Trade defence instruments represent one of the main instruments applied within the framework of the European Union’s common foreign trade policy.
The European Union applies trade defence instruments (TDI) that comply with the World Trade Organisation agreements to protect producers against unfair competition. The instruments are categorised as follows:
- Anti-dumping measures
Customs duties or price undertaking against unfair competition. Aimed at repairing the damages caused as a consequence of unfair competition on behalf of an entrepreneur (export prices being lover than the domestic market sales price of the product concerned).
- Countervailing measures
Customs duties or price undertaking against unfair competition. Aimed at repairing the damages offered by the state (subsidies) caused by prohibited concessions.
Customs duty, quota or their combination, tariff quota. Will be applied to trade that takes place in the conditions of fair competition, but only if the manufacturing of the European Union is in a serious crisis and requires short-term, limited protection.
Implementation of defence instruments and the role of Estonia
The European Union producers must submit, to apply the defence instruments, a compliant to the European Commission with possible evidence that proves an unfair competition or crisis.
The European Commission will then initiate investigation proceedings and will make, depending on the conclusions, a proposal to the member states for the implementation or non-implementation of measures.
Implementation of various measures and instruments, including any other foreign trade issues, is the competence area of the Directorate General for Trade of the European Commission and the member states only play an advisory role. The European Commission has established a Trade Defence Committee (TDC) and a defence measures committee/dispute resolution committee (SGC) to consult with the member states.