Monday

15th Oct 2018

Focus

EU takes aim at China with new tariff rules

  • Steel over-capacity in China has resulted in massive exports to Europe. (Photo: Thyssengroup)

EU countries discussed new rules to combat dumping on Thursday (11 May) that would target cheap imports from countries such as China.

The new rules, first proposed by the European Commission last November, are designed to solve the problem of China’s so-called market economy status.

Read and decide

Join EUobserver today

Support quality EU news

Get instant access to all articles — and 18 year's of archives. 30 days free trial.

... or join as a group

China says it should have been recognised as a market economy as of last December in accordance with the pact it entered into when joining the World Trade Organisation (WTO) in 2001.

That new status would change the criteria for determining what was a “fair price” for exports and would make it harder for the EU to impose anti-dumping duties on Chinese goods sold at low prices.

It would also shift the burden of proof to European companies to provide evidence of market distortions.

The Commission proposal said the old EU system, based on a list of market economies and non-market economies, should be scrapped in favour of a new “country-neutral” method.

That method would allow it to impose anti-dumping duties no matter what the exporting state called itself.

"The new anti-dumping methodology is a clear and unequivocal answer to our citizens concerns ... Europe is acting to protect our families and businesses from unfair trade and competition in a sustainable manner,” Maltese economy minister Christian Cardona said on Thursday.

Malta currently holds the EU’s rotating presidency.

Cardona added that the new method should not be interpreted as a protectionist move.

The method says anti-dumping tariffs can be imposed on countries whose market is plagued with “significant distortions”.

These could include state policies, widespread presence of state-owned enterprises, cheap financing, and discrimination in favour of domestic companies.

EU countries agreed to add other criteria on Thursday, such as inadequate enforcement of bankruptcy, corporate, or property laws to the list.

When significant distortions happen, the Commission would still be able to investigate and correct them.

To help European companies file complaints with the EU if they think dumping occurs, the Commission would draft reports on countries and sectors describing the distortions, which companies could then refer to.

China is one of the first countries on which the Commission is expected to conduct such a report.

"China is not a market economy, this proposal is not giving it market economy status,” EU trade commissioner Cecilia Malmstroem said on Thursday after the council meeting.

“We want to respect the obligations of the WTO, we are abolishing the old lists that we have on market economy and non-market economy countries, and we treat the anti-dumping method differently,” she added.

"China is one of the countries where there is dumping, and where we think they are not playing fairly, so yes, China could be a country we look at,” she said.

The European Parliament is also finalising its position on the new method, with member states and MEPs expected to start talks on the final version of the rules after the end of June.

EU officials said the aim was to impose duties similar to levels in place under the old market economy regime.

June summit

Discussions on the new method come at a time when China and the EU are jointly pushing to protect global free trade.

The EU and China will hold a summit in Brussels on 2 June, the first since the election of US President Donald Trump, who said he would put “America first” in his trade policies.

The EU and China have also showed support for the Paris climate deal in the wake of Trump’s threat to withdraw from the global warming accord.

China is looking to the EU to fill a global leadership vacuum as the US becomes more inward looking.

But the EU has remained wary of China over a variety of issues, including massive steel exports that threatened European businesses.

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.

Opinion

Steel overcapacity crisis - from Europe to China

While the debate has escalated about China’s steel overcapacity, it is not exactly new. The first postwar steel crisis occurred in the US and Europe. Beijing seeks to avoid a deja vu of bad policies.

Opinion

Why the EU doesn't get China's Belt and Road

It is not enough for European officials to simply tell the press that they do not understand the Belt and Road – the vision is clear enough, the point is to decide how to engage with it.

EU-China united on climate, divided on trade

Within 24 hours of Trump announcing that the US will pull out of the Paris climate accord, EU and Chinese leaders presented a united front on fighting climate change. But divergence on trade plagues the new alliance.

News in Brief

  1. Le Pen warms towards cooperation with Bannon
  2. Bettel set to stay in power in Luxembourg after election
  3. EU-UK Brexit deal talks paused
  4. Macedonian parliament to vote on name change Monday
  5. Swedish opposition leader gives up on forming government
  6. Commission confirms: no record of Juncker speech seminar
  7. Ukraine splits from Russian orthodox church
  8. Polish doctor wins landmark pro-life case in Norway

Supported by

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. International Partnership for Human RightsOpen letter to Emmanuel Macron ahead of Uzbek president's visit
  2. International Partnership for Human RightsRaising key human rights concerns during visit of Turkmenistan's foreign minister
  3. NORDIC COUNCIL OF MINISTERSState of the Nordic Region presented in Brussels
  4. NORDIC COUNCIL OF MINISTERSThe vital bioeconomy. New issue of “Sustainable Growth the Nordic Way” out now
  5. NORDIC COUNCIL OF MINISTERSThe Nordic gender effect goes international
  6. NORDIC COUNCIL OF MINISTERSPaula Lehtomaki from Finland elected as the Council's first female Secretary General
  7. NORDIC COUNCIL OF MINISTERSNordic design sets the stage at COP24, running a competition for sustainable chairs.
  8. Counter BalanceIn Kenya, a motorway funded by the European Investment Bank runs over roadside dwellers
  9. ACCACompany Law Package: Making the Best of Digital and Cross Border Mobility,
  10. International Partnership for Human RightsCivil Society Worried About Shortcomings in EU-Kyrgyzstan Human Rights Dialogue
  11. UNESDAThe European Soft Drinks Industry Supports over 1.7 Million Jobs
  12. Mission of China to the EUJointly Building Belt and Road Initiative Leads to a Better Future for All

Latest News

  1. Daily reality in Western Sahara - and how EU can protect it
  2. Bavarian election puts Merkel on defensive
  3. It's time for the EU to stand up to transnational corporations
  4. Tug of war between 'top-down' and 'bottom-up' cohesion money
  5. 'Macron vs Orban' is no quick fix for EU democracy
  6. Brexit and sanctions at EU summit This WEEK
  7. EU looks at Morocco and Tunisia to offload migrants
  8. EU urged to seize assets of foreign hackers

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. International Partnership for Human RightsCivil society asks PACE to appoint Rapporteur to probe issue of political prisoners in Azerbaijan
  2. ACCASocial Mobility – How Can We Increase Opportunities Through Training and Education?
  3. Nordic Council of MinistersEnergy Solutions for a Greener Tomorrow
  4. UNICEFWhat Kind of Europe Do Children Want? Unicef & Eurochild Launch Survey on the Europe Kids Want
  5. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic Countries Take a Stand for Climate-Smart Energy Solutions
  6. Mission of China to the EUChina: Work Together for a Better Globalisation
  7. Nordic Council of MinistersNordics Could Be First Carbon-Negative Region in World
  8. European Federation of Allergy and AirwaysLife Is Possible for Patients with Severe Asthma
  9. PKEE - Polish Energy AssociationCommon-Sense Approach Needed for EU Energy Reform
  10. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic Region to Lead in Developing and Rolling Out 5G Network
  11. Mission of China to the EUChina-EU Economic and Trade Relations Enjoy a Bright Future
  12. ACCAEmpowering Businesses to Engage with Sustainable Finance and the SDGs

Join EUobserver

Support quality EU news

Join us