Brussels, 27 March 2014
EU not to pursue the anti-dumping investigation against mobile telecommunications networks from China
The European Commission has today revised its 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.
The anti-dumping investigation will not be pursued. Further analysis has shown that the essence of the problems posed by Chinese competition on the EU market lies in the subsidisation of the mobile telecommunications networks.
The solution was facilitated by the Commission’s decision to adopt a two-step approach, deferring the actual investigations to provide space for dialogue.
EU Trade Commissioner Karel De Gucht said: “Today’s decision not to pursue the anti-dumping part of this possible trade defence action is a significant step towards addressing the mobile telecommunications case in its entirety. I am pleased that EU and China have recently been able to resolve a number of trade frictions, not least the polysilicon case and the wine case where China terminated their investigation without imposition of any duty.”
The decision in principle concerning the anti-subsidy investigation still stands, although it will not be activated for the time being to allow the continuation of the negotiations with the Chinese authorities towards an amicable solution addressing the EU concerns with respect to subsidization.
EU Trade Commissioner Karel De Gucht will revert to the College of Commissioners in due course.
If the anti-subsidy ex officio investigation is in fact launched, which product(s) would be subject to the investigation?
The product is 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) is 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. This possibility is particularly important as it offers a 'shield' when the risk of retaliation against European companies asking for trade defence instruments is high. 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 - anti-dumping, anti-subsidy and safeguards – 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.
An EU industry can complain to the European Commission if it suffers from unfair competition as a result of an imported product being subsidised by its country of origin or being sold in the EU at prices lower than its market value. The complaint must be supported by evidence of the unfair practice and of the economic difficulties caused by it. The European Commission investigates the allegations and, if justified, proposes anti-dumping or anti-subsidy measures. In exceptional cases, the European Commission can launch an investigation at its own initiative – known as an 'ex officio' case.
For further information
Statement by EU Trade Commissioner Karel De Gucht on mobile telecommunications networks from China, 15 May 2013
Press Release: European Commission welcomes agreement reached between European and Chinese wine industries which will put an end to China's anti-dumping and anti-subsidy cases, 21 March 2014
Press Release: Trade Defence Instruments: European Commission welcomes EU industry's agreement with China in the polysilicon anti-dumping and anti-subsidy cases, 17 March 2014
On Trade Defence Instruments