Brussels, 20 October 2014
EU and China settle the telecoms case at the Joint Committee
Intensive discussions between the European Commission and the Chinese government were concluded by an amicable settlement on the trade defence investigation into Chinese telecoms. Today, the Commission took the official decision that it no longer considers it necessary to pursue this investigation.
The talks culminated on 18 October at the EU-China Joint Committee, chaired by Commissioner Karel De Gucht and Minister of Commerce Gao Hucheng. The Joint Committee is a regular event on the EU – China trade meetings’ calendar, attesting to the importance both sides attach to their trading relationship. The meeting discussed a number of issues on the bilateral trade agenda, with a focus on areas where relations can be strengthened such investment and cooperation on important multilateral and plurilateral initiatives.
Regarding telecoms, the main points of the settlement include:
EU Trade Commissioner Karel De Gucht said: “I am pleased that the EU and China have resolved the telecoms case. The EU pursues every opportunity to level out the playing field for our companies by engaging with our strategic partners including China. The concerns that have led us to launch the case last May can now be addressed in a systematic and regular dialogue between the two sides for the benefit of our industry.”
In procedural terms, today’s action concerns the decision in principle of 15 May 2013 to open an ex officio anti-dumping and an anti-subsidy investigation concerning imports of mobile telecommunications networks and their essential elements from China. On 27 March 2014, the Commission already repealed the part relating to the anti-dumping investigation, following today with anti-subsidy. Together, these two decisions mean that the investigation into mobile telecommunications networks from China will not be pursued.
Which products would have been concerned by this ex officio investigation?
The product would have been mobile telecommunications networks and their essential elements (i.e. radio access network and mobile network core) designed and configured to fulfil the requirements of the EU telecommunications service providers, regardless of technology (2G, 3G, 4G, or any future technologies), whether completely or partly assembled or unassembled at the time of shipment and with or without dedicated software. Mobile telecommunication networks are used by telecommunications service providers to transmit, receive and transport wireless voice and data messages, manage the network and enable the provision of communications and data services and applications. The end-user equipment (e.g. telephones, modems) was not covered.
What is the current value of such telecommunication network equipment exports from China into the EU?
China exports telecommunication network equipment to the EU market with a value of approximately just over 1 billion euros per year.
What is an ex officio trade defence case?
An ex officio trade defence action allows the European Commission to launch a trade defence investigation on its own initiative without an official complaint by the EU industry. Such an action can be focused on either an anti-dumping or anti-subsidy investigation or both. Any launch of such an investigation is supported by prima facie evidence of unfair international trade practice and the economic difficulties caused by it.
What are trade defence instruments (TDIs)?
Trade defence instruments address unfair practices occurring in international trade. Anti-dumping is the most frequently used form of trade defence. According to the World Trade Organisation (WTO), all its members, including the EU, have the right in some well-defined situations to impose additional duties on imported products to prevent damage to their domestic industry. The European Commission investigates any allegations and, if justified, proposes antidumping or anti-subsidy measures.
For further information
Statement by EU Trade Commissioner Karel De Gucht on mobile telecommunications networks from China, 15 May 2013
Press release EU not to pursue the anti-dumping investigation against mobile telecommunications networks from China
On Trade Defence Instruments