The European Commission has proposed new rules to help defend the EU against unfair trading practices by third countries.
A statement from the Commission said the proposed regulation would establish a “clear and predictable” framework for the EU to settle trade disputes and act against illegal trade measures imposed by other countries, with trade sanctions included as a last resort.
The regulation also includes measures to compensate for import restrictions imposed on EU products or changes to a country’s trade regime that negatively affect EU trade. Possible measures include new or increased Customs duties and changes to quotas on imported goods.
“Ensuring the EU’s trade partners respect the agreed trade rules is essential to make trade agreements work for the EU economy. The proposal covers the EU’s trade responses in cases of illegal trade measures in other countries, and it will allow effective action to safeguard the interests of EU companies and workers,” said the official release.
“The proposal is for a framework to enable the Commission to take executive action when the trade interests of the EU are at stake, rather than reacting on a case-by-case basis when the EU rights are not respected. [It would] allow the EU to implement trade responses in a more streamlined, efficient manner in order to encourage the offending country to remove the illegal measures.”
Enforcing EU rights
The proposed legislation is part of a wider drive by the Commission to increase the EU’s abilities to enforce its rights under bilateral and multilateral trade agreements, with particular focus on opening markets that are illegally closed to EU products.
Announcing the proposals, EU Trade Commissioner Karel De Gucht said: “The EU’s membership in the World Trade Organization and bilateral trade agreements help the EU economy. Those agreements must be respected for them to deliver results. When international trade disputes prove that other countries haven’t played by the rules, the EU needs to be able to react efficiently and swiftly to defend its interests.”
The proposal will now be discussed by the European Parliament and the European Council.