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Trade defence | Brussels, 4 November 2020

Commission introduces surveillance of imports of bioethanol, and remains open to examining requests from other sectors

As from today, the Commission is introducing surveillance of imports into the EU of renewable fuel ethanol (‘bioethanol’). In the context of the economic downturn caused by COVID-19, imports of bioethanol have significantly increased in the last months, at low prices. The European bioethanol industry has provided evidence that a further increase in imports would cause economic damage to the sector. The Commission has therefore taken immediate steps to enable tracking of import volumes, which will enable the bioethanol industry to better assess the situation.

Executive Vice-President and Commissioner for Trade Valdis Dombrovskis said: “Our economies are still affected by the consequences of the pandemic and our recovery process should not be stalled by the distortive trade practices of third countries. This is why we must closely monitor any trade developments that potentially arise from unfair competition. This is the case with bioethanol today, but other industries may soon also require import surveillance so they can be better shielded from these unwelcome practices.”

The Commission's surveillance of imports is not a measure which restricts imports. It provides quick monitoring of development of imports for specific products. The data will be made publically available. It should help industries to have a better overview of the situation in their sector and give them fact-based information to help them explore the need for further actions.

The introduction of surveillance follows a request made by France on behalf of the European bioethanol industry. The industry has provided sufficient information showing that there was a recent and significant increase of imports, and indications that these imports would cause economic injury.

The implementing act, endorsed by Member States and published today, provides for surveillance from all countries of origin for a period of one year. The import statistics will we made available on the Commission's website on a monthly basis.

As other EU industries may face comparable situations, the Commission remains open to examining any duly supported requests. European economic sectors able to provide sufficient initial evidence of significant adverse impact and injury caused by a recent increase of import can avail themselves of the possibility for import surveillance.

Based on the EU legal framework, these requests should however be channelled via EU Member States. The Commission hereby confirms its availability to provide stakeholders with adequate monitoring tools to anticipate trade pressures on other sectors of the European economy.