EU Commission to review anti-dumping rules

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The goal of the European Commission is for member states to back efforts aimed at providing the European Union with an updated toolbox of trade defence instruments.

Ahead of the European Union summit on October 20 and 21, the European Commission has called on all EU member states to support its efforts to provide the European Union with “updated, strengthened and more robust” trade defence instruments.

According to the Commission, this will serve as the EU’s strategy to cope with the consequences of a greater opening up of the Chinese market to European business.

The current instruments, even though the whole integrated toolbox has been used, proved “insufficient to deal with the enormous overcapacity” – a situation that has resulted in exports being dumped on the EU market, according to the European Commission.

Addressing journalists, European Commission Vice President in charge of jobs, growth, investment and competitiveness, Jyrki Katainen, explained the college’s decision to insist upon a 2013 proposal on the modernisation of trade defence instruments.

“Trade policy is one of the major assets of EU data to provide jobs, growth and investment. Thirty million jobs are directly linked to our exports. These have increased by two-thirds over the past 15 years,” Katainen said. “Free trade must be fair, just so that fair trade can be beneficial.”

Even if the EU is worth 15% of world imports, the commercial defences into force only correspond to a 7.8% of the global impact, while they affect a mere 0.21% of imports.

The Commission is expected to table a proposal later this year as regards Article 15 of the Protocol on China’s accession to the World Trade Organisation (WTO) that requires WTO members to stop using an alternative calculation method in anti-dumping investigations against China after December 11. Existing rules will remain in force during the transition period until the new proposal comes into effect.

The above is a result of the high-level trade dialogue between the EU and China in Brussels on October 18. The sixth China-EU high-level Economic and Trade Dialogue was co-chaired by Katainen, on behalf of the European Commission, and China’s Vice Premier Ma Kai.

CETA: ‘It might be possible to find a compromise’

Meanwhile, Katainen has not given up on the Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (CETA) – a proposed free-trade agreement between Canada and the European Union, and neither has the rest of the Commission.

“It might be possible to find a compromise,” said Katainen, who avoided speculating about what could happen if the EU fails to reach an agreement to approve the CETA, while the EU is a negotiating partner in 20 more trade deals.

One EU official told New Europe that the European Commission is continuing talks with the Belgian government, as well as the parliament of the French Community and the Walloon parliament, which oppose the deal.

Asked if the ‘mixed’ agreement status of the EU-Canada trade deal could be reverted to an agreement validated only at the EU level, Katainen said he is almost certain that this might not be possible. “It is close to rocket science,” he said, adding that these questions should be raised with the Commission’s legal department and not at a political level.

Katainen also refused to answer questions about whether CETA’s possible failure would signal the end of other similar trade deals.

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