Chapter News

A robust trade policy for jobs and growth

The Commission urged Member States to support proposals to strengthen European defences against unfair trade. The College also discussed the latest developments regarding the EU-Canada trade agreement (CETA) and appointed the members of the European Fiscal Board.

Trade Defence Instruments

The Commission today called upon Member States to support its efforts to provide the European Union with updated, strengthened and more robust trade defence instruments. Ahead of the European Council (20-21 October), the Commission details its arguments in a Communication“Towards a robust trade policy for the EU in the interest of jobs and growth”.

Despite the fact that the European Commission has been using the available trade defence instruments toolbox to its full extent, these have proven insufficient to deal with the huge overcapacities that result in dumped exports on the EU market. The EU is and wants to remain the biggest trading bloc in the world. But trade must be based on fair conditions. The EU accounts for 15% of world imports (second only to the United States), yet the EU’s trade defence measures correspond to only 7,8% of those in place worldwide and affect a mere 0,21% of the imports. When it comes to implementing measures to defend jobs on its territory, no trade bloc exercises a similar level of self-restraint, due to the limitations imposed by the current legislation.

The necessary modernisation of trade defence instruments can be achieved through the swift adoption of the Commission’s proposal tabled in 2013. The Council has to this date not been able to find an agreement, notably because of the controversial narrowing down of the scope of application of the “Lesser Duty Rule”, which caps the levels of anti-dumping duties.

The European Commission also outlined today that it will propose, by the end of the year, a new method for calculating dumping on imports from countries where there are market distortions, or where the state has a pervasive influence on the economy. This method will not grant ‘market economy status’ to any country but ensure that the EU’s trade defence instruments are adapted to face the new challenges and legal and economic realities, while maintaining an equivalent level of protection.

The Commission also announced that it will propose a further strengthening of the EU anti-subsidy legislation so that in future cases, any new subsidies revealed in the course of an investigation can also be investigated and included in the final duties imposed.

Preparation of the European Council (20-21 October)

The Commission held a discussion ahead of the European Council where migration, trade and relations with Russia will dominate the meeting agenda.

European Fiscal Board

The College formally appointed the members of the European Fiscal Board. Building on the Five Presidents’ Report on completing European Economic and Monetary Union, the Commission decided last October to set up this independent advisory board on fiscal matters.

EU-Canada trade agreement (CETA)

The College discussed the latest developments regarding the efforts to sign, ratify and provisionally apply the Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement between the EU and Canada, the best and most progressive trade agreement the EU has ever negotiated.

Compliments of the European Commission