EU Member States endorse Maltese Presidency mandate to safeguard EU trade interests

On 3 May 2017, EU Ambassadors unanimously approved a compromise proposal of the Maltese Presidency of the Council of the EU for a position on a new, country-neutral method for assessing market distortions in third countries. The agreed text will constitute the basis for the Council to open negotiations with the European Parliament.

The main objective is to detect and redress distortions to the market resulting from state intervention in other countries. The Maltese Presidency has ensured that the new methodology for calculating dumping is based on rules established by the World Trade Organisation (WTO) anti-dumping agreement. 

Reacting to the agreement, which has been much-anticipated amongst global stakeholders, the Maltese Minister for the Economy, Investment and Small Businesses, Christian Cardona, stated: “Today the Council was united in its support for a new, non-discriminatory anti-dumping methodology that will help ensure that imported products are sold at a fair and equitable price in the EU, no matter where they come from. This will retain strong and sustainable trade defence instruments as well as help to protect jobs and enhance competitiveness in the EU.”

The Maltese Presidency’s final mandate ensures that European businesses are protected from illegitimate non-EU trade practices and can compete fairly, based on agreed international rules. The mandate establishes a non-exhaustive list of examples which are used to identify significant market distortions in third-countries, such as: 

  • state policies and influence, 
  • widespread presence of state-owned enterprises, 
  • discrimination in favour of domestic companies, 
  • lack of independence of the financial sector, 
  • inadequate enforcement of bankruptcy, corporate or property laws. 

The Council and the European Parliament will now need to reach an agreement on a final EU text. The Maltese Presidency looks forward to beginning these negotiations, known as “trilogue” discussions, as soon as possible in order to safeguard EU businesses. It augurs that the European Parliament will be in a position to determine its own negotiating position swiftly in order for the legislative process to continue without delay.

The new anti-dumping methodology runs in parallel with a separate negotiating process on the broader revision of the EU's trade defence instruments.