Revision of the Enforcement Regulation law: “Put the boxing gloves on when trade is at stake”

“We need tools that guarantee our strategic autonomy against Chinese unfair competition or President Trump’s out-of-control tariff diplomacy. In the event of a trade attack, the EU cannot afford to remain passive. The EPP Group is ready to put on the boxing gloves when trade is at stake”, declared Anna-Michelle Asimakopoulou MEP, EPP Group Spokeswoman on International Trade, as the European Parliament’s Trade Committee votes today to revise the EU’s rights on the enforcement of international trade rules.

The revision of this law, called the Enforcement Regulation, aims at protecting the EU’s interests when third countries such as the United States unilaterally adopt restrictions in access to their market and simultaneously block the WTO’s dispute settlement process. The Enforcement Regulation, adopted in 2014, is not equipped to deal with such situations as it only authorises countermeasures at the end of a formal dispute settlement procedure.

“We want to give teeth to this system by allowing the EU to use legal tools to respond when a third country threatens our commercial interests or strategic autonomy and breaches international law or violates its trade obligations towards Europe”, stressed Asimakopoulou.

Such tools may include customs duties, quantitative restrictions on the import or export of goods and measures in the field of public procurement.

“Obviously, we want to protect the primacy of international law and will ensure that the EU can only act once it has used the relevant dispute settlement mechanisms. This would have been the case, for example, in the Boeing/Airbus dispute, where the EU is unable to impose tariffs on US products swiftly, since the procedure at the WTO is still ongoing”, she added.

The EPP Group also wants to expand the scope of the law to services and intellectual property rights as they hold increasingly important shares in international trade.

See full press release here