European Union Trade Commissioner Karel De Gucht said the bloc needs to do more to help companies file trade complaints against China and other state-run economies without fear of retaliation.
“It is undeniable that many European companies are unwilling to come forward and make justified trade defense complaints due to fear of consequences for their business,” De Gucht said in a speech in Brussels today.
The EU is considering ways to start trade complaints on its own initiative, without a formal complaint from affected companies, De Gucht said. Companies would still need encouragement to work with the commission on the cases, which investigate whether goods are being sold into the 27-nation bloc below cost in a practice known as dumping.
If the EU were to begin pursuing its own complaints, “no government could blame a European company for the launch of the case,” De Gucht said. “The flip side, of course, is that we would need tough rules to oblige reticent companies to cooperate with us.”
The EU in April launched a public consultation on ways to modernize its trade complaint procedures. A formal proposal could come later this year.
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