Enforcing EU rights in international trade
A new framework to enhance the EU’s ability to enforce its rights in the international trading system has been put forward by the European Commission.
Trade Commissioner Karel De Gucht said that ensuring EU’s partners respect the agreed trade rules is essential to make trade agreements work for the European economy.
Covering the EU’s responses in cases of illegal trade measures in other countries, the proposal aims to provide for effective action to safeguard the interests of EU companies and workers.
A framework will be established to enable the Commission to take executive action when the trade interests of the EU are at stake, rather than, as at present, reacting on a case-by-case basis when EU rights are not respected.
This should allow the EU to implement trade responses in a more streamlined, efficient manner in order to encourage the offending country to remove the illegal measures.
"The EU's membership in the World Trade Organization (WTO) and bilateral trade agreements help the EU economy," Mr De Gucht said. "However, those agreements must be respected for them to deliver results."
Action under the proposed new regulation could also be taken to compensate for import restrictions imposed on EU products in exceptional situations (so-called safeguard measures), or to react to cases where a WTO member country changes its trade regime in a way that negatively affects EU trade (such as raising its import tariffs) without adequate compensation.