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Thursday, 06 February 2014

A major step forward in protecting EU trade interests

The Members of European Parliament (MEPs) appealed the European Union to adopt tougher measures against unfair imports from third countries, in a plenary session on 5 February.
The MEPs passed amendments requesting tougher tariffs against environmental or social dumping, and against dumping assisted by third country export subsidies. The MEPs insisted that the EU should be able to impose stiffer duties on dumped or subsidized imported goods if the exporting third country “does not have a sufficient level of social and environmental standards”, assessed on the basis of environmental and labour rights conventions. However, the EU should enforce more moderate duties when the subsidized imports come from a least-developed country wishing to pursue its “legitimate development goals.”
The EU should also do much more to assist small firms to benefit from EU measures on unfair imports from third countries. The MEPs suggested creating an SME help desk to aid SMEs to file complaints and to provide guidance in investigation proceedings. The proposed help desk could even assist business sectors consisting largely of SMEs to put together the initial evidence of economic injury required to justify launching an anti-dumping investigation.
Rapporteur Christofer Fjellner (EPP, SV) declared, “we've been reviewing the most controversial part of the EU trade policy - trade defence instruments - which normally take the form of anti-dumping tariffs. High-profile cases such as the 47 per cent anti-dumping duty on imported Chinese solar panels are pushing this review ever higher up the political agenda. We have struck good compromises in most cases, from transparency to more scrutiny rights for  Parliament, and have also substantially improved help for small firms.”
Now the MEPs will start the legislative negotiations with the Council to update the EU trade defence law, in order to reach a first reading agreement. The goal is to agree on the new regulation addressing unfair imports from third countries before the end of the current legislative term.