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8th Korea-EU working group meeting on trade remedy cooperation 2022-05-20

The Ministry of Trade, Industry and Energy (MOTIE) held the 8th Korea-EU working group meeting on trade remedy cooperation (hereinafter “working group”) via videoconference on May 19 to assess respective trade defense mechanisms, inform each other on trade remedy laws, and exchange views on trade remedy policies of major trading partners.

“Trade remedy” refers to safeguards and such import regulatory measures put in place to instill fair trade order and protect domestic industries from possible injury caused by unfair trade practices like dumping, as well as trade practices categorized as “fair” but which still may inflict harm on domestic industries.

As of May 19, Korea is imposing safeguards on four EU items, in comparison with EU’s on eight Korean items.

The working group for the Korean side was led by MOTIE’s Trade Remedy Policy Director, and the EU side was led by European Commission Trade Director-General Diana Acconcia.

During the meeting, Korea relayed concerns over EU safeguard on steel and its negative impact on free and multilateral trade. Steel safeguard measures were first installed in July 2018 and extended later on to June 2024, applying the tariff-rate quota on 26 items.

Due to the recent Ukraine situation, steel supply in the EU region faces serious shortages and is threatening investment and production schedules of home appliances, cars, and other downstream industries. In light of these risks, Korea requested the reconsideration of steel safeguard and enlargement of quota for key items.

Korea also requested that EU share its most up-to-date dispute outcomes regarding the anti-dumping of lightweight thermal paper in the case of retrial or future investigations.

The two sides shared recent anti-dumping investigation cases, including non-contact investigations and period extensions, agreeing to continue sharing information on ways to enhance fairness and effectiveness of anti-dumping investigations. They also exchanged views on other major trading countries’ trade defense mechanisms and sought cooperation measures.

The working group expressed concerns on the urgency of risks posed by the volatile trade landscape, namely COVID-19, Ukraine crisis and climate change. Both sides agreed to strengthen their cooperative relations as leading advocates of free trade and international rules, while maintaining a fair and prudent stance towards trade controls.

Lastly, Korea called for EU’s support for the 20th Seoul International Forum on Trade Remedy, which Korea will be hosting this coming October.