Global Fastener News

EU Moves to Strengthen Trade Regulations

EU Moves to Strengthen Trade Regulations
October 31
16:33 2016

The European Commission issued proposals to substantially strengthen its antidumping defense and bring duty levels closer to those imposed by the United States.

The Commission’s paper “Towards a robust trade policy for the EU in the interest of jobs and growth” calls on EU member states to support updated, strengthened and more robust trade defense instruments, the European-based Fastener+Fixing Magazine executive editor Phil Matten reported.

_70233868_eunames“Our current rules are proving insufficient to combat the foreign competition,” Commission president Jean-Claude Juncker said. “Some EU industries have lost thousands of jobs. We cannot stay idle. The EU’s trade defense rules require an urgent update.”

The proposals include removing the “Lesser Duty Rule,” which requires antidumping duties to be at the minimum level necessary to eliminate injury, Matten noted.

As a result, EU antidumping tariffs are often far lower than those applied by the U.S. on comparable products. For example, the EU applied average anti dumping duties of 21.1% on certain cold rolled flat steel products, whereas U.S. duties averaged 265.8%.

The Commission also does not want to grant ‘market economy status’ to any country, but will instead introduce new methodology for calculating dumping on imports from countries where there are market distortion, Matten explained. This suggests it will retain the method of comparing costs with an analogue country that resulted in 85% antidumping duties on carbon steel fasteners from China in 2009.

Other proposals include the strengthening of anti subsidy investigative powers, Matten said.

“Within existing regulations the EU has already accelerated the timescale to apply provisional antidumping duties on steel products and in recent cases applied backdated definitive duties,” Matten reported. “It has also introduced import-licensing requirements on a wide range of steel products including fasteners.”

EU antidumping duties on imports of carbon steel fasteners, originally applied in 2009 on imports from China, were repealed in February. The announcement, which caused consternation amongst EU fastener producers, followed four EU defeats at the WTO Dispute Settlement Body.

Matten noted that at the time the Commission “made assurances assured it would look favorably on an application for a new investigation. However, the WTO setbacks have almost certainly made the Commission intent on ensuring it has clear-cut evidence of renewed dumping before initiating an investigation.”

“If the Commission is successful in winning support for its proposals the one thing that appears certain about the next investigation on fasteners, whenever it takes place, is it will be tougher, faster and result in substantial duty levels,” Matten explained.

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