EU, Japan and US pledge to tackle market-distorting, protectionist trade practices

Imports and Exports | 14 December 2017

The EU, Japan and US have vowed to cooperate on eliminating market-distorting and protectionist trade practices that may be contributing to global overcapacities.

Ministers from the European Union, US and Japan have vowed to work together more closely to crack down on practices that are holding back efforts to promote free global trade.

During a meeting held at the margins of the ministerial conference of the World Trade Organization (WTO) in Buenos Aires, EU commissioner for trade Cecilia Malmstrom met with US trade representative Robert Lighthizer, while Japan's minister for the economy, trade and industry Hiroshige Seko discussed the need to tackle unfair trading practices by other global players in order to ensure a level playing field.

Following on from these talks, the three regions have pledged to further their trilateral cooperation through the WTO and in other forums to eliminate any unfair market-distorting and protectionist practices by other nations.

A joint statement said: "We shared the view that severe excess capacity in key sectors exacerbated by government-financed and supported capacity expansion, unfair competitive conditions caused by large market-distorting subsidies and state-owned enterprises, forced technology transfer, and local content requirements and preferences are serious concerns for the proper functioning of international trade, the creation of innovative technologies and the sustainable growth of the global economy."

It is hoped that this renewed collaboration will align with the EU's efforts to tackle overcapacity issues in key sectors on a global level, including the steps it has recently taken to create a fairer approach to steel policies.

The recent meeting of the Global Forum on Steel Excess Capacity in Berlin resulted in an ambitious package of concrete policy solutions being agreed to tackle the issue of global overcapacity, a concern that has been raised on several occasions by European Commission president Jean-Claude Juncker at both bilateral and multilateral levels.