A Regulation sets out the European Union (EU) rules on the protection against subsidised imports from non-EU countries and the conditions for the application of countervailing measures.

A subsidy is a financial contribution, such as a grant or loan, usually paid by the government of a non-EU country, which confers benefit to a business or industry importing its products into the EU, thus distorting competition in the EU market. To counteract this distortion and restore fair competition, the EU may impose so-called countervailing duties on such imports.

  • countervailing duty is applied to counteract the injurious effects of subsidised imports on the EU market and to restore fair competition. The duty is paid by the importer and collected by the customs authorities of the EU country concerned.
  • If an EU industry considers that imports of a product from a non-EU country are subsidised and injure the EU industry producing the same product, it can lodge a complaint with the European Commission.
  • If the complaint shows initial evidence of a subsidy or injury to the EU industry and a causal link between the subsidy and the injury, the Commission opens an anti-subsidy investigation.
  • The Commission may impose provisional countervailing duties, pending further investigation, if the anti-subsidy investigation reveals that certain conditions are met, including:
    • that the imports benefit from a specific subsidy;
    • that there is injury to the EU industry;
    • that there is a causal link between subsidy and injury; and
    • and that EU interest calls for an intervention to prevent injury.
  • Following further investigation, definitive measures may be imposed by the Commission within 13 months. They are normally applicable for 5 years.
  • During the 5-year period, a request may be made for an interim review when the circumstances with regard to subsidisation and injury have changed significantly and this change is of a lasting nature.
  • In the final year of application of the measures, the EU industry may ask the Commission to conduct an expiry review. This determines whether the expiry of the measures would be likely to lead to a continuation or recurrence of subsidisation and injury. If this is the case, the measures may be continued for another 5 years.
  • Importers can also request a refund of the duties paid when they think that the amount of subsidy has been reduced or eliminated.
  • The EU’s anti-subsidy rules are based on the global standards set by the World Trade Organization (WTO).

This article contains European Union public sector information which is reproduced pursuant to Commission Decision of 12 December 2011 on the reuse of Commission documents (2011/833/EU)

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