Current portal location

Website content

News archive

Trade defence | Brussels, 4 June 2014

Latest Trade Defence Report reveals significant increase in trade defence actions taken by third countries against EU exports

The European Commission’s latest annual report on trade defence actions taken by non-EU countries against EU exports shows that there has been a considerable increase of activity against EU exports in 2013. The report also highlights the main achievements where the Commission has successfully defended European exporters by contributing to avoid the imposition of measures or at least minimize their negative effects on EU exports.

At the end of 2013 there was a total of 152 measures in force against the EU or its Member States. This is an increase of 14 measures compared to the previous year. The number of measures had followed a decreasing trend in the period 2005-2009, but since then it has been constantly rising – with the only exception in 2012 – and now it is back at its 2005 level. The new measures in 2013 were mostly anti-dumping. India remained the most prolific user of trade defence against the EU or its Member States, closely followed by China, which every year has increased its number of measures against the EU.

The report, the eleventh of its kind submitted by the Commission to the European Parliament, also sets out what the Commission has done to safeguard the rights of EU exporters and the proper use of the trade defence instruments. The World Trade Organization (WTO) rules allow its members to use trade defence instruments but, if not applied properly, they turn into protectionist tools. The Commission’s monitoring actions range from technical interventions in on-going investigations to – as a last resort – WTO dispute settlement proceedings when the issues are important and no other solution can be found.

The main achievements in 2013 involve the repeal of two measures (one anti-dumping in China and one anti-subsidy in Peru) as a result of successful WTO Panel proceedings, which were requested by the EU given the importance and the systemic nature of the issues at stake. The Commission’s action also contributed to the termination of several investigations without measures being imposed, or the level of the measures being significantly reduced.

The report also highlights several problems of a systemic nature that persist in the use of TDI by third countries. Despite the Commission’s interventions at various levels, some basic WTO rules are still not being applied strictly enough. This results in unduly restricted market access for EU exporters. Just like in previous years, the retaliatory nature of some Chinese investigations continues to be a cause for concern. The high number of newly initiated safeguard cases is also worrying: investigations are often initiated on a weak basis and the mere initiation of an investigation – even if not followed by measures – has a negative impact on normal trade flows. The Commission also remains concerned that some countries continue to initiate parallel anti-dumping and safeguard investigations on the same product as well as systematically extend the application of safeguard measures to the maximum period allowed under the WTO Safeguards Agreement.

The Commission remains committed to ensure full and fair market access in third countries. Fighting unwarranted trade defence measures will remain at the forefront of these efforts.

For further information

The guide for exporters

The 11th annual report

The annexes to the report