MEPs want “WTO-proof” plan to protect EU firms against dumped Chinese imports

To deal with China’s recognition as a “market economy”, the EU must find a solution, in line with WTO rules, that enables it to maintain good relations with China whilst retaining its ability to shield its economy against unfair competition from dumped Chinese imports. This view was broadly shared by MEPs and EU trade Commissioner Cecilia Malmström in a plenary debate on Monday night.

MEPs and Ms Malmström discussed the three options for EU action with respect to China:

  • no post-December 2016 changes in EU legislation which would put the EU in breach of the WTO rules and prompt retaliation measures from China,
  • simply removing China from EU anti-dumping legislation would be “unrealistic”, said Ms Malmström, due to the potential damage to EU industry and jobs, and
  • proposing an effective new antidumping instrument, which would enable the EU to continue to meet its WTO obligations.

MEPs received a positive reply on Commission plans to thoroughly assess the potential impact of all these options on EU jobs and industry. Ms Malström presented a preliminary estimate of up to 77,000 job losses in EU sectors currently affected by dumped Chinese exports, should no mitigating measures be put in place.

MEPs agreed that the EU’s current method of calculating EU anti-dumping duties needs to be changed and called for particular attention to be paid to the EU steel sector, currently “on its knees” due to unfair competition from China.

You can re-watch the plenary debate via EP Live.