EU Regulations sets out common rules for the application of safeguard measures to imports from certain non-EU countries that may cause serious injury or the threat of serious injury to EU producers, and for the surveillance of those imports.

The rules for products from five countries differ from the EU’s general common rules for imports and from the rules set out for textile products from certain non-EU countries under Regulation (EU) 2015/936.

  • It applies to products from:
    • Azerbaijan,
    • Belarus,
    • North Korea,
    • Turkmenistan,
    • Uzbekistan.

Commission Delegated Regulation (EU) 2017/749 removes Kazakhstan from the list following its accession to the World Trade Organisation.

EU investigation procedure

  • EU countries must inform the European Commission if trends in imports appear to call for surveillance or safeguard measures*.
  • A Commission investigation seeks to determine whether imports of a product are causing (or are threatening to cause) serious injury to the EU producers concerned.
  • The investigation must normally be completed within 9 months but, in certain cases, may be extended to 11 months.
  • It examines:
    • the trend in imports;
    • the conditions in which they take place;
    • whether there is serious injury or the threat of serious injury to EU producers resulting from such imports.
  • It considers different factors including:
    • the volume of imports;
    • the price of imports;
    • the consequent impact on European producers of similar or directly competitive products.
  • If the investigation shows that imports have increased so much so that they cause (or threaten to cause) serious injury to EU producers, the Commission can impose safeguard measures.


Safeguard measures

  • The EU investigation may lead to a restriction of imports of the product concerned.
  • Imports would require import authorisation subject to rules and limits set out by the Commission.
  • Measures may be limited to one or more EU regions but must be temporary and not unduly affect the workings of the single market.

Surveillance measures

  • The investigation may lead to prior or retrospective EU surveillance of a product.
  • Surveillance is a system of automatic import licensing over a period of time. It does not restrict imports either retroactively or in advance.
  • Products under prior surveillance may be put into free circulation, though only upon the presentation of an import surveillance document endorsed by the competent authority designated by an EU country and valid throughout the EU.

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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