Brussels, 22 September 2023 (TDI): In a proactive move to fortify its trade defenses, the European Union (EU) has rolled out its formidable anti-coercion instrument.
Global commerce is a driver of economic growth and job creation. However, certain nations employ tactics like blackmail and trade restrictions to gain unfair advantages, igniting trade conflicts with the EU.
As these disputes multiply, the EU recognizes the necessity for additional tools to safeguard fair trade.
The anti-coercion instrument equips the EU to effectively counter nations that impose trade restrictions to coerce policy changes within the EU.
An example is China’s trade restrictions against Lithuania, triggered by Lithuania’s improved trade relations with Taiwan in June 2021.
Lithuanian companies grappled with challenges renewing contracts with Chinese counterparts, shipment clearance delays, and customs paperwork obstacles.
The EU Parliament vehemently condemned China’s economic coercion of Lithuania through multiple resolutions.
Currently, the EU employs various anti-dumping measures, allowing it to impose fines on non-EU countries engaged in product dumping within Europe. These fines manifest as anti-dumping duties or tariffs on the infringing products.
Additionally, as a part of the World Trade Organization (WTO), the EU leverages this platform to resolve disputes among member nations. However, WTO processes can be protracted, and not all trade violations fall within its purview.
The anti-coercion instrument primarily serves as a deterrent, aiming to promote negotiations and peaceful dispute resolution. As a last resort, it can activate countermeasures against non-EU nations.
These countermeasures encompass an array of restrictions on trade, investment, and funding, presenting a holistic approach to combat coercion.
A milestone was reached on 6 June 2023, when Parliament and Council agreed on anti-coercion legislation.
The legislation garnered further support when approved by Parliament’s International Trade Committee on 26 June 2023.
The pivotal next step involves MEPs voting on the agreement during the forthcoming plenary session scheduled for October 2-5. Subsequent approval by the Council will finalize the instrument’s journey to becoming enforceable.