO framework of competition rules and their effect on market
opening. The Commission intends to continue its efforts in the WTO working group on trade and competition
and hopes that the case will lead to an intensified discussion on trade and competition issues and to the
development of a framework of competition rules in the WTO.
9. 10. 98 EN Official Journal of the European Communities C 310/133

During the dispute settlement proceedings on the Japanese market for photographic film and paper, Japan
outlined its policy of ensuring non-discriminatory access to the Japanese distribution system and improving
market access in the photographic film sector and other sectors. Japan did not make any specific commitments
during the dispute settlement proceedings.

To ensure progress in the opening up of this market, as well as the Japanese market in general, the Commission
will continue to track closely the implementation of the stated Japanese policy of improved market access. The
Commission has urged Japan to undertake fundamental reforms in its distribution system so as to reduce the high
costs of doing business in Japan, to improve market access for foreign exporters and service providers, and to
provide more consumer choice. Recently the Commission sent more than 200 deregulation proposals to the
Japanese government. These included suggestions in the field of distribution. The Commission proposals also
requested that Japan strengthen competition policy enforcement. The implementation of the Japanese new
three-year deregulation programme from April 1998 provides an opportunity for measures to be taken to
facilitate access to the Japanese distribution system for foreign companies.

(98/C 310/179) WRITTEN QUESTION E-0802/98


by André Laignel (PSE) to the Commission
(26 March 1998)

Subject: Applying the 35-hour-week initiative throughout the European Union

Throughout the European Union, a reduction of the working week to 35 hours would clearly have a beneficial
effect on employment, the quality of life of European citizens and equality of access to employment.

To that end, a clear and spontaneous undertaking by the Commission is essential. In what form and on what time
scale does the Commission propose to act to harmonize social legislation in line with the best practice,
particularly by establishing a legal working week of 35 hours in all countries of the European Union?

Answer given by Mr Flynn on behalf of the Commission


(14 May 1998)

The Commission believes that the best approach to issues relating to the modernisation of the organisation of
work, including working time arrangements, is that set out in the Council Resolution of 15 December 1997 on the
1998 employment guidelines (1). These invite the social partners ‘to negotiate, at the appropriate levels,
agreements to modernize the organisation of work, including flexible working arrangements, with the aim of
making undertakings productive and competitive and achieving the required balance between flexibility and
security. Such agreements may for example, cover the expression of working time as an annual figure, the
reduction of working hours, the reduction of overtime, the development of part-time working, lifelong training
and career breaks’.

The Commission will continue to support efforts by the social parners, at all levels, to reach agreement on any or
all of these issues as a means of attaining the goal of adaptability. However, other than ensuring the protection of
the health and safety of workers in regard to the organisation of working time, it is not the Commission’s
intention to propose further statutory reductions in the average working week.

(1) OJ C 30, 28.1.1998.