Anti-dumping is at the heart of EU trade policy. Its use is justified on the grounds of eliminating injurious dumping by foreign firms and reestablishing conditions of ‘fair’ trade. Use of anti-dumping has been rising globally, generating concerns about the potential for protectionist abuse of this trade defence instrument (TDI). Most economists are of the opinion that anti-dumping has little to do with ‘unfair’ trade. In general, suspicions are high that domestic industries are turning to anti-dumping as a form of protectionism, and that the EU’s current anti-dumping laws support their efforts. This article takes an in-depth look at the past ten years of anti-dumping usage in the EU. The analysis draws on information from the 332 anti-dumping cases initiated between 1998 and 31 December 2008.
Five empirical tendencies have been identified:
(1) the main targets of investigations and measures are exporters in emerging markets, particularly in Asia – a growing source of global competition;
(2) targeted products are concentrated in sectors where European comparative advantage is declining, that is, raw materials, industrial input goods, and textiles;
(3) dumping margins reflect this pattern, being particularly high in the chemicals and steel sectors;
(4) duty levels are significantly higher than bound tariffs, particularly in the higher end technology sector;
(5) once an anti-dumping investigation has been initiated, definitive measures are the most likely outcome.Global Trade and Customs Journal