EU deploys anti-dumping measures against trade partners, Ireland’s low-tax regime ‘running out of road’

From Tax Advisers Europe: The European Commission has leveraged on its new trade policy instruments towards third countries, whereby the EU takes defensive against unfair trade practices, including dumping and products benefiting from foreign State Aid/ subsidies entering the Single Market. The EU has used the trade policy anti-dumping instruments against a number of foreign trade partners in 2020, notably against China (99 measures), Russia (9 measures), India (7 measures) and the United States (6 measures). “Ensuring fair trade conditions for European producers also means dealing with trade defence actions taken by third countries against the EU”, the 39th Annual Report on the EU’s Anti-Dumping, Anti-Subsidy and Safeguard activities and the Use of Trade Defence Instruments by Third Countries targeting the EU in 2020 concludes.

Commenting, EU Commission Vice- President Valdis Dombrovski said of the developments: “The EU needs effective tools to defend ourselves when we face unfair trade practices. This is a key pillar of our new strategy for an open, sustainable and assertive trade policy. We have continued to use our trade defence instruments effectively during the COVID-19 pandemic, improved their monitoring and enforcement, and tackled new ways of giving subsidies by third countries.  We will not tolerate the misuse of trade defence instruments by our trading partners and we will continue to support our exporters caught up in such cases. It is crucial that our companies and their workers can continue to rely on robust trade defence instruments that protect them against unfair trade practices.”

Macron Discusses Ireland’s Support for OECD’s International Tax Agreement

French President Emmanuel Macron visited Ireland last week to discuss taxation and Brexit, hoping to persuade his Irish counterparts to support the OECD proposals to reform the international tax rules. Macron has publicly denied any pressure on Ireland, but the Irish government acknowledged that Irish support for the OECD proposals was discussed “at length”.

Speaking at a press conference in Dublin, Macron said: “I think our citizens no more understand why when you are an SME you pay tax, but when you are a big corporation you don’t pay tax.” Macron said. Adding that Ireland’s economic model has produced “unique” results, but is “running out of road”, Macron said that the situation is now different in the post-pandemic world, with governments requiring much more revenue for public investment and recovery. “I want to believe that we will find the right path together, in order to deliver a common framework and to deliver minimum taxation, because I do believe it makes sense,” Macron said.

Head of Ireland’s Government Micheál Martin said that Ireland maintains reservations concerning the OECD proposals. “There are significant challenges for us in respect of this process. But we are in no doubt that we will be engaging constructively in the process, and there’s some journey yet to go in that.”, Martin said at the press-conference with Macron.

In addition to Ireland, a number of other EU Member states such as Hungary, Cyprus and Estonia have publicly expressed certain discontent with the OECD proposals, and might veto the agreement should it be implemented via EU law. The OECD aims to complete the agreement on the technical detail by October, with implementation commencing as early as 2023.

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