Trade Defence Instruments
What is it?
World Trade Organisation (WTO) law recognises three principal trade defence instruments (TDI): anti-dumping, anti-subsidy and safeguard instruments. The European Commission monitors the application of these instruments, follows up the enforcement of measures and negotiates future international rules with EU trading partners. Anti-dumping rules are designed to allow countries to take action against dumped imports that cause or threaten to cause material injury to domestic industry. Goods are said to be dumped when they are sold for export at less than their normal value. The normal value is usually defined as the price for the same goods in the exporter’s home market. Anti-subsidy measures allow importing countries to take action against certain kinds of subsidised imports. Broadly speaking, ‘subsidies’ are defined as financial assistance from a government to a company or group of companies.
Why is it important?
While we understand that there are a number of improvements that could be made to the existing anti-dumping and anti-subsidy systems, Orgalime would advise against a TDI reform that would increase the technical complexity of the existing system. When working on the current reform of European Trade Defence Instruments, the European Commission and member states should uphold the balanced approach of the existing solutions, and remain committed to tackling unfair trade.
In Orgalime’s view, the current basic regulations already provide the European Commission with the essential means to ensure accessibility, transparency, speed and clarity of TDI proceedings. While Orgalime generally supports the European Commission’s current approach in trade defence cases, we believe that the main acting impulse in TDI investigations should come from companies. We are against the imposition of sanctions in cases of non-cooperation by companies and we do not believe that fear of retaliation from third parties (governments) would be averted by the initiation of ex-officio investigations.
How we’ve been engaged
In response to the European Commission’s proposal on the TDI reform, Orgalime has issued a position paper, in which we advocate against a TDI reform that would result in an increase in the technical complexity of the existing system. We have been involved in conferences and workshops on the subject, and we monitor developments, especially from the Council and European Parliament. Orgalime is taking part in various working groups and business platforms that are being consulted on the TDI reform.