MEPs want "WTO-proof" plan to protect EU firms against dumped Chinese imports

2 February 2016 / To deal with China’s recognition as a “market economy”, the EU must find a solution, in line with WTO rules, that retains its ability to shield its economy against unfair competition from dumped imports from China, whilst acknowledging it as a strategic trading partner. This view was broadly shared by MEPs and EU trade Commissioner Cecilia Malmström in a plenary debate on Monday night.

MEPs and Ms Malmström discussed the three options for EU action with respect to China:

  • make no changes in EU legislation. Some say that this could put the EU in breach of the WTO rules and prompt retaliation measures from China,
  • simply remove China from the list of non-market economy status countries in the EU anti-dumping legislation would be "unrealistic", said Ms Malmström, due to the potential damage to EU industry and jobs, and
  • if China were to be given market economy status, take mitigating measures, ,e.g. in trade defence legislation, in order to prevent job losses and injury to EU industry.

MEPs received a positive reply on Commission plans to thoroughly assess the potential impact of all these options on EU jobs and industry. Ms Malstrôm presented a preliminary estimate of up to 188,000 job job losses in EU sectors currently affected by dumped Chinese exports, should no mitigating measures be put in place.

However estimates of up to 3.5 million lost jobs were referred to by some MEPs. MEPs called for an effective anti-dumping instrument. MEPs called for an effective anti-dumping instrument and insisted that particular attention should be paid to the EU steel sector, currently "on its knees" due to unfair competition from China.

Re-watch the plenary debate

This article was originally posted on the EP website.