On 7 June 2018, the European Commission issued a press release announcing that its new trade defence rules become effective as of 8 June. All new investigations initiated on or after this date will be subject to the modernised anti-dumping and anti-subsidy rules.

According to the release:

The changes coming into force tomorrow, aimed at modernising the EU’s trade defence toolbox, enable the EU to impose higher duties in some cases by changing the ‘lesser duty rule’; shorten the investigation period to accelerate the procedure; increase transparency and predictability of the system for EU firms; and reflect the high environmental and social standards applied in the EU. They conclude a major overhaul of the EU’s trade defence instruments, including also a new anti-dumping methodology put in place in December of last year.

The new rules will shorten the current 9 month investigation period to 7 months for the imposition of provisional measures and make the system more transparent. Companies will benefit from an early warning system telling them if provisional duties will be imposed, which will help them adapt to the new situation. The Commission will support smaller and medium-sized companies (SMEs) via its specific “SME helpdesk” to make it easier for them to participate in trade defence proceedings.

Also, as a result of changes to the so-called ‘lesser duty rule’, in some cases, the EU may be able to impose higher duties. This will apply to all anti-subsidy cases, as well as antidumping cases concerning imports produced using raw materials and energy provided at an artificially low price.

As part of its investigations, the Commission will also take into account the costs of compliance with EU social and environmental legislation when calculating the levels of duties it can impose based on economic damage caused to companies. Furthermore, it will also not accept price undertakings, in general, from countries that have a bad record on implementing core International Labour Organisation standards and environmental agreements. For the first time, trade unions will also be able to participate in trade defence investigations.