“With today’s approval by the Council, we are very close to having the necessary tools to tackle unfair trading practices even more effectively. The EU stands for open and rules-based trade, but we must also ensure that others do not take advantage of our openness. I now look forward to the adoption of the new rules by the European Parliament to allow for their swift entry into force.” Said trade Commissioner Cecilia Malmström.
The Council gave a formal approval to the political agreement reached between the Commission, the Council and the European Parliament on 5 December 2017 to modernise the EU’s trade defense instruments.The changes to the EU’s anti-dumping and anti-subsidy regulations will make the EU’s trade defence instruments more adapted to the challenges of the global economy: they’ll become more effective, transparent and easier to use for companies. In some cases they will also enable the EU to impose higher duties on dumped products. The new rules will shorten the current investigation period 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 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.
© European Union , 2018 / Photo: Mauro Bottaro.
At a meeting at the European Commission in Brussels, EU Commissioner for Trade Cecilia Malmström met today with Minister for Economy and Industry of Japan Hiroshige Seko and US Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer.
Commissioner Malmström and Minister Seko raised with Ambassador Lighthizer US President Trump’s decision to impose additional duties on imports of certain steel and aluminium products into the US under Section 232 of the Trade Expansion Act of 1962. They emphasised the strong concern of both the European Union and Japan at the announced measures. As long-standing security partners of the United States, they underlined to Ambassador Lighthizer their expectation that EU and Japanese exports to the US would be exempted from the application of higher tariffs.
Commissioner Malmström also met bilaterally with Ambassador Lighthizer to discuss the issue further, and gain additional clarity on the process surrounding the announced measures. She tweeted after their meeting: ”I had a frank discussion with the US side about the serious pending issue of steel and aluminium tariffs. As a close security and trade partner of the United States, the European Union must be excluded from the announced measures. No immediate clarity on the exact US procedure for exemption however, so discussions will continue next week.”
“We strongly regret this step, which appears to represent a blatant intervention to protect US domestic industry and not to be based on any national security justification. Protectionism cannot be the answer to our common problem in the steel sector. Instead of providing a solution, this move can only aggravate matters. The EU has been a close security ally of the US for decades. We will not sit idly while our industry is hit with unfair measures that put thousands of European jobs at risk. I had the occasion to say that the EU would react adequately and that’s what we will do. The EU will react firmly and commensurately to defend our interests. The Commission will bring forward in the next few days a proposal for WTO-compatible countermeasures against the US to rebalance the situation.” Said President of the European Commission, Jean-Claude Juncker.
The European Commission takes note of the announcement by the President of the United States of the imposition of restrictions in the form of an import surcharge on EU exports to the US of steel and aluminium.
Commissioner for Trade Cecilia Malmström added: “These US measures will have a negative impact on transatlantic relations and on global markets. In addition, they will raise costs and reduce choice for US consumers of steel and aluminium, including industries that import these commodities. The EU will seek dispute settlement consultations with the US in Geneva at the earliest opportunity. The Commission will monitor market developments and if necessary will propose WTO-compatible safeguard action to preserve the stability of the EU market. The root cause of problems in these two sectors is global overcapacity caused by non-market based production. This can only be addressed at the source and by working with the key countries involved. This go-it-alone action by the US will not help.“
On 1 March, President Trump announced the imposition of additional import duties on EU exports of steel and aluminium to the United States. The import duties are set at 25% on steel and 10% on aluminium. Similar restrictions will also be imposed on exports from other suppliers.
This action follows investigations undertaken between April 2017 and January 2018 by the US Department of Commerce under Section 232 of the US Trade Expansion Act of 1962. These reports concluded that steel and aluminium imports threatened US national security and recommended the imposition of trade restrictions.
However, in essence, these measures are primarily intended to protect the US domestic industry from import competition. Any national security justification appears very weak: the US Secretary of Defence has stated publicly that US military requirements represent no more than 3% of US production and that the Department of Defence is able to acquire the steel and aluminium it needs for US national defence requirements.
“Today’s resoundingly positive vote means that the EU is one step closer to having the necessary tools to tackle unfair trading practices quickly and effectively. Together with the recently-agreed changes to our anti-dumping methodology, the EU’s toolbox of trade defence instruments will be even better suited to deal with global challenges. I now look forward to the speedy adoption of this decision by plenary of the European Parliament. The EU stands for open and rules-based trade, but we must ensure that others do not take advantage of our openness. The EU stands ready to defend its industry and workers from unfair competition.” Said Trade Commissioner Cecilia Malmström.
The international trade committee of the European Parliament endorsed the political agreement reached between the Commission, the Council and the European Parliament on 5 December 2017 on the modernisation of the EU’s trade defence instruments. The changes to the EU’s anti-dumping and anti-subsidy regulations will make the EU’s trade defence instruments more adapted to the challenges of the global economy: they’ll become more effective, transparent and easier to use for companies. In some cases they will also enable the EU to impose higher duties on dumped products. The details of the agreement reached in December are now presented in a dedicated factsheet. The new rules will enter into force once the European Parliament and the Council conclude the respective ongoing approval procedures.
“Our unshakable and facts-based conviction that trade brings prosperity will not prevent us from defending our workers and companies with all legitimate tools when others do not play by the rules. With this new legislation and a new set of modernised tools that will be soon in place, Europe will be able to deal more effectively with the ever changing realities of the international trading environment.” Said president .
The EU’s new trade defence legislation,an integral part of President Juncker’s agenda on A Europe that Protects, enters into force. It will change the way the EU tackles dumped and subsidised imports from countries with significant state-induced market distortions. The purpose of this new legislation is to make sure that Europe has trade defence instruments that are able to deal with current realities in the international trading, while fully respecting the EU’s international obligations in the legal framework of the World Trade Organisation (WTO). Commissioner for Trade, Cecilia Malmström said: “The EU is open for business. But we must also protect our industry from unfair competition from imports, particularly from countries whose economies are significantly distorted owing to state interference. The publication of country reports will help us to put the new methodology into practice. It will also give the EU industry a basis on which to make its case concerning countries where distortions exist.” The Commission also published today its first country report on state-induced distortions. It concerns China and is going to be followed by reports on Russia and other countries and sectors most often targeted by EU anti-dumping measures.
The EU and Japan reached this morning an agreement on the final details of the EU-Japan Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA).
“The finalisation of the negotiations on the EU-Japan EPA demonstrates the powerful political will of Japan and the EU to continue to keep the flag of free trade waving high, and sends a strong message to the world. Beyond its considerable economic value, this Agreement is also of strategic importance. It sends a clear signal to the world that the EU and Japan are committed to keeping the world economy working on the basis of free, open and fair markets with clear and transparent rules fully respecting and enhancing our values, fighting the temptation of protectionism. The EU-Japan EPA is one of the largest and most comprehensive economic agreements that either the EU or Japan have concluded so far. This EPA will create a huge economic zone with 600 million people and approximately 30 percent of the world GDP, and it will open up tremendous trade and investment opportunities and will contribute to strengthening our economies and societies. It will also strengthen economic cooperation between Japan and the EU and reinforce our competitiveness as mature yet innovative economies.” President Jean-Claude Juncker and Prime Minister Abe agreed.
The deal has now been endorsed by Trade Commissioner Cecilia Malmström and Japanese Foreign Minister Taro Kono and welcomed in a joint statement by President Juncker and Prime Minister of Japan Abe. The conclusion todaybuilds on the political agreement in principle reached during the EU-Japan Summit on 6 July 2017. Following a legal check and translation into all EU languages, the Commission will submit the text agreed today for the approval of the European Parliament and EU Member States. The aim is to have the agreement in place before the end of the current mandate of the European Commission in 2019.
The negotiators of the European Parliament and the Council reached an agreement on the proposal adopted by the Commission in November 2016 to change the EU’s anti-dumping and anti-subsidy legislation.
These changes will enable Europe’s trade defence instruments to deal with current realities – notably overcapacities – in the international trading environment, while fully respecting the EU’s international obligations in the legal framework of the World Trade Organisation (WTO).
Following the meeting in Strasbourg, President Jean-Claude Juncker said: “Europe stands for open and fair trade, but as I have said time and again, we are not naïve free traders. That’s why we have to make sure that, while upholding the multilateral, rules-based trade system, our legislation allows us to ensure that our companies operate on a level playing field. This is not about any country in particular, simply about making sure that we have the means to take action against unfair competition and the dumping of products in the EU market that leads to the destruction of jobs. Our words have to be followed by decisive actions and this is the kind of action our companies and citizens expect from us. I commend the European Parliament and our governments for having lived up to these expectations.”
Commissioner for Trade Cecilia Malmström said: “We believe that the changes agreed today to the legislation strengthen EU’s trade defence instruments and will ensure that our European industry will be well equipped to deal with the unfair competition they face from dumped and subsidised imports now and in the future. Having a new methodology in place for calculating dumping on imports from countries which have significant distortions in their economies is essential to address the realities of today’s international trading environment. The Commission has repeatedly stressed the importance of free, but fair, trade and the agreement today endorses that view. These negotiations have been tough at times and addressed some thorny issues but the speed with which this legislation was agreed is a testimony to our commitment that the EU must have effective tools to tackle unfair international trade. With today’s successful outcome, the EU will have an anti-dumping methodology in place which will deal head-on, with the market distortions which may exist in exporting economies.“
The new legislation introduces a new methodology for calculating dumping margins for imports from third countries in case of significant market distortions, or a pervasive State’s influence on the economy. The rules are formulated in a country-neutral way and in full compliance with the EU’s WTO obligations.
As of 1 October some Ukrainian agricultural and industrial goods will be exported to the EU market tariff-free.
This set of autonomous trade measures was proposed by the Commission and supported by the European Parliament and EU member States, in view of the difficult economic situation and the economic reform efforts undertaken by Ukraine. Commissioner for Trade Cecilia Malmström and the Trade Representative of Ukraine – Deputy Minister for Economic Development and Trade Nataliya Mykolska have today welcomed the entry into force of the autonomous trade measures of the EU for Ukraine. In a joint statement they said: “this is good news for Ukrainian exporters. Several important agricultural and industrial goods will now get better access to the EU market, as they can be exported tariff-free. This is an important sign of the EU’s continued, tangible economic and political support for the Ukrainian people, the country and its reform efforts.” The Regulation will be published tomorrow and will come into force on Sunday 1 October. The new measures will top up the quantities of agricultural products that Ukraine can export to the EU under the Association Agreement (AA) without paying customs duties. It will also accelerate the elimination of EU import tariffs for several industrial products as foreseen in the Association Agreement.
“This agreement encapsulates what we want our trade policy to be – an instrument for growth that benefits European companies and citizens, but also a tool to project our values, harness globalisation and shape global trade rules. This trade deal has been subject to an in-depth parliamentary scrutiny which reflects the increased interest of citizens in trade policy. The intense exchanges on CETA throughout this process are testimony to the democratic nature of European decision making and I expect Member States to conduct an inclusive and thorough discussion in the context of the ongoing national ratification processes of the agreement. Now it’s time for our companies and citizens to make the most out of this opportunity and for everyone to see how our trade policy can produce tangible benefits for everyone”. Said President of the European Commission Jean-Claude Juncker welcoming this milestone in the EU’s trade policy.
The Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (CETA) between the EU and Canada enters into force provisionally.
Commissioner for Trade Cecilia Malmström said: “Things are about to change for our exporters. The provisional entry into force allows EU companies and citizens to start reaping the benefits of this agreement right away. This is a positive signal for the global economy, with the potential to boost economic growth and create jobs. CETA is a modern and progressive agreement, underlining our commitment to free and fair trade based on values. It helps us shape globalisation and the rules that govern global commerce. Moreover, CETA underlines our strong commitment to sustainable development and protects the ability of our governments to regulate in the public interest. This agreement also vastly strengthens our relationship with Canada, a strategic partner and ally with whom we have deep historical and cultural ties.“
The provisional application of CETA on 21 September follows its approval by EU Member States, expressed in the Council, and by the European Parliament.
It will only enter into force fully and definitively, however, when all EU Member States have ratified the Agreement. The Commission will work with EU Member States and Canada to ensure its smooth and effective implementation.
Trade Commissioner Cecilia Malmström announced that the EU will launch an international Alliance for Torture-Free Trade. The initiative – a joint effort together with Argentina and Mongolia – aims to end trade in goods used for capital punishment and torture (e.g. batons with metal spikes, electric shock belts, and grabbers that seize people by the waist or limb while electrocuting them, chemicals used to execute people and the forced injection systems that go with them). The Alliance will be formally launched on 18 September during United Nations General Assembly week in New York.Over 50 UN member countries from all over the word are expected to join on launch day.
By signing up to the Alliance, countries will be agreeing to take measures to control and restrict exports of these goods, equip their customs authorities with appropriate tools, make technical assistance available to help other countries with setting up and implementing laws to ban this trade and exchange practices for efficient control and enforcement systems. The Alliance will also set up a platform to monitor trade flows, exchange information, and identify new products. The EU is committed to protecting human rights, and to the fight against torture and the abolition of the death penalty. The EU’s stringent legislation on trade in goods used for torture or the death penalty has already reaped results. Effort at the global level will make it even more efficient, as it will prevent its circumvention. More information about the initiative is available through a dedicated website: www.torturefreetrade.org.