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Procedure : 2006/2136(INI)
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Document selected : A6-0243/2006

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Debates :

PV 24/10/2006 - 21
CRE 24/10/2006 - 21

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PV 25/10/2006 - 6.12
CRE 25/10/2006 - 6.12
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Wednesday, 25 October 2006 - Strasbourg
Third-country anti-dumping, anti-subsidy and safeguard action

European Parliament resolution on the annual report from the Commission to the European Parliament on third country anti-dumping, anti-subsidy and safeguard action against the Community (2004) (2006/2136(INI))

The European Parliament,

–   having regard to the annual report from the Commission to the European Parliament on third country anti-dumping, anti-subsidy and safeguard action against the Community (2004) (COM(2005)0594),

–   having regard to its resolution of 22 October 2002 on the Nineteenth annual report from the Commission to the European Parliament on the Community's anti-dumping and anti-subsidy activities - Overview of the monitoring of third country anti-dumping, anti-subsidy and safeguard cases(1),

–   having regard to its resolutions of 14 December 1990 on the anti-dumping policy of the European Community(2) and of 25 October 2001 on openness and democracy in international trade(3),

–   having regard to the Ministerial Declaration of the Fourth Ministerial Conference of the World Trade Organization (WTO) in Doha (Qatar), point 28 of which provides for negotiations to revise the agreements on implementation of Article VI of GATT 1994 with a view to clarifying and improving the provisions relating to disciplines,

–   having regard to paragraph 30 of the above Declaration, which stresses the need to improve and clarify the Dispute Settlement Understanding,

–   having regard to the Ministerial Declaration of the Sixth Ministerial Conference of the WTO on the Doha Work Programme , and in particular to points 28 and 34 and Annex D to that Declaration,

–   having regard to the 23rd annual report from the Commission to the European Parliament on the Community's anti-dumping, anti-subsidy and safeguard activities (2004) (COM(2005)0360),

–   having regard to Rules 45 and 112(2) of its Rules of Procedure,

–   having regard to the report of the Committee on International Trade (A6-0243/2006),

A.   whereas the European Union is a key player in world international trade, continues to be a major economic power and was the world's leading exporter of goods in 2004,

B.   whereas developments in international trade make access to external markets as important as defending its own markets from unfair trading practices,

C.   whereas trade liberalisation and the increasing volume of trade promote international competition, but also increase the risk of exports from a given country being subject to trade defence measures, which have a damaging impact on the international competitiveness of Community firms,

D.   whereas, under the recently reviewed Lisbon Agenda, the Community set itself the objective of strengthening the European economy by, inter alia, improving the competitiveness of the Community in the world economy,

E.   whereas the competitiveness of the Community is closely linked to the establishment of a world trading system which is as open and fair as possible,

F.   whereas the competitiveness of the Community economy cannot fail to be affected by the imposition of tariff and non-tariff barriers which are not based on WTO rules, whether inside or outside the Community,

G.   whereas the Community is generally considered to be a 'moderate' user of trade defence instruments and that it is therefore in the Community's interests to ensure that the legislation and practices adopted by its international partners comply as far as possible with WTO rules,

1.  Is concerned at the increase in the number of trade defence cases involving both 'traditional' users of trade defence instruments and other, more recently-developed WTO members; considers that, in some cases, the WTO's rules have not been fully respected; calls on all European trade partners to strictly respect WTO rules in order to avoid unjustified economic damage;

2.  Calls on the Community's trade partners to comply more closely with the spirit and the letter of the agreements in force and the WTO's case law on trade defence instruments so as to avoid any form of protectionism; calls, in particular, for anti-dumping and anti-subsidy investigations, and safeguard actions, to be carried out in a transparent and impartial manner;

3.  Welcomes the help provided by the Commission to Member States and European industry in trade defence cases brought by third countries; urges the Commission to constantly monitor the action taken by third countries to ensure that it is appropriate and fair;

4.  Encourages the Commission to intervene, together with the Member States concerned, to defend the Community's industry whenever it is ascertained that the rules of international trade are being flouted;

5.  Takes the view that many of the disputes caused by the application of trade defence measures could be resolved amicably to the mutual satisfaction of the parties concerned; considers that the Commission should only refer the matter to the WTO's Dispute Settlement Body in the last resort;

6.  Expresses satisfaction with the success achieved by the WTO's dispute settlement system, which has led to a more consistent application of the multilateral rules of international trade, thus placing the system on a more secure and reliable basis;

7.  However, calls on the Commission to campaign for action to ensure that the decisions of the WTO's Dispute Settlement Body are implemented more promptly and effectively, which would avoid the unjustified use of delaying tactics and would make the implementation of international trade law more certain;

8.  Calls on the Commission to resolutely press ahead with negotiations within the WTO to make the application of trade defence measures by other WTO Members more effective and less arbitrary, focusing in particular on the following points:

   a) application of more stringent rules to the five-yearly reviews, to make the extension of anti-dumping and anti-subsidy measures exceptional;
   b) simplification of anti-dumping procedures and a reduction in their cost for firms which cooperate with the investigating authority;
   c) analysis of the public interest and the impact of the measures in question, along the lines of that conducted in the Community;
   d) increased transparency in investigations, to avoid illegal practices and guarantee the right to defence for the parties concerned;
   e) limitation of measures to that which is strictly necessary in order to eliminate injurious dumping;
   f) establishment of an ad hoc arbitration group - consisting of relevant experts - to which decisions to open anti-dumping investigations would be referred, and which would be able to recommend that the investigation should be terminated without delay if it found that the rules were infringed; the ad hoc group should have clear guidelines regarding the relevant expertise of its members on the subject in question;

9.  Regrets that, despite the anomalies identified in the application of safeguard measures, this point was not included in the Doha Development Agenda;

10.  Calls on the Commission, therefore, to advocate a reform of the rules governing the imposition of safeguard measures within the WTO, in order to limit the excessive and unjustified use of such measures;

11.  Invites the Commission to consider whether it would be appropriate to radically revise the rules on trade defence (anti-dumping, anti-subsidy) measures under the aegis of the WTO with a view to including non-compliance with global social and environmental agreements or international covenants as forms of dumping or subsidy;

12.  Urges the Member States to maintain a Community approach in the wider sense of that term to these issues which would enable the measures in question to be applied more harmoniously in the Community context and reduce the number of actions taken against the Community, while constantly endeavouring to raise awareness of the issues involved; however, Community action in the wider sense must not be used as an excuse to support unfair trading practices by individual Member States;

13.  Stresses that only by adopting a Community approach in the wider sense will it be possible to defend effectively the legitimate interests of Europe's small and medium-sized exporting firms faced with protectionist practices on the part of importing countries;

14.  Recommends that the Community reconsider a granting of preferential treatment to trade partners which are not acting in accordance with WTO rules while taking into account the Community interest and reciprocity in trade relations;

15.  Stresses that, if the new rules on international trade are to win public support, they must be applied transparently and consistently, in compliance with the principle of the rule of law, both within and outside the Community;

16.  Favours granting preferential treatment to least developed countries which are starting their industrialisation processes to enable them to protect their infant industries from the dangers of excessive external competition, provided any such derogation from the WTO's general principles is temporary and brings real benefits for the world's least developed countries;

17.  Encourages the setting up of technical training programmes on anti-dumping and anti-subsidy actions for any candidate countries and developing countries that request them; also urges the Commission to provide assistance and support to developing countries which set up a trade defence system which is compatible with WTO rules;

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

(1) OJ C 300 E, DT(d.m.yyyy)@DATEMSG@11.12.2003 , p. 120.
(2) OJ C 19, 28.1.1991, p. 633.
(3) OJ C 112E, 9.5.2002, p. 326.

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