EU's Trade Defence in 2022: defending EU industry and protecting jobs
The 2022 report on the EU's trade defence activities, adopted today, shows that the European Commission has continued to be active and assertive in defending EU producers against unfair trade practices in 2022 by robustly applying the legislation and ensuring that measures are effective. The Commission has also acted to make sure that third countries correctly apply trade defence rules, with some successes in ensuring continuous access for the EU producers to export markets. Some 177 measures were in place by the end of 2022, almost a fifth of which address circumvention practices.
The highest number of EU trade defence measures concern imports from China, Russia, India, Korea and the US. Thanks to the EU's defence measures, almost half a million manufacturing jobs in the EU are protected, in sectors such as steel, aluminium, chemicals and ceramics. Dumped and subsidised imports from China remain the greatest challenge causing damage to European manufacturing industry.
Monitoring and enforcement to ensure effectiveness
To ensure the effectiveness of the EU's trade defence instruments, it is essential to monitor the adopted measures and take appropriate action against circumvention. In 2022, all the regulations imposing definitive measures included monitoring clauses to minimise the risks of circumvention.
The Commission opened two anti-circumvention investigations, and one anti-absorption investigation in 2022 to examine alleged actions by exporters designed to evade and undermine the effectiveness of duties.
Trade defence and Russia's war of aggression against Ukraine
Following Russia's unprovoked and unjustified military aggression against Ukraine, the EU has suspended import duties on all Ukrainian exports to the EU, which includes suspending the collection of any EU trade defence measures in force on imports from Ukraine (notably hot-rolled flat products of iron, non-alloy or other alloy steel and certain seamless pipes and tubes).
The EU's safeguard measure on steel was suspended on imports from Ukraine.
As regards anti-dumping measures on imports from Russia and Belarus subject to restrictive measures (sanctions), the Commission maintained its trade defence measures, even on sanctioned products. This aspect did not change findings in investigations which demonstrated the existence of injurious unfair trading practices by Russia and Belarus. The EU's steel safeguards quotas previously assigned to Russia and Belarus were reallocated to other exporting countries, proportional to their share of overall imports in 2021, ensuring that the needs of EU steel users are met.
Investigations in third countries affecting EU exports
Ensuring third countries correctly apply trade defence rules also proved important with the Commission interventions resulting in some successes in ensuring continuous access of the EU producers to export markets. There was a significant drop in the number of trade defence measures imposed against EU exports in 2022 – down to 12 compared to 30 the previous year.
As regards new investigations opened against EU Member States, there was a substantial drop in 2022, with only 7 new investigations initiated comprised of 3 anti-dumping and 4 safeguard proceedings, compared to 26 in 2021. This is one of the lowest numbers of new investigations opened against EU exports in the last decade.
Background - statistics
At the end of 2022, there were 177 trade defence measures in place, 151 of which were anti-dumping, 25 anti-subsidy and 1 safeguard. 38 of the measures in force were the result of anti-circumvention investigations.
The highest number of EU trade defence measures concern imports from China, Russia, India, Korea and the US. The most frequent user of the trade defence instruments against EU exports is the US, with 38 measures in force, followed by China and Türkiye with 18 each, then Brazil with 11, as well as Canada and Indonesia with 9 measures in force.
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