The regulation modernising the EU's trade defence instruments (TDI) is the fruit of more than 4 years' labour, including broad consultations with multiple stakeholders and negotiations with member states and the European Parliament.
The European Council adopted last month its position on the matter, following the political agreement reached with the European Parliament in December 2017.
In coming weeks, the European Parliament will vote in plenary on the final text of the regulation. Most likely, the formal signature of the regulation will be in late May. Shortly thereafter, the new set of rules will be published in the Official Journal of the European Union and it will automatically come in force.
This is the first major review in this area since 1995 (back then, a review was needed to implement the Uruguay Round of multilateral trade negotiations*) and the European authorities considered that the TDI needed improvements after multiple talks with EU producers, importers, users, consumer groups and Member States. Also, an extensive study was conducted in order to evaluate if the EU's trade defence instruments are still efficient.
The study and the talks concluded that the the system needed improvements. Why? Firstly, there have been profound changes in the global division of labour and organisation of production over the last decade. Secondly, macroeconomic stress in the context of economic crisis has led countries to resort to extraordinary policy measures with significant implications for global trade flows. Finally, the increased use of TDI by the EU‘s trading partners, in particular by emerging economies, has led to an increasing risk of retaliation against EU producers requesting the application of TDI.