EU ushers in new trade defense rules

Legislation | 12 June 2018

The EU has brought new trade defense rules into force to help the union take more decisive action over unfair trading practices.


The European Union has announced that new and more stringent trade defense rules have been brought into effect, as of June 8th.

These modernized anti-dumping and anti-subsidy rules will enable the EU to impose higher duties in some cases by changing the lesser duty rule, while also shortening investigation periods, increasing transparency and predictability, and ushering in higher environmental and social standards.

Under the new rules, the current nine-month investigation period will be shortened to seven months for the imposition of provisional measures. Companies will benefit from an early warning system telling them if provisional duties will be imposed, while smaller and medium-sized companies will be able to access a new helpdesk service to make it easier for them to participate in trade defense proceedings.

Meanwhile, the lesser duty rule will be tweaked to allow higher duties to be applied where appropriate, with this change applying to all anti-subsidy cases, as well as anti-dumping cases concerning imports produced using raw materials and energy provided at an artificially low price.

Finally, costs of compliance associated with EU social and environmental legislation will now be taken into account when calculating duties according to economic damage caused to companies. Price undertakings will no longer be accepted from countries with poor labor rights and environmental standards, while trade unions will be able to participate in trade defense investigations for the first time.

European Commission president Jean-Claude Juncker said: "The EU believes in open and fair trade, but we are not naive free traders. We have shown our teeth when we had to by adopting anti-dumping and anti-subsidy measures and now we have new and improved trade defense rules in our arsenal to face down some of today's challenges in global trade.

"Make no mistake - we will do whatever it takes to defend European producers and workers when others distort the market or don't play by the rules."