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The Hearing Officer

The right of defence is a fundamental principle in trade proceedings and a key element of the EU Charter of Fundamental Rights.

The Directorate-General for Trade uses an independent mediator - the Hearing Officer - to guarantee due process and the right of defence in trade proceedings, notably anti-dumping or anti-subsidy investigations.

The Hearing Officer acts upon reasoned requests of interested parties involved in a trade proceeding, including authorities of third countries concerned, and Commission services.

The role of the Hearing Officer is to:

  • safeguard the effective exercise of the procedural rights of the interested parties
  • ensure that trade proceedings  are handled impartially, fairly and within a reasonable time

The Hearing Officer can organise and chair hearings, make recommendations to the services responsible for the investigation and make decisions on certain issues concerning rights of parties.

The function was created in 2007, to facilitate communication between interested parties and Commission services in trade proceedings, and to offer mediation - on procedural issues - between interested parties and Directorate-General for Trade.

The Hearing Officer is attached, for administrative purposes, to the Cabinet of the Commissioner for Trade. He works independently from Commission services and reports directly to the Commissioner for Trade. The Hearing Officer also provides independent policy advice on trade proceeding to the Commissioner and the Director General for Trade. This reflects his role as an interface between the Commission services and the interested parties.

For further details about the activities of the Hearing Officer, see Annual Reports

For further details see Terms of Reference of the Hearing Officer

Contact the Hearing Officer

Gerhard Hannes WELGE, Hearing Officer, Tel.: +32 (0)2 296.81.62

Brigitte HEINRICHS, Adviser, Tel.: +32 (0)2 295.51.00

Karlota DUMITRU, Assistant, Tel.: +32 (0)2 298.58.89

Postal address:

Rue de la Loi 170
CHAR 03/133
B-1049 Brussels

Fax: +32 (0) 2 292.01.49