- Trade topics
- Anti-subsidyTrade defence
A complaint is a document containing prima facie evidence that:
- a product originating in a non-EU country and benefiting from a countervailable subsidy is being exported to the EU, and;
- these subsidised imports are causing injury to the EU industry.
A complaint must contain evidence (e.g. information from government/public sources, publications in international press) supporting the allegations it makes.
'Injury' (deterioration of the performance of the industry) can take many forms – loss of market share, drop in prices, deterioration of financial results, etc. The injury must be material (not negligible), and the subsidised imports must be a cause of this injury.
'Community industry' refers to the EU producers of the product concerned who are being injured by the subsidised imports. A complaint must be supported by a major proportion of EU production. Collectively, these companies must account for at least 25% of total EU production of the product concerned. In general complainants would contact the producers in other EU countries to seek support before filing a complaint. Even if the complainants account for more than 25% of total EU production, their complaint would not be admissible if it were expressly opposed by EU producers accounting for a larger production volume.
Any product can be the subject of a complaint, but the anti-subsidy rules do not apply to services.
Subsidised products may originate in any non-EU country except Iceland, Liechtenstein and Norway. (Anti-subsidy rules do not apply to these countries for most products, because they belong to the European Economic Area and have adopted EU legislation in most areas, making them part of the EU single market.)
If exports from several countries are being subsidised, all of the countries concerned should be examined in the complaint.
Information can be provided on a confidential basis, in which case it will not be revealed without the permission of the party that supplied it.
However, a non-confidential version of the complaint must also be delivered, so that it can be distributed to interested parties. This is to ensure that all parties to an investigation have the opportunity to defend their rights.
If a complaint is accepted, the Commission must initiate an investigation within 45 days of the complaint being formally lodged. The investigation will establish whether remedial action (e.g. in the form of a duty) should be taken.