Countervailing duty investigations and measures imposed, 2006-10

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Countervailing duty investigations and measures imposed, 2006-10

Investigation initiations
Provisional measures
Definitive measures
Expired measuresb
Confirmation of measure following expiry review
Termination of measure following expiry review

a As at 31 December 2010.

b Measures that expired automatically after their five-year imposition.

Source: WTO Secretariat, based on European Commission (various years), Anti-dumping, Anti-subsidy, Safeguard Statistics. Viewed at:, and information provided by the Commission.

60. At the end of December 2010, 11 CV measures were in force, 3 more than in mid-2008. Five measures apply on imports from India, and the rest on Brazil, Iran, Israel, Pakistan, the United Arab Emirates, and the United States. The goods affected are PET and PET film, antibiotics, graphite electrode systems, sulphanilic acid, and biodiesel. Undertakings are in effect for PET and sulphanilic acid from India.

61. The highest definitive CV duties that resulted from original investigations or reviews between June 2008 and June 2010 concern antibiotics from India (up to 32%) and PET from India (up to 19.1%).[68] Five goods that were subject to CV measures in late 2010, were also subject to AD measures.

(b) Safeguards

62. Regulation No. 260/2009 contains the general EU rules on safeguards.[69] It applies on imports from outside the EU, except from Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, the Democratic People's Republic of Korea, Kazakhstan, Russia, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan, and Viet Nam. Safeguards applied on imports from these countries are subject to Regulation No. 625/2009.[70] Imports of textile products from certain non-members of the WTO are also excluded from the coverage of the general safeguard rules. Regulation No. 427/2003 governs the imposition of transitional product-specific safeguards on imports from China.[71]

63. The Commission is in charge of conducting safeguard investigations in cooperation with member States. The adoption of definitive safeguard measures is not subject to the standard regime under the new comitology rules (see Chapter II(1)).Unlike AD and CV measures, the adoption of definitive safeguards requires a positive opinion voted by qualified majority of a committee composed of member State representatives.

64. The EU has not applied any safeguard measures since 2005. During the period under review, one safeguard investigation was initiated, and no definitive safeguard measures were imposed. The investigation, launched in June 2010, concerns wireless wide area networking modems.[72] The proceeding was terminated in January 2011 as the request for the investigation was withdrawn. One surveillance measure, on steel products of any origin, has been in place since 2002.[73] Under EU safeguard legislation, the Commission may decide to impose surveillance if the "trend in imports of a product originating in a third country threatens to cause injury to EU producers".[74] Surveillance is a system of automatic import licensing during a limited period.

65. Under the EU-Korea free-trade agreement, the parties may adopt a "bilateral safeguard" re-introducing temporarily MFN duties on bilateral trade if, as a result of trade liberalization, an increase in imports would cause or threaten to cause serious injury.[75] The European Parliament voted in favour of the Regulation implementing this provision in February 2011. A similar Regulation exists under the EU's Economic Partnership Agreements (see Chapter II(4)).[76]

(vii) Restrictions and controls

66. The EU does not maintain quantitative restrictions on imports from WTO Members to protect domestic producers. Certain steel products from Russia and Kazakhstan, and certain textiles from Belarus and the Democratic People's Republic of Korea are subject to import quotas.[77]

67. The EU maintains import surveillance schemes for certain steel products regardless of origin. According to the latest EU reply to the questionnaire on import licensing procedures, import surveillance schemes seek to improve the "transparency of import trends", and are not intended to limit market access.[78] The surveillance scheme on imports of certain steel products is administered through automatic licensing; set up in 2002, its duration has been prolonged until end-2012.[79] The EU ended the surveillance scheme on eight categories of textile products from China on 31 December 2008 and on imports of certain textile and clothing products from Uzbekistan in May 2010. According to the Commission, its bilateral textile agreements with Russia and Serbia do not foresee any quantitative restrictions on imports or exports.

68. Pursuant to Article 130(1) of Regulation No. 1234/2007, the Commission may impose licensing requirements on imports of certain agricultural products.[80] The products that require an import licence, as listed in Annex II, Part I, of Regulation No. 376/2008, include cereals, rice, sugar, olive oil and table olives, flax and hemp, milk and milk products, beef and veal, fruit and vegetables, and processed fruits and vegetables. Import licences are issued by the competent authorities of the member States at the request of operators. In addition, imports of agricultural products subject to tariff quotas administered by methods other than first-come, first served are subject to licensing. The licensing requirements are set out in Regulation 1301/2006 and individual regulations establishing the modalities for the quotas. The Commission notes that licences for imports under tariff quotas are granted in a non-discriminatory way on the basis of the "simultaneous examination method. In general, importers must lodge a security to apply for an import licence. The amount of the security depends on the product, and is forfeited if the product in question is not imported during the period of validity of the licence.

69. Quantitative restrictions and controls on imports are in place to implement sanctions imposed by United Nations resolutions, and provisions under international treaties or conventions. In addition, the EU maintains unilateral import controls to attain non-economic objectives.

70. For example, imports of timber and timber products from countries that have entered into a Forest Law Enforcement Governance and Trade (FLEGT) "Voluntary Partnership Agreement" (VPA) with the EU are subject to licensing.[81] As part of these agreements, timber-producing countries voluntarily agree to set up a national scheme to verify the legality of their shipments of timber and timber products to the EU. FLEGT VPAs have been ratified with Ghana (September 2009), and the Republic of Congo and Cameroon (February 2011); signature and ratification of a VPA with the Central African Republic is ongoing (March 2011). Negotiations are ongoing with the Democratic Republic of Congo, Gabon, Indonesia, Liberia, Malaysia, and Viet Nam. There are no operational FLEGT licensing schemes, pending the development and testing of appropriate verification systems.

71. In October 2010, the EU adopted legislation that prohibits placing illegally harvested timber and timber products containing such timber on the EU market.[82] Under Regulation No. 995/2010, "operators" who place domestically produced or imported timber and timber products on the EU market for the first time must exercise "due diligence" to minimize the risk that such products contain timber harvested in contravention of the applicable legislation in the country of harvest.[83] Due diligence involves a risk management exercise based on information and criteria set out in the Regulation. In addition, persons trading timber and timber products within the EU, other than those placing such products for the first time on the EU market, must keep records of their suppliers and customers. The Regulation will be applied from 3 March 2013, and two implementing measures, to be developed by the Commission, must be adopted by 3 March and 3 June 2012. Timber and timber products covered by valid licences under FLEGT or the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora are considered to comply with the requirements of the new Regulation.

(viii) Technical regulations and standards

72. During the last Review of the EU, some Members stated that the EU's regulatory practices, and its technical regulations and conformity assessment procedures had become increasingly important in determining access to the EU market, sometimes creating, in their view, unnecessary obstacles to trade.[84] In response, the EU indicated that its regulations pursue legitimate objectives, are subject to a thorough impact assessment, are developed according to a transparent process allowing ample opportunity for interested parties from other WTO Members to participate and make their views known, and are largely based on relevant international standards. While recognizing that the number of regulatory requirements in some areas had increased, the EU noted that this reflects scientific progress and the identification of new risks. In addition, the EU indicated that it provides technical assistance to assist developing countries in meeting regulatory requirements.

73. Technical regulations and conformity assessment procedures are adopted at national and EU levels. Only goods that are not covered by the EU's "fully harmonizing" legislation may be subject to national technical regulations or conformity assessment procedures. Harmonizing legislation is legislation adopted jointly by the European Parliament and the Council, or by the Commission when the European Parliament and the Council have granted the relevant implementing powers to the Commission. The general legal basis for the adoption of harmonizing legislation relating to the establishment and functioning of the EU internal market is Article 114 TFEU. Other TFEU provisions may also provide a relevant legal basis, depending on the subject. For example, there is a substantial body of legislation in the field of agricultural products based on Article 38 TFEU.

74. Under Regulation No. 764/2008, the Commission must publish "a non-exhaustive list of products which are not subject to Community harmonisation legislation".[85] According to the Commission, around 25% of the EU goods market is not covered by harmonizing rules.[86]

75. The EU last updated its notification on the implementation and administration of the TBT Agreement in November 2006.[87] It implemented obligations under the TBT Agreement through Decision 94/800/EC.[88] The Commission has overall responsibility for the implementation and administration of the TBT Agreement.[89] The TBT enquiry point for EU legislation is the Enterprise and Industry Directorate-General of the Commission.[90] Member States have designated TBT enquiry points for national legislation.

76. The EU notified 146 technical regulations and conformity assessment procedures to the WTO between October 2008 and mid-January 2011 (28 in 2008, 63 in 2009, 50 in 2010, and 5 in 2011). The notifications cover products such as household appliances, electric and electronic equipment, machinery, motor vehicles and parts, fuels, construction materials, measuring devices, textile and apparel, chemicals, fertilizers, food, water, wine, vitamins and minerals, cosmetics, seal products, and genetically modified plants. The notifications normally specify a comment period of at least 60 days, and a proposed date of adoption after the expiry of the comment period. During the period under review, the EU submitted a large number of addenda, providing additional information on the adoption, entry into force, and content of the final text of previously notified TBT measures.

77. Individual member States notified around 140 technical regulations and conformity assessment procedures during the period under review. France accounted for the largest share, with 21%, followed by the Czech Republic and Slovenia (14% each), Finland (10%), and Denmark, Italy, and Sweden (around 8% each). Estonia, Germany, Hungary, Lithuania, the Netherlands, Poland, Portugal, Slovakia, Spain, and the United Kingdom have also made notifications. Notifications covered, inter alia, construction materials, fire safety equipment, measuring devices, machine tools, dairy and other agricultural products, food additives and supplements, alcohol and alcoholic beverages, veterinary medicines, fertilizers, motor vehicles, arms and ammunition, and tobacco and tobacco products. For approximately 17% of individual member State notifications, the comment period, or the period between the date on which a notification was published and its date of adoption, was less than 60 days.

78. Between October 2008 and January 2011, WTO Members raised concerns in the TBT Committee over several measures proposed or adopted by the EU or individual member States (Table III.7). Of the 17 new concerns raised, one was followed by formal dispute settlement.

79. Since the last Review of the EU, France has notified one recognition agreement under Article 10.7 of the TBT Agreement.[91] By the EU or by any other member State no notifications were submitted under Article 10.7.

Table III.7

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