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Anti-dumping measures

Anti-dumping measures counter dumping practices occurring when non-EU manufacturers sell their goods in the EU below the normal value (usually the sales price) on their domestic market.

Trade topics
  • Anti-dumping
  • Trade defence

A non-EU company is 'dumping' if it exports a product to the EU at a price lower than the product's normal value. The normal value is either the product's price as sold on the home market of the non-EU company, or a price based on the cost of production and profit.

Investigating injurious dumping

The European Commission is responsible for investigating dumping claims and imposing measures.

The Commission opens an investigation if it has sufficient evidence that imports into the EU are made at dumped prices and are causing injury to European industry.

Typically, such evidence is communicated to the Commission by the European producers  exposed to the unfair competition of dumped imports (or jointly by trade unions and European industry) by means of an official complaint.

In special circumstances, the Commission may also initiate an investigation on its own initiative, i.e. without having received a complaint. This is commonly referred to as an ‘ex officio’ initiation. 

While not based on a formal complaint, an ‘ex officio’ initiation is subject to the same legal and evidential requirements as those applicable to complaints. Thus the Commission may only initiate an investigation on its own motion if it has sufficient evidence of dumped imports causing injury to European industry.

Such evidence is normally only available to the European producers concerned. It requires knowledge and evidence that imports of a specific product would be dumped and, more critically, access to detailed business proprietary data relating to the performance of an industry at the level of that specific product.

Therefore ‘ex officio’ investigations are in practice limited to circumstances where the parameters of a case (e.g. definition of the product scope and the relevant information on the situation faced by the affected European producers) are already established.

A typical example is the initiation of anti-circumvention investigations. Via its monitoring of existing measures, the Commission may become aware of practices that result in the evasion of anti-dumping measures. In such circumstances, the Commission initiates ‘ex officio’ anti-circumvention investigations without awaiting a formal request from the European producers concerned.

Should you wish to know more about this topic, you may contact the European Commission's anti-dumping service.

The anti-dumping investigation

The Commission opens an anti-dumping proceeding (investigation) by publishing a notice in the EU's Official Journal.

The investigation checks:

  • whether there is dumping by the producers in the country/countries concerned;
  • whether the European industry concerned suffers 'material injury';
  • whether there is a causal link between dumping and injury, and;
  • whether putting measures in place is not against the European interest.

Only when all four conditions are met can the Commission put anti-dumping measures in place.

The time limit for the Commission's investigation is 14 months. The results are then published in the Official Journal.

Alternative dumping calculation methodology

Since December 2017, the EU has an alternative method to calculate dumped imports if state interference significantly distorts the economy of the exporting country.

In this case, the Commission will use undistorted benchmarks to determine the 'normal value' of the product. This can apply to all WTO Members where significant market distortions are found.

To show that distortions exist, the Commission examines all evidence in any case, including that contained in country-specific reports. 

Anti-dumping measures

Anti-dumping measures can be put on imports of specific products if the Commission's anti-dumping investigation justifies it.

These measures are usually in the form of an 'ad valorem' duty. Other measures that can be applied include a fixed or specific amount of duty or, in some cases, a minimum import price.

Price undertakings may also be accepted instead of anti-dumping duties. This is where the exporter agrees not sell products in the EU at prices below a minimum amount. 

If the Commission agrees to an undertaking, then the anti-dumping duties will not be collected on those imports. The Commission is not obliged to accept an offer of an undertaking.

The importer in the EU pays the duties and the national customs authority of the EU country collects them. The Commission monitors measures to make sure they are effective and respected by exporters and importers.

Types of trade defence measure

The way forward on anti-dumping

An anti-dumping investigation can be initiated in response to a complaint lodged by European manufacturers affected by dumped imports or at the request of an EU country.

EU producers that are considering lodging an anti-dumping complaint should contact us.

Reviewing anti-dumping measures

Measures are generally in place for five years and may be reviewed if, for example:

  • the circumstances of the exporters have changed, or;
  • a new non-EU company starts exporting to the EU and requests the calculation of its own dumping margin.

Measures end after five years unless the Commission does an expiry review.

Refunding anti-dumping duties

Importers may request a full or partial refund of duties paid when they can show that they have paid duties in excess of the actual dumping margin prevailing for their non EU-supplier.

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