Directive Permits Non-Metric Units on Packaging of Goods Destined for the EU

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The Commerce Department has long been in negotiations with the European Union in an effort to allow U.S. exports to the EU to use both non-metric and metric labeling provisions on product packaging. 

On May 15, 2009, following the EU's adoption of the new labeling directive, the Commerce Department announced that U.S. exporters may continue using non-metric units on packaging of goods destined for export to the European Union. Thus, the current dual-labeling provisions are extended indefinitely. 

The new rule was published on May 7, 2009 in the Official Journal of the European Union, and will be fully enforced by the 27 EU Member States by January 1, 2010. The new labeling directive will permit U.S. exporters to adopt metric unit labeling according to their own schedule and without facing a major trade barrier in the EU.