In March, 2017, Chinese telecommunications equipment manufacturer ZTE entered into a settlement with U.S. export control and sanctions authorities in connection with a multi-year scheme to re-export U.S.-origin telecommunications equipment to Iran and North Korea using a network of front companies. ZTE also admitted to deliberately concealing and destroying evidence of the scheme to keep it from the U.S. government investigation. ZTE paid a civil and criminal penalty of $1.19 billion and, as part of the settlement, represented that it would take disciplinary action against 39 employees. ZTE entered into a criminal plea agreement and settlement agreements with BIS and OFAC.
In parallel with the entry into force of Regulation 2017/2321 amending EU anti-dumping and subsidy rules (see here for further details), the Commission released its first country report on December 20, 2017. Unsurprisingly, the Commission has chosen China as the subject of this first report. In the accompanying Q&A document, the Commission stresses that this choice “merely reflects the fact that investigations and measures against China account for the largest proportion of the EU’s anti-dumping investigations and trade defense measures”.
On December 12, 2017, the European Parliament and Council signed the new regulation (EU) 2017/2321 amending the current anti-dumping methodology. This follows the Council’s approval, with amendments, on December 4, 2017. The final text of the regulation was published today in the Official Journal. It will enter into force tomorrow (December 20, 2017). (See our previous posts for further detail on the new anti-dumping methodology and the political agreement on the new methodology.) Continue Reading EU’s New Anti-dumping Methodology Enters Into Force
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.