The European Parliament and European Union ministers in Strasbourg on October 3 agreed on a draft law aimed at better protecting European Union jobs and industry against dumping and subsidised imports.

The EU is currently updating its antidumping law, to counter unfair trade practices by third countries whose states interfere extensively in the economy.

“We won’t stand by idly when our market is flooded by products made with unfair trading practices and with many jobs under threat,” said Rapporteur Salvatore Cicu (EPP, IT). “Every country can benefit from free and fair global trade, but all have to play by the same rules. That is definitely not the case if exporters work in a state-owned system. I am confident that the new method for dealing with countries with significant distortions of the economy will protect our citizens from the harms of globalisation.”

According to a press release, the MEPs ensured that, for the first time, respect of international labour and environmental standards in the manufacture of products will be taken into consideration when deciding on anti-dumping measures. They also agreed that there will be no additional burden of proof on EU companies in anti‑dumping cases, on top of the current procedure.

What is more, small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) will get help to deal with procedures and the European Commission will report in detail on the specific circumstances of exporting countries. The focus will be on “significant distortions” of prices and costs. Brussels will also give clear guidance on what “distortions” means.

Bernd Lange (S&D, DE), who chairs the European Parliament’s International Trade Committee, said: “We ensured that our industries can defend themselves against unfair trading practices, now and in the future. We have ensured that EU companies will not face impossible obstacles in defending themselves against dumping, against tough opposition. As the champions of a rules-based trading order, the WTO-compatibility of our rules was the basis for all discussions.”

The informal agreement will be put to a vote in the International Trade Committee on 12 October and by the full house at the November plenary session in Strasbourg.