Commissioner for Climate Action and Energy Miguel Arias Cañete will visit the People’s Republic of China, from 29 March to 2 April. During his visit, he will hold political talks in Beijing and visit clean energy projects in Hebei province and the city of Ningbo in South Eastern China. In the capital, the Commissioner will meet with China’s Special Representative on climate change Xie Zhenhua, the Minister of Science and Technology Wan Gang, the Director of the National Energy Administration (NEA) Nur Bekri, and the Vice-Chairman of the National Development and Reform Commission (NDRC) Zhang Yong. Commissioner Arias Cañete‘s mission to China comes at a critical time in international climate policy, allowing the EU and China to show joint leadership and explore how they can reinforce their strong commitment to the 2015 Paris Agreement ahead of the EU-China summit to be held in June. The implementation of the EU-China energy roadmap agreed by Commissioner Arias Cañete in June 2016, clean energy cooperation, low-emission mobility and emissions trading will be discussed during the Commissioner’s visit, based on the long-standing cooperation of the two sides on the topics. Meetings with European energy companies, the EU’s Chamber of Commerce in China, NGOs and think-tanks will complete the four-day mission. Ahead of the visit, Commissioner Arias Cañete said: “The EU and China are joining forces to forge ahead on the implementation of the Paris Agreement and accelerate the global transition to clean energy. Our successful cooperation on issues like emissions trading and clean technologies are bearing fruit. Now is the time to further strengthen these ties to keep the wheels turning for ambitious global climate action. In these turbulent times, shared climate leadership is needed more than ever.”
The Commission has decided to impose definitive anti-dumping duties on imports of heavy steel plates from China. The Commission’s investigation found Chinese companies to be heavily dumping their products on the EU market. The investigation revealed dumping margins of between 120% and 127%. This unfair competition is causing material injury to the EU producers. Most of the injury indicators clearly show a negative trend, in particular profitability and return on investments. Chinese exports of heavy steel plates will therefore be taxed with anti-dumping duties ranging from 65% to 73%. The duties are the same as those imposed provisionally in October and are at the level of the injury margin, based on the lesser duty rule. The Commission has responded forcefully and quickly to unfair competition, while at the same time ensuring that the rights of all interested parties have been protected. The definitive measures announced today will help protect EU steel producers from the damaging effects of Chinese dumping. The Commission opened its investigation in February 2016. In line with the EU’s ‘Steel Communication’ of March 2016, the Commission has managed to impose both provisional and definitive measures well ahead of the usual legal deadlines. The EU currently has an unprecedented number of trade defence measures in place targeting unfair imports of steel products, with a total of 41 anti-dumping and anti-subsidy measures, 18 of which are on products coming from China.
The European Commission welcomes the agreement reached today by the Council on its negotiating position on a proposal to modernise the EU’s trade defence instruments. “This is a major step in adapting our legislation to today’s economic realities”, said Trade Commissioner Cecilia Malmström, adding that “Europe needs to make sure that we have modern, state-of-the-art tools in place to deal with unfair trading practices when needed. The EU stands for free, rules-based trade and we must be able to address unfair subsidies and dumping with determination. The tireless efforts of the Slovak Presidency, and by Member States, have been instrumental in finding this compromise. I now hope that constructive trilogue negotiations between the Council, Parliament and Commission can start without delay.” The agreement builds on the proposal presented by the Commission in 2013 aiming at providing Europe’s trade defence instruments with more transparency, faster procedures and more effective enforcement. In exceptional cases such as in the presence of distortions in the cost of raw materials, it will enable the EU to impose higher duties through the limited suspension of the so-called lesser duty rule. The October European Council asked for “an urgent and balanced agreement on the comprehensive modernisation of all trade defence instruments by the end of 2016”, following the discussion of the Communication presented by the Commission “Towards a robust trade policy for the EU in the interest of jobs and growth“. The Commission stands ready to facilitate the trilogue discussions with the European Parliament and the Council to agree and implement these changes.
The European Commission is launching today and tomorrow three investigations on steel and iron products originating in China and India. Two of the investigations relate to potential new anti-dumping duties to be imposed on one product of Chinese origin (corrosion resistant steel) and another product (certain cast iron articles) originating in China and India. The third investigation concerns an expiry review of existing anti-dumping measures on imports from China of certain seamless pipes and tubes of stainless steel. For the two new investigations, the Commission now has up to nine months to establish whether conditions to impose provisional duties are met, and a further six months to decide whether to impose definitive measures. On the third investigation, the expiry review will determine whether it is justified to continue for another five years the anti-dumping duties already in place since 2011, or whether they should be discontinued. Corrosion resistant steels are mainly used in the construction sector and in domestic appliances. Stainless seamless pipes and tubes are mainly used in the chemical and petrochemical industries, fertiliser production, power generation, civil engineering and construction, food processing, pharmacology and medical applications, biotechnology, water treatment and waste incineration. Anti-dumping investigations follow a strict procedure in line with EU and World Trade Organisation (WTO) rules. The EU currently has an unprecedented number of trade defence measures in place targeting unfair exports of steel products from third countries, with a total of 40 anti-dumping and anti-subsidy measures, 18 of which on products originating from China. 20 more investigations concerning steel products are still ongoing, including three cases for which duties are being provisionally applied.
The EU has decided to impose provisional anti-dumping duties on seamless pipes and tubes of iron and steel from China. This product is typically used in power plants, in construction, and in the oil and gas industry. The Commission’s investigations confirmed that the Chinese products had been sold in Europe at heavily dumped prices. To provide EU companies with necessary breathing space, the Commission imposed duties ranging between 43.5% and 81.1%. This should prevent damage to the European companies involved in the production of the steel tubes and pipes. The investigation was initiated on 13 May 2016 following a complaint submitted by the industry. The Commission will decide within the coming six months whether these measures would become definitive and apply for a period of five years. The EU currently has an unprecedented number of trade defence measures in place targeting unfair exports of steel products from third countries, with a total of 40 anti-dumping and anti-subsidy measures, 18 of which on products originating from China. 14 more investigations concerning steel products are still ongoing, including three cases for which duties are being provisionally applied.
The EU today imposed definitive anti-dumping measures on a steel product from China and Russia. These duties will be in place for five years and for the first time they will also be levied retroactively on imports registered during the two months that preceded the adoption of provisional measures on 12 February 2016. The product at stake is “cold rolled steel”, an industrial input for the packaging, white goods, general industry, automotive industry and the construction industry. The investigation was initiated on 14 May 2015 following a complaint submitted by the industry. The duties range from 19.7% to 22.1% for Chinese and from 18.7% to 36.1% for Russian companies.In the wake of the global steel overcapacity crisis, the Commission is applying the trade defence instruments to re-establish a level-playing field between EU and foreign producers. The EU currently has over 100 trade defence measures in place, 37 of them targeting unfair imports of steel products, 15 of which from China. 12 more investigations concerning steel products are still ongoing. The full details of the decision can be found here.
Commissioner Moscovici will represent the European Commission at the G20 Finance Ministers and Central Bank Governors’ Meeting on 22-24 July in Chengdu, China. The agenda of the ministerial meetings includes discussions on the Global Economy, a Framework for Strong, Sustainable and Balanced Growth, Financial Sector Reform, the International Financial Architecture, Investment and Infrastructure as well as International Taxation issues. Green finance, Climate finance and Anti-terrorist Financing will be also covered by the ministerial working sessions. In addition to the ministerial meetings, a G20 high-level Tax Symposium on tax Policy opportunities for Strong, Sustained and balanced Growth will take place on 23 July. Referring to the agenda, Commissioner Moscovici said: “Chengdu will host the first G20 Finance Ministers’ meeting after the UK referendum, which has triggered an increase in economic uncertainty as well as financial market volatility. To mitigate the impact of this uncertainty, we need to continue our focus on jobs and growth, delivering the right mix of reforms, investment and smart fiscal policies. In these circumstances it is more important than ever that the G20 acts on its commitment to use all available tools to support growth.” The discussion in Chengdu will constitute an important step towards the G20 Hangzhou Leaders’ Summit on 4-5 September.
The European Union launched today a third case against China’s restrictions on exports of raw materials essential for European industries. Following the successful legal actions in 2012 and 2014 on similar measures, this time the EU is focusing on restrictions concerning graphite, cobalt, copper, lead, chromium, magnesia, talcum, tantalum, tin, antimony and indium. “We cannot sit on our hands seeing our producers and consumers being hit by unfair trading practices. The past two WTO rulings on Chinese export restrictions have been crystal clear – these measures are against international trade rules. As we do not see China advancing to remove them all, we must take legal action,” said EU Trade Commissioner Cecilia Malmström. China currently imposes a set of export restrictions, including export duties and export quotas that limit access to these products for companies outside China. These measures have distorted the market and favoured Chinese industry at the expense of companies and consumers in the EU, in violation of general WTO rules and also of China’s specific commitments from the time of its accession to the WTO. Also, their alleged aim to support an environmentally friendly and sustainable production of raw materials could be achieved more effectively with other measures, without negative impact on trade. The formal consultations between the EU and China – the first step in the WTO dispute settlement – will be conducted in parallel to a similar procedure initiated by the US. In absence of a satisfactory solution within 60 days, the EU may request the WTO to set up a panel to rule on the compatibility of China’s measures with WTO rules.
EU Commissioner for Climate Action and Energy Miguel Arias Cañete will visit China on 29-30 June. During the visit, the Commissioner will announce a new EU-China emissions trading cooperation project in the margins of the EU-China Carbon Market Industry Leaders Forum. Emissions trading is playing an increasingly important role in China, where a nationwide carbon market will be launched in 2017. The new project will build on the existing cooperation project which started in 2014 and has supported the roll-out of seven pilot schemes across the country. Together with the Director of the Chinese National Energy Administration Nur Bekri, the Commissioner is also expected to sign the EU-China energy roadmap laying out further areas of cooperation such as policy planning and design, energy efficiency, renewables, research, technology development and innovation. The roadmap follows the strategic priorities set out in the Joint Communication to the European Parliament and the Council “Elements for a new strategy on China” adopted by the Commission on 22 June. On 30 June, Commissioner Arias Cañete will participate in the G20 energy ministerial meeting in Beijing. This year’s energy ministerial focuses on energy technology innovation, renewable energy, energy efficiency, energy access and the role of the energy system in the implementation of the Paris Agreement. Commission’s assessment of the Paris Agreement is available here. Finally, the Commissioner will also meet with the Turkish Energy Minister Berat Albayrak to discuss closer cooperation in the field of energy policy.
The High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy and the European Commission today adopted a Joint Communication that maps out the European Union’s relationship with China for the next five years. Federica Mogherini, the High Representative/Vice-President, said: “The European Union and China already cooperate on so much: we work together on the global and political issues of our times, such as Iran, Syria, Afghanistan, migration and climate change. But we can and must do more to connect the European Union and China. Our citizens, industries, and organisations can all benefit from a closer, improved, and better-defined EU-China relationship based on shared responsibility. The Joint Communication that we have adopted today will, I am sure, enable our relationship to fulfil its clear potential.” The Joint Communication identifies major opportunities for the EU’s relationship with China, in particular with the aim of creating jobs and growth in Europe as well as vigorously promoting a greater opening up of the Chinese market to European business, thus contributing to the first priority of President Juncker‘s Commission. The Joint Communication also highlights opportunities for closer cooperation and partnership between the EU and China in the fields of foreign and security policy. The full press release is available in all EU languages. For answers to frequently asked questions on the Joint Communication, see here.