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Using the UK Trade Remedies Authority to ease supply chain pressures

Daniel Merlo
21/09/2021
Businesses may be aware that the European Commission is reportedly considering temporarily suspending various anti-dumping duties due to market disruptions arising from Covid-19.  This includes duties on fasteners, aluminium converter foil and polyvinyl alcohol from China, plywood from Russia, fertilizer from the US, Russia and Trinidad and Tobago, and various steel goods from China, India and other countries. 

The UK's Trade Remedies Authority (TRA) also has the power to recommend a suspension of these measures. 

Whilst suspensions would benefit foreign producers exporting to the UK and may ease some domestic supply chain pressures (and costs), they also pose a threat to UK producers who may see hard-won measures relaxed for a time.  Business on both sides of the divide should be prepared.
 
 

The TRA's Test

The TRA has the power to recommend a suspension of its own accord if it considers that:
  1. Market conditions have changed temporarily
  2. As a consequence of the temporary change in market conditions, the injury caused to the UK industry for which the trade remedies measures are in place is unlikely to recur if the measure were to be suspended
  3. It is satisfied that a suspension is appropriate

Although it would depend on the particular circumstances, the 'temporary market conditions' test could in principle be satisfied by the effect that Covid-19 is having on supply chains.

The satisfaction of the 'injury recurrence' test is likely to be contested by UK producers, although cogent arguments could be made against the likelihood of injury recurring where supply chain issues are the basis for the requested suspension.

The 'appropriateness test' gives a broad discretion to the TRA and whether it is met will depend on the individual circumstances of a particular case.  The burden of establishing that suspension is not appropriate would arguably shift to the TRA in cases where the other two tests are met.

If the TRA recommends that a measure is temporarily suspended, the Secretary of State for International Trade must accept the recommendation unless it is not in the public interest.

Suspensions can be for up to 9 months, with a possibility to extend up to a maximum of 21 months in total.
 

Fieldfisher's International Trade team can help you understand all aspects of suspension reviews and provide pragmatic and cost-effective advice.

 

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Trade Remedies
Brexit