Juncker: “EU needs more trade defence”
The European Commission has called upon member states to support new, more robust trade defence instruments.
While the EU remains the biggest trading bloc in the world, and is second only to the US in world imports, constituting around 15%. However, the EU’s trade defence measures account for only 7.8% of those worldwide, and affect only 0.21% of imports, something which the commission is keen to address with the new proposals.
The commission’s president, Jean-Claude Juncker, stressed the urgency of such an update at a crucial time for the EU: “Trade is essential for our economic growth and jobs creation, but we should not be naïve. Our current rules are proving insufficient to combat the harm from unfair foreign competition. Some EU industries have lost thousands of jobs. We cannot stay idle. The EU’s trade defence rules require an urgent update.”
Juncker argued that the commission has been fulfilling its obligations, but needs support from member states to reinforce trade defences: “We have reached the limit of what is feasible under the existing legislation. We put forward measures that would significantly improve our room for manoeuvre. It’s now high time for member states to make the necessary decisions and equip the commission with instruments fit to deal with the current realities of the international trading environment.”
The new measures would also take into account forthcoming amendments to the World Trade Organisation’s legal framework. It is expected that a full proposal will be tabled before the end of the year.