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Protecting against coercion

The Anti-Coercion Instrument for protecting the EU and its Member States from third countries’ economic coercion entered into force on 27 December 2023.

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  • Trade defence
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Regulation 2023/2675 on the protection of the European Union and its Member States from economic coercion (the Anti-Coercion Instrument) enables the EU to take action in cases of economic coercion of the EU or its Member States by non-EU countries. The objective is to deter coercion, and if necessary, to respond to it.

Under the regulation, ‘economic coercion' refers to a situation whereby a third country seeks to pressure the European Union or an EU Member State into making a particular choice by applying, or threatening to apply, measures affecting trade or investment.

Such practices unduly interfere with the legitimate sovereign choices of the European Union and its Member States.

Whether a third-country measure fulfils those conditions will be determined on a case-by-case basis.

Economic coercion directed against the European Union or an EU Member State may affect any policy field and may take the form of legislation, or other formal or informal action or inaction. The instrument and the EU’s policy apply irrespective of the source of the coercion, and thus irrespective of the identity of the third country.

EU action under the Anti-Coercion Instrument

The regulation sets out a framework for EU action against economic coercion, in line with public international law, and sets out a number of procedures to be followed, including timelines.

Examination

Following a request or on its own initiative, the European Commission first examines the existence of economic coercion in an individual case. 

Any actor affected by or concerned about potential coercion may submit to the Commission information on incidents of economic coercion, or a duly substantiated request for examination of a third-country measure, here. The Commission will ensure the protection of any confidential information which may be submitted.

The Commission is required to act expeditiously and should complete the examination as soon as possible, normally within four months.

Determination

Following a formal proposal from the Commission, the Council determines the existence of economic coercion via an implementing act. The Council should act expeditiously. It has a maximum of 8 to 10 weeks to complete this step. Once coercion has been determined, the Commission requests the coercing third country to stop the coercion.

Engagement

On behalf of the EU, the Commission will engage in consultations with the coercing third country with a view to resolving the issue, provided that the third country engages in good faith. The EU would explore appropriate avenues such as direct negotiations, mediations, arbitration, good offices, and adjudication.

Response measures

If those efforts do not bear fruit, and in view of set deadlines, the Commission may, as a last resort, adopt EU response measures to counteract the coercion, with a view to inducing the third country to stop its coercion.

The types of measure which the Commission may take include restrictions on the access to the EU market and other economic disadvantages for the third country involved. The list of options is broad, and covers areas such as trade in goods, services, foreign direct investment, financial markets, public procurement, trade-related aspects of intellectual property rights, export controls, and more. The Commission acts by way of an implementing act, once Member States have given their views in an examination procedure.

Additionally, the Commission may deploy appropriate measures with regard to the granting of Union funding. For more information, see the Commission's Communication to the European Parliament and the European Council on the Commission’s proposal for an anti-coercion instrument.

Before the imposition of EU response measures, the Commission carries out consultations in order to select appropriate measures in individual cases, where applicable. Those concerned, such as economic operators, business associations, consumers, are encouraged to participate. The Member States’ views also inform the selection and design of any measure. Information in any specific case will be provided in the Official Journal of the EU, and on DG Trade's website.

The Commission terminates the Union response measures as soon as they are no longer needed.

The Union may also decide to request reparation for the injury caused by the economic coercion, in line with public international law.

International cooperation

The EU cooperates with other countries affected by the same or similar coercive practices, in individual cases.

At all times, the EU engages with partners in efforts to address the issue of economic coercion more generally.  This engagement currently takes place at the G7 (see G7 Hiroshima Leaders’ Communiqué and G7 Leaders’ Statement on Economic Resilience and Economic Security of 20 May 2023), and also bilaterally, with for example the United States and Japan.

Single point of contact

A single point of contact is available for any stakeholder interested in the application of this regulation.

Further information

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