Council breaks the deadlock on trade defence instruments modernisation

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.