Trade defence to give level playing field to EU companies

  • Compliance with international fiscal, labour and environmental standards
  • No additional burden of proof on EU companies than at present

Protecting EU jobs and industry against unfair competition requires tougher anti‑dumping rules, Trade Committee MEPs say in a resolution adopted on Tuesday. 

An exporting country’s fiscal, social and environmental standards need to be taken into account when assessing its trade practices, MEPs say. Accordingly, they amended a Commission proposal responding to the controversy around China’s market economy status and to unfair trade practices from other third countries with a heavy state interference in the economy.

Laying down new rules for the calculation of import duties, MEPs, among other things, propose: 

  • Anti‑dumping investigations need to take into account the exporting country’s compliance with international labour, fiscal and environmental international standards, potential discriminatory measures against foreign investments, effective company law, property rights and tax and bankruptcy regime,
  • The EU Commission must issue a detailed report describing the specific situation in a certain country or sector for which the calculation of duties will be applied.
  • There should be no additional burden of proof on EU companies in anti‑dumping cases, on top of the current procedure to be followed when asking the Commission to launch an investigation.

The amendments were approved by 33 votes to 3 with 2 abstentions.


“EU businesses deserve better protection from unfair trade practices, which endanger jobs and investments all over Europe. Free global trade is only to our benefit if everyone play by the rules. By creating clear and tough anti-dumping rules, we can protect citizens from the negative effects of globalisation”, said rapporteur Salvatore Cicu (EPP, IT). 

Next Steps

Parliament will start talks with EU ministers based on this mandate, if there are no objections at the July plenary session in Strasbourg.

Quick facts 

The expiry in December 2016 of parts of China’s 2001 World Trade Organisation (WTO) accession protocol called into question whether WTO members can treat China as a non-market economy and calculate anti‑dumping measures accordingly. The new rules would use the same anti‑dumping methodology for all WTO members regardless of whether they have market economy status, but will target countries where “significant market distortion” exists, i.e. where prices are not market-based due to state interference. 

EU jobs and businesses have been under immense pressure due to China’s excess production capacity and subsidised economy, especially in the steel sector. Most anti-dumping cases launched by the EU have been against Beijing.MEPs urged the Commission to counter unfair competition from China in a way that complies with WTO rules in a resolution in May 2016. Broader plans to update the EU’s “trade defence instruments” with a view to raising tariffs against dumped or subsidised imports are currently being negotiated with EU ministers. 

Procedure:  Co-decision, first-reading


Further information

The adopted text will be available here

Press Release: China’s proposed market economy status: defend EU industry and jobs, urge MEPS (12.05.2016.)

Press release: Market economy status for China: MEPs call for fair competition safeguards (10.05.2016.)

EPRS Briefing: Protection from dumped and subsidised imports (23 January 2017)

EP Study: New trade rules for China? Opportunities and threats for the EU (2016)

EU-China trade picture (by the Commission)

Profile of rapporteur Salvatore Cicu (EPP, IT)

Committee on International Trade

  • Source : europarl.europa.eu
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