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.
- 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.
- 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);