On 3 April 2012, the European Commission’s Directorate General for Trade (DG TRADE) launched a consultation on the “modernisation” of its trade defence instruments.
DG TRADE has issued a questionnaire seeking the views of all stakeholders on how it should improve EU trade defence actions against imports alleged to be unfair and harmful to EU companies and sectors. The questionnaire asks specifically for views on the strengths and weaknesses of the current trade defence rules, ways to avoid foreign government retaliation against EU interests when actions are taken and the criteria the Commission should use if it were to self-initiate an action. Although not stated in its request for views, the Commission is reportedly considering self-initiating an anti-subsidy and anti-dumping investigation for the first time ever (said to be aimed at China’s telecommunication sector).
The opportunity for comment should be of interest to all producers in the European Union, their suppliers and downstream users and all companies, anywhere in the world, involved in trade with the European Union. The deadline for responding to the questionnaire is 3 July 2012.
McDermott Will & Emery, which has extensive experience in EU trade defence actions, is following this initiative closely and is well positioned to assist with responses. Please let us know if we can assist.
On 10 May 2012, the Commission will be hosting a seminar on the consultation. Trade lawyers from McDermott Will & Emery will be attending and we will keep you updated on developments.