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Efficient, WTO-compatible and up-to-date trade defence instruments are pivotal for competitiveness

EESC calls on Commissioner Malmström to ensure EU industry and jobs are protected from unfair imports.

Fairness is a precondition for open trade. Efficient, WTO-compatible and up-to-date trade defence instruments are pivotal for the competitiveness of the European industry vis-à-vis third countries. The EESC's opinion on Trade Defence Instruments – methodology, adopted at the EESC plenary on 29th March, supports the Commission's proposal for new anti-dumping methodology but asks for some improvements.

Christian Bäumler, EESC rapporteur and Andrés Barceló Delgado, co-rapporteur called on Commissioner Cecilia Malmström - who was invited to debate the EU's future trade policy with the EESC assembly – for stepping up the reform of the EU trade defence instruments and adoption of new calculation methodology. We need to safeguard the level playing field for Europe's industry and to ensure that jobs and growths are sustained. We are not asking for protectionism but for fair trade was their plea.

Some of the provisions of China's World Trade Organisation accession protocol have expired. That does not mean China is a market economy, Commissioner Malmström stated in her intervention in the Plenary. She also insisted that the proposed legislation would protect European industries and jobs from further risks and legal uncertainty … without singling out China, or any country.

Updated trade defence instruments (TDI) crucial to secure jobs and growth in Europe

In its opinion the EESC supports the Commission's proposal to calculate the dumping margin on the basis of benchmarks that take account of significantly distorted production and sale costs in particular cases. The EC follows herewith the EESC's advice to not use the standard methodology in anti-dumping and anti-subsidy investigations particularly for Chinese imports as long as the country failed to meet the EU's five criteria for market status. We appreciate the EC's intention of using specific methodology for determining dumping margins for imports from countries, where there is a significant State intervention in the economy, but we also want that the non-respect the of ILO standards and of Multilateral Environment Agreements are considered while appreciating significant market distortions, said Christian Bäumler. The EESC again recalls the importance of finalising the TDI modernisation package for the creation of robust and effective trade defence system. This sentiment was echoed by the EESC President, George Dassis, who declared: We want a market economy, but a social one.

Legislation must be on a solid basis in order to work effectively

Companies need predictability and legal certainty in the application of the anti-dumping regulation but the Commission proposal still remains unclear on a number of issues indicated Andrés Barceló Delgado. Indeed, the EESC sees room for improvement of Commission's proposal to amend the basic anti-dumping regulation:  

  • The EESC considers that the foreseen country reports, should become obligatory for countries for which a substantive number of anti-dumping cases were observed before the entry into force of the new regulation.
  • The EESC wants that the burden of proof is clearly defined and that it should not be shifted to the EU industry or to the Commission.  
  • The EESC calls on the Commission to ensure the legal certainty of the proposed amendment to the anti-dumping regulation and to build a solid justification for the compatibility of the new system with the WTO anti-dumping rules.
  • The EESC stresses that the anti-dumping complaints procedure must be more accessible for EU companies and also for SME's.

More on the opinion is available on the EESC webpage.

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CP 15 Trade Defence Instruments Commissioner Malmstrom - EESC Press Release