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Trade defence | 31 July 2018

Europe that protects: Commission reports on its efforts to tackle unfair trade

The Commission published today its annual report on trade defence activities. As part of Commission’s commitment to "Europe that protects", the report details how the EU used its anti-dumping and anti-subsidy measures in 2017 to ensure a level-playing field for European companies, in line with the requirements of the World Trade Organisation.

The number of new investigations remained at a high level, similar to 2016, while the number of investigations initiated to see whether the existing measures should be extended for a new period (known as 'expiry reviews') increased by 75% compared to the year before.

European industry, suffering from dumped imports, in some cases exacerbated by persisting industrial overcapacities, as well as the pervasive use of subsidies in certain countries, continued to call on the Commission to provide relief by making use of the EU's trade defence instruments. In total, at the end of 2017, the Commission had 46 investigations ongoing.

While shielding its companies from foreign unfair trade practices, the EU remains an open market. The anti-dumping and anti-subsidy measures do not concern more than 0.31% of total imports into the EU. 2017 stood out also in terms of legislative activity. It led to the introduction of a new anti-dumping methodology for countries where serious market distortions occur.

This new regulation in place since December 2017 was followed by the publication of a report on significant market distortions existing in China. Last but not least, 2017 paved the way for the modernisation of EU trade defence instruments, in place since June 2018. Taken together, these changes constitute a major overhaul of the EU's trade defence policy that equipped the EU with sufficiently robust trade defence instruments to deal with distortions in the global economy.

The full report is available online (also in all EU languages)
Read also the Staff working document