The European Union (EU) has implemented changes to its anti-dumping and anti-subsidy regulations in a move that makes the system more effective and transparent for the bloc’s producers, users and importers.
The political agreement on the EU’s trade defence instruments was reached last week between the European Commission, the Council and the European Parliament. The changes will also enable the EU to impose higher duties on some dumped products.
The deal culminates a process launched by the Commission in 2013 and represents “a balanced outcome, taking into account the interests of EU producers, users and importers,” it says.
“Our actions to defend European producers and workers against unfair trading practices must be bold and efficient and today’s agreement will provide us with an additional tool to do just that,” says President Jean-Claude Juncker.
“We are not naïve free traders and the set of changes agreed confirms that once again. Europe will continue to stand for open markets and rules-based trade but we will not hesitate to resort to our trade defence toolbox to ensure a level playing field for our companies and workers.”
Trade Commissioner Cecilia Malmström added that while the deal had taken a long time to agree, it means the EU will have the necessary tools to tackle quickly and effectively unjust trading practices.
“Together with the recently-agreed changes to the anti-dumping methodology, the EU’s tool box of trade defence instruments is in shape to deal with global challenges. The EU stands for open and rules-based trade, but we must ensure that others do not take advantage of our openness. We are and we will continue to stand up for companies and workers suffering from unfair competition.”
The new rules will shorten the current nine-month investigation period for the imposition of provisional measures and make the system more transparent. The companies will benefit from an early warning system that will help them adapt to the new situation in case duties are imposed. Smaller companies will also get assistance from a specific help desk, to make it easier for them to trigger and participate in trade defence proceedings.
Also, in some cases, the EU will adapt its ‘lesser duty rule’ and may impose higher duties. This will apply to cases targeting imports of unfairly subsidised or dumped products from countries where raw materials and energy prices are distorted.
The political agreement reached today will enter into force once the Council and the European Parliament give their final green light.
Together with the new anti-dumping methodology, this is the first major overhaul of the EUs anti-dumping and anti-subsidy instruments in 15 years. It is the fruit of more than four years’ labour, including broad consultations with multiple stakeholders and negotiations with member states and the European Parliament.
The Commission first proposed a reform of the EU’s trade defence instruments in 2013. The Council reached a compromise in December 2016, which allowed for three-way negotiations between them, the Commission, and the European Parliament.