ANNOUNCEMENT 01 Mar 2011In March 2011, the European Commission announced changes to its trade defence rules.
NUMBER OF INTERVENTIONS
COM(2011) 0082. "Proposal for a Regulation of the European Parliament and of the Council amending certain regulations relating to the common commercial policy as regards the procedures for the adoption of certain measures." 7 March 2011.
On 16 December 2010 agreement was reached between the European Parliament and the European Council over the terms upon which the European Commission implements regulations, including the trade defence instruments.
With the exception of multilaterally imposed safeguard measures, whose imposition will still require the assent of the European Council (constituted of member state governments), antidumping and countevailing duty investigations will now be decided in consultation with advisory committees of member state representatives (known as "comitology in EU parlance). Those member states will now have to vote by qualified majority vote against the imposition of any measure proposed by the European Commission, as opposed to the current system which requires a simple majority against. It is expected that member states that favour the use of trade defence measures will continue to vote as a bloc and, given their populations, this will make mustering a qualified majority vote against difficult.
One implication of this change is that foreign governments can no longer lobby EU member states to oppose the imposition of antidumping and countervailing duty measures in the European Council.
These changes come into effect on 1 March 2011.