18 OCTOBER 2016

European Commission unveils Communication on robust EU trade policy

Today, the European Commission (EC) published the Communication, “Towards a robust trade policy for the EU in the interest of jobs and growth”.

This Communication outlines the EC’s views on Trade Defence Instrument modernisation (TDIm) and the upcoming proposal on a new non-standard methodology for anti-dumping calculations (the so-called MES China issue). Furthermore, the Communication highlights the excess aluminium capacity in China:

“The challenge of unfair trade practices by third countries is getting more acute. Government intervention, massive subsidies and policies that distort prices have resulted in huge overcapacities and ultimately in dumped exports on the EU market. [... ]. Overcapacities are also developing very fast in other sectors, for instance aluminium. China has almost 10 million tons of excess aluminium capacity, doubled from five years ago, boosted by subsidised energy (which represents up to 40% of the aluminium production cost)”.

AEGIS Europe, an alliance of nearly 30 manufacturing industries including aluminium, published a press release in response to this Communication in which they state:

“The existence of a robust EU trade defence system is fundamental to the future of industrial manufacturing in Europe, one which is losing production and jobs to China every day. […] Non-market economy status is fundamental to every effective anti-dumping measure against unfairly traded imports from China. If the Commission removes any reference to the five basic criteria for what constitutes a non-market economy, to the benefit of an unprecise new concept - market distortions - the entire legal basis for action against imports from China would be diluted. Furthermore, when complaints are considered by the European Commission, it is essential for China to continue to have the burden of proof that it operates as a market economy, rather than European SMEs fighting for their existence to have to demonstrate distortions in China.”