My written Parliamentary question to the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills on the Government’s opposition to the European Commission’s proposed reforms of trade and defence instruments and the lesser duty rule:
Stephen Kinnock: To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills, what the reasons are for the government policy not to support the progress of the European Commission’s proposed reforms to (a) trade and defence instruments and (b) the lesser duty rule.
The UK fully supports modernisation of the European Union’s/Commission’s trade defence instruments but believes that effective trade defence measures should be proportionate, not protectionist, and set tariffs only as high as necessary to remove the injury inflicted on EU industry without being punitive, which would hurt users of products, including downstream manufacturers, and consumers.
The Government’s response to the Commission’s public consultation on the modernisation of trade defence instruments (TDI), in June 2012, stated:
“The strongly held UK view is that the EU’s use of the lesser duty rule is one of the elements of the TDI regime which contributes to its being recognised as one of the most progressive global trade defence systems. Furthermore, it enhances the economic coherence of European TD actions as imposing tariffs no higher than that level needed to offset the injury caused by dumping / subsidy is entirely consistent with restoring fair competition. We have fully supported the Commission’s efforts to encourage FTA partners to adopt the lesser duty rule in their regimes. It would be a retrograde step to remove its position as a central part of the EU regime (2.3.3).”