17 March 2016 / Opened quietly in February, the European Commission’s ‘Public online consultation concerning a possible change in the methodology to establish dumping in trade defence investigations concerning the People’s Republic of China’ does not help ensure open debate about one of the most important issues facing European industry: the granting of Market Economy Status (MES) to China.
“This public consultation was launched after protests from the European Parliament, EU Member States, EU industry groups and stakeholders that the European Commission was being insufficiently transparent about its direction of travel on the MES debate. The Commission has been obliged to open a public consultation – but its approach in this instance has been to avoid the key issues and to try to steer things towards a pre-ordained result”, said Milan Nitzschke, spokesperson for industry alliance AEGIS Europe.
Concern about the way the online public consultation has been presented comes ahead of a physical stakeholder consultation conference taking place today. This conference is supposed to collect stakeholders' input regarding how the Commission ought to respond to China’s premature demand to be granted MES by the EU by the end of 2016.
“The granting – or otherwise – of MES for China will affect all European citizens. However, the public consultation’s Euro-legalese title, the closed and confusingly worded questions, and the lack of space to openly comment all appear designed to avoid considering other options. The strictures are designed to ensure that the results can be used to justify DG Trade's initial preference: that of MES being granted with so-called ‘mitigating measures’”, said Mr Nitzschke.
Members of the European Parliament have also hit out at the way the process has been conducted. They have launched an MES China Action Group, which yesterday opened a ‘counter-public consultation’ and criticised the fact that “both the assumptions and the methodology used by the European Commission are not satisfactory.”
AEGIS Europe has outlined why mitigating measures will fail to prevent a massive increase in dumping from China in the event that MES is granted. The only option that prevents the wholesale loss of millions of EU jobs and the destruction of the industrial base is to deny MES until China meets the EU’s five criteria.
“During the stakeholder conference today we shall confirm to the European Commission that mitigating measures will not work, that they must consider all options and the full impact of granting MES. Policy makers must hear that attempting to avoid full input from key EU stakeholders is not an example of Better Regulation in practice”, concluded Mr Nitzschke.
About AEGIS Europe
AEGIS Europe brings together nearly 30 European associations representing a broad variety of industries including traditional industries, consumer branches, SMEs and renewable energy sectors, accounting for more than €500 billion in annual turnover and millions of jobs across the EU. This industry alliance, made up of leaders in sustainable manufacturing and social and environmental responsibility, is committed to European manufacturing as the fundamental driver of innovation, growth and jobs in Europe.