Growth

Trade in raw materials

Trade in raw materials

The sustainable and unhindered access to raw materials is one of the pillars of the EU’s strategy for raw materials. Many non-EU countries apply measures such as export taxes, import duties, or price-fixing, which distort free and transparent markets. To avoid these distortions and minimise their effect on the EU’s manufacturing industries, the EU engages in a number of bilateral and multilateral dialogues.

What the Commission does

The European Commission developed a strategy for raw materials, which was outlined in the 2008 Communication entitled the Raw Materials Initiative. This was revised in February 2011 in a Communication which further boosted the integration of raw material priorities into EU policies.

EU Trade policy is committed to ensuring that international raw materials markets operate in a free and transparent way. As a response to trade policy issues, the EU strategy aims to:

  • propose to eliminate the export restrictions in bilateral and multilateral negotiations,
  • tackle trade barriers through dialogues and other tools including WTO dispute settlements and the Market Access Partnerships;
  • raise awareness in international fora such as the G8 (315 kB), G20, OECD, and UNCTAD. Recently, following the WTO ruling against Chinese export restrictions, China ended a quota system previously aimed at restricting exports of rare earths. This move was in line with a WTO panel ruling in March 2014.

See an overview of the different EU bilateral trade and investment agreements.

Bilateral agreements

  • The EU-Korea Free Trade Agreement (FTA) includes the prohibition of duties, taxes, or other fees on the export of raw materials;
  • The upcoming EU-Singapore FTA includes the prohibition of duties, taxes, or measures of an equivalent effect on the export of raw materials.
  • The ongoing EU-Vietnam FTA negotiations aim to secure the prohibition of duties or taxes on a number of raw materials, including all Critical Raw Materials.

Multilateral agreements

  • The EU and Central America, and Colombia/Peru trade agreements include a prohibition of export duties or taxes on raw materials, with some minor exceptions;
  • During the WTO accession of Tajikistan, a commitment was secured on the prohibition of export duties or taxes on raw materials, except for a list of products with bound rate (the ceiling rates as listed in members’ schedules or lists of commitments);

Anti-dumping instruments

Contact

GROW-C2@ec.europa.eu

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