EU tops world anti-dumping charts

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The EU last year launched the world’s highest number of ‘anti-dumping’ investigations, aimed at protecting producers against low-priced imports, most of which from China, a new study reveals. 

Although anti-dumping levels fell to a new low in 2006, with 187 cases initiated – just half those in 2001 – the EU continued to propose an increasing number of emergency tariffs to block what it considers unfairly-traded and subsidised imports from third countries. 

“Whereas the global trend has remained at relatively low levels in 2006, it is clear that the EC and Argentina trend has been upward since 2003 and since 2004 for India,” states the Global Trade Protection Report 2007, published in April 2007. 

The bloc launched 35 investigations in 2006 – the third highest yearly figure since the creation of the World Trade Organisation in 1995. India, traditionally the biggest user of anti-dumping by far, was in second place with 31 cases. The US initiated just seven cases. 

Nevertheless, the US continues to have the most measures in force, with a total of 256 tariffs in place against foreign products on 31 December 2006 – almost double that in the EU. 

One third of new European cases are directed against China, on products including shoes (EURACTIV 24/02/06), strawberries and ironing boards. 

Last year, Trade Commissioner Peter Mandelson began a review of Europe’s use of such “trade defence instruments” (TDI), to assess how Europe should best use such measures in the interest of the whole Community, in a world where European business, workers and consumers’ interests are increasingly linked with production outside the EU (EURACTIV 08/12/06). 

The debate on what the new rules should look like is likely to set apart free marketeers, such as Britain, Germany and Sweden, against countries such as Italy, France, Spain and Poland, which led calls for imposing TDI in 2006, claiming that imports of under-priced Asian goods were putting their industries at risk and threatening thousands of jobs (EURACTIV 04/10/06).

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