When China joined the World Trade Organisation (WTO) in December 2001, a transitional arrangement for its accession allowed for a specific methodology for calculation of dumping. This transitional arrangement was introduced in Section 15 of China's Accession Protocol.. Some of these provisions will expire in December 2016. The Commission is studying the implications of the expiry of these provisions on the EU anti-dumping and anti-subsidy legislation. This examination covers legal aspects, and possible economic and employment effects This examination is ongoing.
Under WTO rules, the EU can impose anti-dumping duties, additional to tariffs, on products from third countries if an investigation demonstrates that these products enter the EU at dumped prices causing injury to the EU industry.
Under the standard rules, in normal market circumstances, dumping is calculated by comparing the export price of a product to the EU with the domestic prices or costs of the product in the exporting country. However, WTO rules allow investigating authorities to apply special treatment for certain countries where market conditions do not prevail. In practice, domestic prices and costs in those countries are not used as the basis to compare with export prices because they are considered unreliable owing to State influence in the economy. Instead, investigating authorities use data from a market economy country (the so called 'analogue country') as the basis for calculating dumping margins. This is the so-called Non-Market-Economy methodology.
As a result of the many distortions in the Chinese economy, prices and costs do not reflect normal market forces. Therefore, under China's Protocol of Accession to the WTO, the Non-Market Economy methodology has so far been applied in anti-dumping proceedings concerning China. The EU legislation contains similar provisions, and as a result, in its anti-dumping investigations, the Commission uses automatically, in all cases, prices or costs from an “analogue country” to calculate the level of dumping of Chinese products, unless the concerned Chinese producers are able to show that they individually qualify for market economy treatment. The EU had also - autonomously - put in place five criteria that, if fulfilled, would have allowed treating China as a “Market Economy” for the purpose of anti-dumping investigations before 2016. China does not meet all these criteria as of yet.
3 Legal aspects
Certain provisions of Section 15 of China's Protocol of Accession to the WTO on "Price Comparability in determining Subsidies and Dumping" will expire on 11 December 2016. As a result of this expiry, the Commission is analysing possible impact on the EU anti-dumping legislation1. Should the Commission decide to put forward a proposal, amendment of the current legislation would entail adoption through ordinary legislative procedure by the Council (under a qualified majority vote) and the European Parliament.
4. Economic Importance of trade defence as regards imports from China As of end 2015, imports from China were subject to 52 definitive anti-dumping (AD) measures. In terms of value, the share of imports from China to the EU, affected by AD measures is 1.38%2. The undertakings for solar panels account for a large part of the imports from China subject to anti-dumping measures and if these are excluded, the figure would be around 0.68% of imports in value.
Main sectors The industries with the most measures in force are (i) chemical and allied and (ii) iron and steel with 14 and 13 definitive measures in force respectively.
The largest sectors by market value are iron and steel, with turnover ca. €29 billion, followed by ceramics, with €13 billion turnover
Please see annex 1 for a full data overview.
Employment by sector The total employment in the EU relating to products on which there are AD measures in force, concerning imports from all origins, is ca. 250,000 in 2015. More than 90% (234,300) of those jobs relate to products on which there are measures imposed concerning Chinese imports3.
The sectors with the highest number of jobs in the manufacturing of products subject to AD measures concerning China are ceramics, iron and steel, other mechanical engineering (bicycles), and electronics (solar panels).
The ceramics sector and the iron and steel sector employ 102,600 and 55,000 people respectively, for the manufacture of products covered by AD measures. Total employment in these sectors is larger than what is directly covered by anti-dumping measures. For example, in the iron and steel sector, the total employment is ca. 350,000 people according to Eurofer4.
Employment by Member State and regions 79% of the 234,300 jobs5 in the manufacturing of products covered by the AD measures concerning Chinese imports are in Italy, Germany, Spain, France, Portugal and Poland. For two countries, Ireland and Croatia, the employment figures are not available, due to the recent accession of Croatia to the EU and the predominance of services, rather than manufacturing in Ireland's economy.
The regions manufacturing products subject to AD measures concerning Chinese imports are widely spread across the Union. (e.g. Lombardy in Italy, North Rhine-Westphalia and Saarland in Germany and Catalonia in Spain).
Please see annex 2 for a full data overview of employment per Member State for products directly affected by anti-dumping measures concerning China, broken down by sector.
5. Options The Commission is exploring a number of possible options to follow up the expiry of the provisions in China's Protocol of Accession to the WTO. Given the slowdown of the Chinese economy coupled with the excess capacities in a number of sectors, notably in steel, such analysis is of particular importance. The Commission is currently conducting an assessment of the possible impact of each option. Work is on-going.
There are three basic options:
Option 1: Leaving the EU legislation unchanged: This option would consist in continuing to apply the anti-dumping investigations concerning Chinese products -including to the reviews of the 52 measures currently in place, the non-market economy methodology.
There is a clear risk that this option could put the EU in breach of WTO obligations and may be challenged leading to compensation.6
Economic impact of option 1:
It is not possible to quantify at this stage the economic impact of such a scenario, which depends on a number of factors currently unknown, with potential challenges and costs including in employment terms.
Option 2: Changing the antidumping methodology for trade defence investigations against China with no mitigating measures:
EU law would be modified to reflect the expiry of the transitional arrangement by removing China from the list of non-market economy countries. It would require an ordinary legislative procedure amending the antidumping regulation.
Economic impact of option 2:
As mentioned above, at the end of 2015, there were 52 measures in place on imports originating in China. These measures affect 1.38% of EU imports from China. About 250,000 jobs in EU industries are in sectors where anti-dumping measures against China are in place.
An external study commissioned by the Commission estimates, on the basis of a representative sample of recent anti-dumping investigations concerning China, that using the market economy methodology in AD cases against China could reduce the level of the anti-dumping measures by 27 percentage points compared to application of the analogue country regime7. As a result, gross import prices on imported products from China that are subject to AD measures could fall by 19 percent after the duty is imposed. The lower anti-dumping duties on Chinese imports are estimated to result in lower Chinese prices to EU consumers and downstream industries. Chinese imports will also increase between 17 and 27 percent with respect to what they would be if the analogue country regime were applied and will substitute for sales of the EU import-competing industries (and/or imports from competing third countries)..
The external study examines the impact of lower tariffs on import levels. Then it examines the impact of these changing import levels on sectoral employment in the EU. The results are based on the observation and econometric analysis of import prices and quantities from China and employment in the related sectors in the past.
The external study indicates that the short term direct effects of removing China from the list of non-market economies in the anti-dumping regulation, in EU sectors currently affected by injurious dumping from China, could result in losses in the range of 30,400-77,000 jobs, if no mitigating measures are put in place.
This estimate is based on two assumptions, the first being that the same products as now would be affected by TDI in the short term, and the second being that the share of Chinese imports affected by TDI would be 2.5%, or the historical average, which is higher than the figure at the end of 2015.
In the long run, losses in the range of 73,300 – 188,300 jobs could be expected if no mitigating measures are imposed. This is an estimate based on potential job losses that might result from lower anti-dumping duties which may not offset the real dumping generated by the cost and price distortions in the Chines economy. This is based on the assumption of dumping in new sectors, based on cases launched by other countries concerning China. A further assumption is that the long term share of Chinese imports affected by AD measures would be 5.7%, which is a long term upper bound.
The study also looks at indirect effects on upstream and downstream sectors. Calculating upstream and downstream effects in the low range of the two estimates lead to an indirect effect that is slightly positive for job creation due to cheaper imports (+ 9,700). In the upper bound scenario leading to direct potential losses of 188,300 jobs, indirect effects are negative on balance and increase the number of overall jobs lost to 211,000, still assuming that no mitigating measures are taken.
The following table summarizes the potential long-term effects of changing the methodology for anti-dumping investigations concerning China on EU employment that the external study found:
Table : Range of potential job losses in the EU from treating China as market economy in anti-dumping investigations without mitigating measures, long-run
Direct effects on Jobs
Indirect upstream effects
Indirect downstream effects
Source: Assessment of the economic impact of changing the methodology for calculating normal value in trade defence investigations against China. 21 December 2015
The total employment effect in the long term, if no mitigating measures are taken, is therefore a possible employment loss, including indirect upstream and downstream effects, ranging between 63,600 and 211,000 jobs. This sharply contrasts with a recent study by EPI researchers Scott and Jiang (2015) commissioned by an EU industry consortium, AEGIS. This study forecasts that changing the methodology for anti-dumping investigations concerning China would put between 1.7 million and 3.5 million EU jobs at risk. The study assumes that MES methodology would lead to a decrease in duties for all imports from China. It should however be recalled that in reality, currently products subject to anti-dumping duties only represent 1.38% of imports from China. EPI findings should thus be read with great caution.
Option 3: Changing the antidumping methodology for China as part of a package including mitigating measures:
EU anti-dumping legislation would be modified to reflect the expiry of the transitional arrangement by removing China from the list of non-market economy countries while, at the same time, strengthening other related provisions of the legislation. These could include safeguarding the definitive anti-dumping measures in place ('grandfathering') as well as strengthening other provisions of the trade defence instruments (anti-dumping and anti-subsidies) to ensure the continued effectiveness of the instruments for future cases. The exact scope and design of such mitigating measures remains to be defined. The ultimate objective of such measures is, within the WTO and EU framework, to maintain the ability to redress any distortions that would be detected on the market of the exporting country, thereby imposing anti-dumping duties that reflect economic reality, maintaining a level playing field.
Economic impact of option 3:
Until such mitigating measures are defined, it is difficult to predict their precise impact. A first rough estimation of the effect of mitigating measures may reduce the impact by at least half of what the impact of option 2 would be.
6. next steps
The Commission has decided to conduct an in-depth Impact Assessment to inform its decision making process on the matter. In this process, possible economic and employment effects broken down by Member States will be studied carefully. The Commission will discuss the matter again in July on the basis of the Impact Assessment and the feedback from the European Parliament and the Council.
Annex 1. Economic Importance of TDI for products subject to anti-dumping measures concerning China (broken down by sector)
Imports from China of Products under Measures (euros)
Total Imports from China (euros)
Percentage of Imports from China under Measures
Imports from rest of the world of Products under Measures (euros)
5 In order to compute these percentages an internal Commission database was used.
6 See article 22 of the WTO Understanding on Settlement of Disputes (DSU).
7This average reduction is a combination of lower AD duties in some cases (where the investigation would still conclude Chinese firms are dumping) and elimination of AD duties altogether in other cases.