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Strengthening trade defense instruments is vital for Europe

Soazig de la Moissonnière

In Brussels, Heads of State and Government of the European Union discussed the future direction of the European trade policy. On this occasion, Marielle de Sarnez recalled the vital importance for Europe to acquire strong and deterrent trade defence instruments.

"For or against CETA? This big issue is not yet resolved and drives the European institutions and – this is rare enough to be worthy of note when it comes to European issues – the media. The arguments of both sides make sense, and it is absolutely essential that the democratic debate continues and grows. Incidentally it would have been more appropriate to open the public discussions earlier in the process.
Beyond this controversy, the European Council has in any case understood that public opinion wanted a rebalancing of trade policy. The Heads of State and Government have indeed given themselves until the end of the year to modernize our trade defence instruments, giving a clear signal of a shift that I hope and wish.
It was time. It is undisputed that the urgency is now to defend the interests of the European citizens. This includes our social, environmental and consumer standards, "that are central to the European way of life", as recognized the European Council. But in this regulation to come will have to translate this statement of principle into deed.
When will we finally apply truly deterrent measures against those who abuse the free trade by subsidizing their production or exports?
When will we finally practice anti-dumping duties comparable to those of the Americans or the Chinese? (Maximum of 20% in Europe against 200% in the US!)
Beyond our economic interests, it is all about the European Union credibility. Faced with other major powers, which do not hesitate to protect their markets, the EU appears as a small entity, naïve, and devoid of economic and industrial control.
So it is now the responsibility of Heads of State and Government to obtain their ministers the ambitious but realistic compromise over which they have been stumbled for months. The moment of lucidity of the European leaders in Brussels is a step in the right direction. The European Parliament will be there to spur them to work so our industry can compete fairly in world markets."