On October 3, 2017, the EU Parliament, the Council, and the Commission reached an agreement on changes to the EU anti-dumping and anti-subsidy legislation. (See our previous posts on China’s status and the public consultation.) Concurrently, however, the 2013 Commission’s proposal on the Modernization of Trade Defense Instruments (covering inter alia amendments to the “lesser duty rule”) is still undergoing internal negotiations.
Fifteen years ago, China joined the World Trade Organization (“WTO”). To alleviate concerns of cheap Chinese goods flooding international markets at that time, China agreed to allow other WTO members to continue conducting their anti-dumping calculations in a special way, thereby recognizing the concerns of certain members that prices of Chinese goods could be distorted due to state interference. This methodology considered China as a “non-market economy” (“NME”). In a nutshell, this means other countries can disregard Chinese prices or costs, and can use “alternative methods” (external benchmarks, such as hypothetical costs of a third country) to determine the margin of dumping in an investigation. In doing so, authorities will typically end up levying higher anti-dumping duties on Chinese goods.
On February 10, 2016, the European Commission (“the Commission”) launched a public online consultation to gather input from stakeholders on possible changes to the methodology for assessing dumping duties on goods originating from China.  This consultation takes place in the context of the impending expiry on December 11, 2016, of certain provisions of China’s Accession Protocol to the WTO, which essentially allowed the EU and other WTO members to treat China as a non-market economy (“NME”) in anti-dumping investigations. The consultation follows a College orientation debate on the treatment of China in anti-dumping investigations, on January 13, 2016.