Friday

22nd Nov 2019

EU seeks to strengthen measures on Chinese dumping

  • The EU is trying to protect itself from massive Chinese steel imports (Photo: Tata Steel Europe)

The European Commission presented new anti-dumping measures on Wednesday (9 November) that are mainly aimed at countering Chinese steel imports.

The commission wants to change the way it calculates dumping when products come from a country where the economy is distorted because of state intervention.

Read and decide

Join EUobserver today

Support quality EU news

Get instant access to all articles — and 20 year's of archives. 30-day free trial.

... or join as a group

According to the proposal, the EU will scrap the usual distinction made between countries with a market economy status (MES) and countries which are not recognised as such. It proposes treating all members of the World Trade Organisation (WTO) in the same way.


So the EU will continue to impose anti-dumping duties on products from WTO countries when it is proved that these products enter the EU at dumped prices.

It will also continue to apply the standard rules by which dumping is calculated by comparing the price of an imported product with its domestic price in the exporting country.

But when the state intervenes in a country's domestic market, the EU will also compare the price of a product imported to the EU with its price on another comparable market - the US, for example. Until now that methodology was applied only to non-market economy countries.

This country-neutral system will allow the EU to face Chinese cheap imports independently of the communist-run country's status inside the WTO.


China says it is entitled to get the MES at the end of this year, 15 years after it joined the WTO.

The EU, which has been debating the issue since the start of the year, is wary of recognising China as a market economy, but is obliged to respect WTO rules.

Faced with an influx of Chinese imports that destabilises EU industry, especially in the steel sector, and an anti-trade backlash in public opinion, the commission is trying to find a middle way.

It said in July that the most important issue was not China's status but how the EU can defend itself. The country-neutral system is how it wants to achieve that.

The anti-dumping reform also runs in parallel to a discussion between member states over so-called trade defence instruments, in particular the level of duties on imports, that was revived by EU leaders at their last summit in October to address growing opposition to free trade.

"We need to be able, when needed, to shield our manufacturers from unfair competition," EU trade commissioner Cecilia Malmstroem told journalists on Wednesday.

She said the EU had to find "the right balance between openness and robust trade defence instruments".

China will not be treated as a non-market economy any more, but will still be subject to special investigations when the EU suspects that it trades products under market prices.

"This does not mean today we say that China is a market economy. It clearly isn't," she said.

Specific distortions

The new method "takes into account specific distortions due to state intervention in a country or a sector", Malmstroem explained.

"When a state has such control [on its economy] that the prices and cost of exported goods do not reflect market realities, we will be able to intervene."

China reacted in a lukewarm way to the proposal. It said that it did "not completely nullify [China's] ‘surrogate country’ status, it merely allows the status quo to covertly continue".

European industries were even more critical.


“Instead of improving efficiency and ensuring effectiveness of EU anti-dumping measures, the commission’s new proposal makes European industries even more vulnerable,” said Milan Nitzschke, the spokesman for AEGIS Europe, a federation of 30 manufacturing industries.

He said that the reform "completely abandons" market economy criteria and "substantially weakens the basis for EU anti-dumping measures".

EU still divided on Chinese steel

Despite growing political pressure, trade ministers at a meeting Friday are not expected to reinforce EU trade defense against Chinese dumping.

EUobserved

The EU and China's velvet power

China is pushing its influence through the New Silk Road project and wooing of world media.

Ceta failure deepens EU trade crisis

Canada said on Friday that the free-trade agreement with the EU had failed and that the bloc was "not capable" of concluding agreements.

Opinion

EU dumping plan could ensure fairer China trade

A European Commission proposal on anti-dumping clears the way for the EU to abide by international obligations and avoid a trade war that would be dangerously counterproductive.

EU delays decision on trade defence

Trade ministers send a discussion on the level of import duties back to diplomats, also admitting that TTIP talks with the US are "in the freezer".

News in Brief

  1. EU parliament votes on new commission next week
  2. Berlusconi wants Europe to be a military global power
  3. Orban ordered to apologise over 'misleading' Soros survey
  4. EPP to decide on expelling Fidesz by end of January
  5. Rowdy anti-corruption protest in Malta
  6. Ambassador: Trump ordered Ukraine election meddling
  7. EU links Libyan government to human trafficking
  8. Greek PM on migration: 'Greece has reached its limits'

Opinion

Why von der Leyen must put rights at core of business

Ursula von der Leyen's in-tray must include those European executives on trial for systematic workplace harassment, the break-up of European slavery rings, and allegations of European companies' abuse in palm oil, including child labour, land grabs, and deforestation.

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. Nordic Council of MinistersEarmarked paternity leave – an effective way to change norms
  2. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic Climate Action Weeks in December
  3. UNESDAUNESDA welcomes Nicholas Hodac as new Director General
  4. Nordic Council of MinistersBrussels welcomes Nordic culture
  5. UNESDAUNESDA appoints Nicholas Hodac as Director General
  6. UNESDASoft drinks industry co-signs Circular Plastics Alliance Declaration
  7. FEANIEngineers Europe Advisory Group: Building the engineers of the future
  8. Nordic Council of MinistersNew programme studies infectious diseases and antibiotic resistance
  9. UNESDAUNESDA reduces added sugars 11.9% between 2015-2017
  10. International Partnership for Human RightsEU-Uzbekistan Human Rights Dialogue: EU to raise key fundamental rights issues
  11. Nordic Council of MinistersNo evidence that social media are harmful to young people
  12. Nordic Council of MinistersCanada to host the joint Nordic cultural initiative 2021

Latest News

  1. EPP congress pledges 'moderate' climate solution
  2. EPP wants to re-open accession talks with Balkans
  3. New EU financial instruments needed
  4. Binding measures to expand gender balance
  5. Watershed moment for rule of law in Hong Kong
  6. EU Africa envoy: Europe needs to look beyond migration
  7. New calls for Muscat to resign over journalist's murder
  8. Tusk pledges 'fight' for EU values as new EPP president

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. Vote for the EU Sutainable Energy AwardsCast your vote for your favourite EUSEW Award finalist. You choose the winner of 2019 Citizen’s Award.
  2. Nordic Council of MinistersEducation gets refugees into work
  3. Counter BalanceSign the petition to help reform the EU’s Bank
  4. UNICEFChild rights organisations encourage candidates for EU elections to become Child Rights Champions
  5. UNESDAUNESDA Outlines 2019-2024 Aspirations: Sustainability, Responsibility, Competitiveness
  6. Counter BalanceRecord citizens’ input to EU bank’s consultation calls on EIB to abandon fossil fuels
  7. International Partnership for Human RightsAnnual EU-Turkmenistan Human Rights Dialogue takes place in Ashgabat
  8. Nordic Council of MinistersNew campaign: spot, capture and share Traces of North
  9. Nordic Council of MinistersLeading Nordic candidates go head-to-head in EU election debate
  10. Nordic Council of MinistersNew Secretary General: Nordic co-operation must benefit everybody
  11. Platform for Peace and JusticeMEP Kati Piri: “Our red line on Turkey has been crossed”
  12. UNICEF2018 deadliest year yet for children in Syria as war enters 9th year

Join EUobserver

Support quality EU news

Join us