Trade defence instruments
Commission looking to address retaliation threats
By Lénaïc Vaudin d’Imécourt | Thursday 10 May 2012
The modernisation of the EU’s trade defence instruments (TDIs) could include measures to protect European companies from trade retaliation threats from state-run economies, such as China and Russia, Trade Commissioner Karel De Gucht said, on 10 May.
“It is undeniable that many European companies are unwilling to come forward and make justified trade defence complaints due to fear of consequences for their business,” De Gucht explained, as “the consequences can be serious for companies that export to or invest in the country in question”.
To address these concerns, the Commission is looking at ways to “step up in and launch cases on its own initiative”. With the EU taking the lead in said initiatives, “no government could blame a European company for the launch of a case,” De Gucht noted. “The flip side, of course, is that we would need tough rules to oblige reticent companies to cooperate with us.”
The EU is the third most frequent user of TDIs after India and the US, with 10.7% of all TDI investigations and 9.4% of all measures imposed.
The EU launched a public consultation, on 3 April, on ways to modernise its trade defence instruments. The consultation process is due to end on 3 July and will lead to a proposal later in the year. Six main themes have been identified in the Commision’s questionnaire: further increase of transparency and predictability; fight against retaliation; effectiveness and enforcement; facilitating cooperation; optimising review practices; and codification.