- Trade topics
- Trade policy
The EU raw materials industry in a nutshell:
- A large number of industries use raw materials as inputs, providing a total added value of €1,300 billion.
- 30 million people are employed in the raw materials' industrial sector.
- A sustainable supply of particular raw materials is of crucial importance for the development of green technologies.
EU trade policy and raw materials
Raw materials play a significant role in EU trade policy. In concrete terms, the European Commission developed a fully-fledged strategy for raw materials, which was outlined in the 2008 Communication entitled the Raw Materials Initiative. This was revised in February 2011 in a Communication, which further boosted the integration of raw material priorities in EU policies.
EU trade policy is actively committed to ensuring that international raw materials markets operate in a free and transparent manner. For this purpose, the EU’s trade strategy relies on three pillars:
- Defining the rules of the game through bilateral and multilateral negotiations;
- Enforcing the rules and tackling market barriers when required, and;
- Promoting the debate on raw materials, both in bilateral and multilateral settings.
Results on raw materials
- EU-Korea FTA includes the prohibition of duties, taxes or other fees on exportation.
- EU-Singapore FTA includes the prohibition of duties, taxes or measures of an equivalent effect on exportation.
- EU-Central America, and EU-Colombia/Peru trade agreements include the prohibition of export duties or taxes, with some minor exceptions.
- WTO accession of Tajikistan: a commitment was secured on the prohibition of export duties or taxes, except for a list of products with bound rates.
- WTO raw materials’ cases against China: successful conclusion of the first WTO case against China’s export restrictions on nine raw materials (bauxite, coke, fluorspar, magnesium, manganese, silicon carbide, silicon metal, yellow phosphorus and zinc) which were found in violation of WTO rules and of China’s commitments; a second case was launched in 2012 against export restrictions applied by China on another set of products (rare earths, tungsten and molybdenum).
- Outreach and transparency work in the OECD: outreach to third non-OECD countries is ongoing, notably in close cooperation with the OECD.
More on raw materials
- DG Enterprise and Industry's webpage: Raw Materials – International Aspects