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EU Revises Rules to Allow Quicker, Strong Responses to Trade Agreement Violations

Tuesday, May 13, 2014
Sandler, Travis & Rosenberg Trade Report

The European Union is expected to sign into law this week a new legal framework designed to better enforce EU rights under international trade agreements. According to a press release from the European Commission, the new rules “allow for a more effective EU response to illegal measures taken by our trading partners” by giving the EU “a single horizontal framework to react swiftly and effectively.”

The press release explains that if a World Trade Organization panel or a dispute settlement panel created under a free trade agreement finds that an EU partner country does not abide by international trade rules, the Commission will now be able to adopt trade sanctions under a streamlined procedure without the “lengthy legislative procedures” of the past. Sanctions may include increased customs duties, import quotas or limitations on access to public contracts in the EU. The Commission will now also have legal powers to compensate for import restrictions imposed on EU products in exceptional situations (so-called safeguard measures) or to react to cases in which a WTO member raises its import tariffs without adequate compensation for the EU.

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