Today, the European Commission published its Annual Report on the EU’s trade defence activities of 2021. The Report concludes that 462,000 EU jobs were directly protected by the EU’s trade measures in 2021 in key EU manufacturing sectors such as aluminium, steel, ceramics and green technology. This shows that EU measures are effective in defending EU producers against unfair international trade practices.
Executive Vice-President and Commissioner for Trade Valdis Dombrovskis said:
“Defending European producers and workers against the damage inflicted by those who do not play by trade rules is essential. Ensuring fair trade is more important than ever in today’s challenging global environment and when security of supply is under threat. We cannot allow dumped or subsidised imports to damage EU industry. This is why the effective enforcement and implementation of our trade defence measures remains a top priority for the European Commission.”
By combatting unfair imports of products crucial for renewables or digital value chains, such as wind tower components or optical fibres, the EU’s trade measures encourage investment in modern manufacturing and research & development, both critical to maintaining supply, growth, job stability and revenues in these industries in Europe. They also support the European Green Deal and the Digital Agenda for Europe.
Robust action on evasion of duties and help to EU exporters abroad
The 2021 Annual Report shows that the Commission has stepped up its monitoring efforts to identify and sanction economic operators who evade duties, in particular through circumvention. Where such practices were found in 2021, the Commission took decisive action through anti-circumvention or anti-absorption measures.
Moreover, the Commission has improved the assistance it provides to EU exporters in addressing unjustified or unfair trade defence measures imposed on our exporters by third countries.
The Commission also implemented the remaining recommendations from the European Court of Auditors from 2020, particularly on communicating and raising stakeholders’ (notably SMEs’) awareness on the purpose and use of the trade defence instruments.
There were 163 definitive trade defence measures in force in the EU at the end of 2021, the majority being anti-dumping measures. The Commission initiated 14 new investigations in 2021, including 11 anti-dumping and 3 anti-subsidy investigations.
The Staff Working Document accompanying the Annual Report lists the Commission’s trade defence activities of 2021. It summarises of a selection of cases and interesting trade defence-related court judgments, as well as elaborating on several third-country cases which the Commission monitored during the year.