“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.
“I have always said that form should follow function – this is not the time for long discussions about institutional reform or Treaty change. There are, however, a number of steps we can take to make the work of the European Union even more efficient in delivering on the key priorities that matter for Europeans. There are many options but the goal must be one and the same: creating a Europe that delivers.” Said European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker.
Ahead of the Informal Leaders’ meeting on 23 February 2018, the European Commission is today presenting a number of practical steps that could make the European Union’s work more efficient, and improve the connection between the leaders of the EU institutions and the citizens of Europe. Today’s contribution from the Commission sets out the different institutional options for improving the organisation of European elections and deepening the connection between the leaders of the EU institutions and the citizens of Europe – from lead candidates, to transnational lists all the way to a double-hatted President for the European Commission and European Council.
“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.
“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.
“The EU remains committed to the Paris Agreement and its full and swift implementation. Domestically, we are progressing steadily with the finalisation of the measures to reduce our emissions by at least 40% by 2030. Internationally, we are strengthening our existing partnerships and seeking new alliances. Our aim is to raise global climate ambition, follow through with concrete action and support our partners, in particular the most vulnerable countries.” Said Commissioner Miguel Arias Cañete.
The European Union, Canada and China are joining forces to strengthen global action in the fight against climate change. They will co-host a Ministerial Meeting on Climate Action on 15-16 September in Montreal, Canada. This gathering, a first of its kind, seeks to galvanise global momentum for the implementation of the Paris Agreement and will bring together ministers and high-level representatives from 34 economies that are part of the G20 and other invited countries. Commissioner for Climate Action and Energy Miguel Arias Cañete and Canada’s Prime Minister Justin Trudeau will jointly lead the roundtable discussion on climate action and clean growth. The meeting in Montreal takes place only days after this year’s State of the Union Address by Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker where he underlines that he “wants Europe to be the leader when it comes to the fight against climate change. Set against the collapse of ambition in the United States, Europe will ensure we make our planet great again. It is the shared heritage of all of humanity” (read #SOTEU2017 SPEECH/17/3165). Two months before the next United Nations climate conference (COP23) in Bonn, Germany, the meeting will also provide the space for discussions on the expected outcomes of upcoming UN climate talks.
“Determination is a virtue. Today, in spite of all the challenges, we have made it. With the entry into force of the Association Agreement with Ukraine, the European Union is delivering on its promise to our Ukrainian friends. I thank all those who made it possible: those who stood on Maidan and those who are working hard to reform the country for the better. This is a day of celebration for our European continent.” Said President of the European Commission, Jean-Claude Juncker.
The Association Agreement between the European Union and Ukraine enters fully into force. “Federica Mogherini, High Representative of the European Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy and Vice-President of the Commission, said: “Today marks the start of new chapter in our relationship. A closer association between the European Union and Ukraine means closer ties between our citizens, bigger markets and more opportunities for businesses and entrepreneurs, increased sharing of experience, information and expertise. It shows that we share the same values, that we have the same objectives, and that the Ukrainian people can count on the European Union’s support for the years to come.”
European Commissioner for European Neighbourhood Policy and Enlargement Negotiations Johannes Hahnsaid: “Generations of Ukrainian citizens to come will reap the benefits of closer association with the EU. The first concrete results of implementation of the Agreement can already be seen: Ukraine’s exports to the EU have increased and the EU has confirmed its position as Ukraine’s first trading partner. Ukraine’s recent reform efforts have been unprecedented, while much work remains such as in the fight against corruption, which must be pursued. The European Union will continue its support for Ukraine’s reform efforts, with both expertise and financial support.”The Association Agreement, including its Deep and Comprehensive Free Trade Area (DCFTA), is the main tool for bringing Ukraine and the EU closer together: it promotes deeper political ties and stronger economic links, as well as respect for common European values. The DCFTA provides a framework for modernising Ukraine’s trade relations and economic development by opening up markets and harmonising laws, standards and regulations with EU and international norms.
“After much hard work on both sides, I am proud of the progress we have made with our Swiss colleagues. As the world’s largest cap and trade system, we have always aimed to promote the growth of the international carbon market.” Said climate Action and Energy Commissioner Miguel Arias Cañete.
The EU has moved one step closer to linking its Emissions Trading System (EU ETS) for the first time. The Commission adopted two proposals to finalise an agreement with Switzerland on linking the EU ETS with the Swiss emissions trading system. Linking the European system with other systems expands opportunities for emissions reductions and reduces costs. Once the agreement with Switzerland takes effect, participants in the EU ETS will be able to use units from the Swiss system for compliance, and vice versa. Negotiations between the Commission and Switzerland opened in 2010. A linking agreement was initialled in January 2016 but the signature and conclusion of the agreement were put on hold following the Swiss referendum. Following high-level contacts and a change in Swiss legislation, a meeting between Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker and Swiss President Doris Leuthard in April (see press conference and SPEECH/17/897) opened the path for today’s decisions.
The Commission’s proposal for the signature of the agreement and a proposal for its conclusion (ratification) will now be discussed by the Council of Ministers of the European Union. The Council will require the consent of the European Parliament in order to conclude the agreement. Subject to final conclusion, the agreement could be signed before the end of the year. The entry into force would take place at the start of the year that follows ratification by both sides. The EU ETS is a key tool to tackle climate change with a view to reducing greenhouse gas emissions. It is the world’s first major carbon market and its biggest one. In October 2014, the European Council agreed on the 2030 climate and energy policy framework for the EU setting an ambitious economy-wide domestic target of at least 40% greenhouse gas emission reduction for 2030.
On 7-8 July, European Council President Donald Tusk and European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker met with other Group of Twenty (G20) leaders for a summit in Hamburg, Germany. This was the first such global meeting following the announcement by the US Administration of its intention to withdraw from the Paris Agreement on climate change.
Globalisation and technological change have contributed significantly to driving economic growth and raising living standards across the globe. However, globalisation has created challenges and its benefits have not been shared widely enough. By bringing together developed and emerging market economies, the G20 is determined to shape globalisation to benefit all people. Most importantly, we need to better enable our people to seize its opportunities.
EU is resolved to tackle common challenges to the global community, including terrorism, displacement, poverty, hunger and health threats, job creation, climate change, energy security, and inequality including gender inequality, as a basis for sustainable development and stability. We will continue to work
together with others, including developing countries, to address these challenges, building on the rules- based international order.
Expanding on the results of previous presidencies, in particular the 2016 G20 Summit in Hangzhou, EU decided to take concrete actions to advance the three aims of building resilience, improving sustainability and assuming responsibility.