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The Council’s proposal to renew EU’s trade defences is unacceptable for S&Ds


13 Dec 2016


Trade & Society

The Socialists and Democrats in the European Parliament have been calling for the urgent reform of the EU's trade defence instruments (TDIs) for months, but the decision taken today by the representatives of the member states falls dramatically short of what was expected.
The S&Ds regret that the member states have been wasting precious time and they have now missed the opportunity to push for strong legislation to defend EU companies and EU jobs against unfair competition. The lack of ambition in the member states’ proposals means there will be a tough negotiation process with the European Parliament in which the S&D Group cannot and will not give in.

S&D spokesperson on TDIs, Alessia Mosca MEP, said:

"Finally the Council agreed on a position on the modernisation of TDIs, a long-awaited decision which could potentially contribute to shaping a global level playing field in which European industries' interests are better protected. 

"Nevertheless, we note with deep regret that almost nothing from the European Parliament's first reading back in 2014 has been taken into account, therefore a lot of work has to be done in order to truly protect European industries and workers. 

"The S&D Group, already at the forefront during the first reading, will do its best to strongly modify the proposal. The main hurdles to developing the file in a positive direction are an unsatisfactory and excessively complicated process to allow exemptions from the lesser duty rule*, a longer shipping clause, the lack of any mitigation on the restitution of duties and the fact that the specific needs of SMEs are not sufficiently taken into account. 

"We are ready to work carefully on the file – together with the other groups – in order to get to a strong European Parliament position.”

S&D spokesperson on trade, David Martin MEP, said:

 “After years of pressure from S&D MEPs, EU governments have finally come to a compromise regarding the modernisation of our trade defence instruments. But this isn’t the early Christmas present that EU steelworkers and other manufacturers were hoping for. The proposal looks severely weakened, with the narrowness of the exceptions possible for the lesser duty rule a particular concern. 
“It is good that the discussions can finally move on to the next stage, but it is clear that this compromise falls far short of our expectations and, more importantly, far short of what is necessary to protect Europe’s vital manufacturing sector and those that work in it.”
* Note to editors:
Under a lesser duty rule, authorities impose duties at a level lower than the margin of dumping if this level is adequate to remove injury. It is not a World Trade Organisation obligation.