Procedure : 2016/2667(RSP)
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Document selected : B8-0610/2016

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PV 12/05/2016 - 9.6
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to wind up the debate on the statements by the Council and the Commission

pursuant to Rule 123(2) of the Rules of Procedure

on trade relations between the EU and China and market economy status (2016/2667(RSP))

Helmut Scholz, Eleonora Forenza, Fabio De Masi, Stelios Kouloglou, Paloma López Bermejo, Barbara Spinelli, Merja Kyllönen, Patrick Le Hyaric, Lola Sánchez Caldentey, Tania González Peñas, Xabier Benito Ziluaga, Estefanía Torres Martínez, Miguel Urbán Crespo on behalf of the GUE/NGL Group

European Parliament resolution on trade relations between the EU and China and market economy status (2016/2667(RSP))  

The European Parliament,

–  having regard to the EU’s anti-dumping legislation (Council Regulation (EC) No 1225/2009 of 30 November 2009 on protection against dumped imports from countries not members of the European Community)(1),

–  having regard to the 21st Conference of the Parties (COP 21) to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) and the 11th Conference of the Parties serving as the meeting of the Parties to the Kyoto Protocol (CMP 11), held in Paris, France, from 30 November to 11 December 2015, and to the Paris Agreement,

–  having regard to the Commission Communication of 16 March 2016 entitled ‘Steel: Preserving sustainable jobs and growth in Europe’ (COM(2016)0155),

–  having regard to China’s Protocol of Accession to the World Trade Organisation (WTO),

–  having regard to the EU trade policy strategy ‘Trade for All’, in particular its orientation towards fair trade,

–  having regard to its previous resolutions on EU-China commercial relations,

–  having regard to the decision of the Chinese National People’s Congress regarding China’s 13th Five-Year Plan,

–  having regard to Rule 123(2) of its Rules of Procedure,

A.  whereas the European Union and China are two of the biggest economies and traders in the world, with China being the EU’s second biggest trading partner and the EU being China’s biggest trading partner, with a trade flow reaching well over EUR 1 billion per day;

B.  whereas even without China having market economy status (MES), Europe’s trade relationship with China is not balanced and the trade deficit between the EU and China reached an all-time high of EUR 180 billion in 2015;

C.  whereas in 2015 investment from China into the EU for the first time exceeded investment from the EU into China; whereas the Chinese market has been the main engine of profitability for a number of EU industries and brands;

D.  whereas any decision on how to deal with imports from China and exports to China after December 2016 should ensure the compliance of EU law with international law and with the defence of EU jobs and industries, taking into consideration current developments towards a multipolar world;

E.  whereas free trade agreements and the WTO have been essential instruments for deregulating trade relations and liberalising economies to the detriment of workers and peoples; whereas these two instruments have been perpetuating not only the hegemony of rich and developed countries, but also the exploitation of the poorest regions in the world and, therefore, inequalities between countries and peoples;

F.  whereas, when China joined the WTO, a transitional arrangement for its accession allowed for a specific methodology for the calculation of dumping, which was introduced in Section 15 of the accession protocol and serves as a basis for treating Chinese imports differently;

G.  whereas the remainder of Section 15 of China’s Protocol of Accession to the WTO represents the WTO’s recognition that special rules can be applied to China in the area of anti-dumping investigations, and continues to provide a legal basis for the application of a non-standard methodology to imports from China after 2016; whereas there would be a WTO panel decision establishing clarity in the interpretation of the text should China decide to launch a complaint against anti-dumping measures unilaterally applied by another WTO member after December 2016;

H.  whereas the crisis facing several Member States is due firstly to lack of demand resulting from downward pressure on workers’ incomes and high rates of unemployment, and secondly to wrong political and economic choices such as the deregulation and liberalisation imposed on the one hand by the single market and other European mechanisms, and on the other by participation in institutions like the WTO;

I.  whereas both China’s production overcapacity and the dramatic decline in internal demand in the EU owing to the ongoing economic crisis are already having severe social, economic and environmental consequences in the EU, as demonstrated by the recent detrimental impact on the EU steel sector; whereas the social impact of granting MES in terms of jobs in the EU can be substantial;

J.  whereas the Commission Communication of 10 October 2012 entitled ‘A stronger European Industry for Growth and Economic Recovery’ lays down the objective of raising industry’s share of EU GDP to 20 % by 2020;

K.  whereas the austerity and neo-liberal policies imposed by the EU economic governance framework on the Member States and on their peoples are also affecting Member States’ industries, causing protracted economic stagnation and depression, high unemployment and job losses, and a reduction in social and labour rights; whereas a break with the EU economic governance framework, including for the single market, and in particular with the present industrial, investment and fiscal policies, is needed as a matter of urgency, in order to promote and support economic recovery, job creation and sustainable growth via the implementation of a real public investment plan;

1.  Regrets the fact that the public consultation organised by the Commission has not taken into account the most important stakeholders in the steel sector;

2.  Reiterates the importance of the EU’s strategic partnership with China, based on mutual and fair cooperation;

3.  Calls on the Commission to prepare a draft mandate for negotiations between the EU and China on a bilateral agreement on fair competition rules and for common measures against economic, social and environmental dumping;

4.  Stresses that the five criteria established by the EU to define MES have not yet been fulfilled by China;

5.  Stresses that China defines itself as a socialist market economy; recalls that in all market economies freedom of the markets should be limited and responsible governments should have the regulatory competence and rights to intervene at least occasionally for the wellbeing of the population and in order to encourage or dampen demand or promote competition so as to thwart the emergence of monopolies; emphasises that the five criteria established by the EU to define a market economy may differ from the degree of state involvement in the economy best serving the people in the Chinese market economy;

6.  Asks the Commission to coordinate with its international partners on how best to ensure that all provisions of Section 15 of China’s Protocol of Accession to the WTO other than subparagraph 15(a)(ii) can acquire full legal meaning under their respective domestic laws;

7.  Calls on the Commission to duly take into account the preoccupations expressed by trade unions, industries and different stakeholders in the EU regarding the consequences for jobs and sustainable economic growth in the Union, in all affected manufacturing sectors and for EU industry as a whole, and to ensure the defence of jobs in the EU and of EU social and environmental standards;

8.  Is convinced that the EU should not grant this neo-liberal MES to China, especially in the current situation in which the EU has not developed modernised, transparent and fair legislation on trade defence instruments; believes that the EU should apply non-standard methodologies in anti-dumping and anti-subsidy investigations relating to Chinese companies exporting at suspiciously low prices, in full respect of those parts of Section 15 of China’s Protocol of Accession which do not expire in December 2016;

9.  Calls on the Council to rapidly seek agreement with Parliament on the modernisation of the Union’s trade defence instruments;

10.  Calls on the Commission to ensure a strengthened and effective trade defence instrument to guarantee EU industry a level playing field with China, as well as with other third countries;

11.  Calls on the Commission to revise the rules on state aid in order to enable state intervention to enhance socially and environmentally beneficial projects, and to help SMEs and industries in difficulties by contributing to reconstructing their production capacities which have been heavily hit by the crisis; calls for a comprehensive approach to trade policy within the WTO that allows public sector participation in order to maintain jobs and support industrial policy;

12.  Reiterate its call for an in-depth reform of the WTO rules so as to fully include respect for International Labour Organisation (ILO) core labour standards, as well as for the relevant environmental and social standards in international trade;

13.  Calls for the inclusion of a carbon border adjustment for certain imported products in strategic sectors such as steel, ceramics, other metals, plastics and moulds, as a temporary measure in line with WTO rules, in order to comply with the COP21 agreement and support the cleanest factories;

14.  Calls for the development of measures for a sustainability labelling of industrial products in order to incentivise the cleanest factories and industrial goods;

15.  Calls on the Commission to promote agreement in international fora such as the WTO and UNCTAD on a modern definition of economic, social and environmental dumping, with a view to seeking a multilateral solution that can handle both modern-day complex ownership models and workers’ and consumers’ protection needs across the new global value chains;

16.  Instructs its President to forward this resolution to the Council, the Commission and the governments and parliaments of the Member States.


OJ L 143, 22.12.2009, p. 51

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