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Protecting EU companies against unfair competition in the form of foreign subsidies

Question écrite de M. Tomáš ZDECHOVSKÝ - Commission européenne

Question de M. Tomáš ZDECHOVSKÝ,

Diffusée le 22 février 2024

Subject: Protecting EU companies against unfair competition in the form of foreign subsidies

Russia and China remain the strongest trade partners of the Central Asian countries. European businesses are struggling to win contracts in the region and will soon be forced to withdraw from Central Asia completely due to the hugely unequal economic and financial conditions under which goods can be supplied to the countries of Central Asia.

While China offers its companies strong support in the form of state-funded credit and export insurance rates, European companies are bound by the financing terms and conditions agreed at OECD level. The applicable minimum interest rates and minimum premium rates significantly increase the prices of their products and consequently prevent them from offering competitive prices to customers in Central Asia.

The threats to the competitiveness of EU companies in these important markets also jeopardise Europe’s established access to Central Asia.

1. Is the Commission aware of the distorted competition that EU businesses face due to being unilaterally subject to rigid OECD rules?

2. Which means can the Commission offer to support EU businesses in this regard?

3. Does the Commission intend to encourage EU Member States to take national/unilateral measures from their side to remedy the distorted competitive framework for trade with Central Asia?

Submitted:23.2.2024

Réponse - Commission européenne

Diffusée le 16 avril 2024

Answer given by Executive Vice-President Dombrovskis on behalf of the European Commission (17 April 2024)

The Commission believes that the rules of the Arrangement on Officially Supported Export Credit s (1) are not rigid. They have been modernised as from July 2023.

The aim was to streamline the disciplines to face challenges posed by the increasingly competitive landscape, while avoiding subsidisation.

The new flexibilities include for example an increased maximum repayment term of up to 15 years for majority of exports, and up to 22 years for climate-friendly projects (2), alongside an adjustment for minimum premium rates so that the price for insurance of export credits with longer repayment terms is feasible.

The new Arrangement also expands the range of climate friendly exports, which benefit from the longest repayment terms, beyond renewable energy production to, for example, clean hydrogen production, battery production, low emissions manufacturing or zero and low emissions transport.

Modernisation of the Arrangement is one way how the Commission has supported EU exporters. Another means is Commission’s work on an export credit strategy to increase EU competitiveness by, for example, a whole of government approach to export finance.

As regards Central Asia specifically, the Commission is working to ensure the level playing field via the Enhanced Partnership and Cooperation Agreements (one is already signed with Kazakhstan (3) while others with Kyrgyzstan and Uzbekistan are being prepared for signature), and negotiations on accession to the World Trade Organisation (there are ongoing with Tajikistan and Uzbekistan).

Finally, the Commission notes that disciplines on export credits are part of EU’s Common Commercial Policy and as such in the EU exclusive competence.

1 ∙ ⸱ Arrangement and Sector Understandings — Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), https://www.oecd.org/trade/topics/export-

credits/arrangement-and-sector-understandings/ 2 ∙ ⸱

I.e. those that significantly contribute to climate change mitigation or adaptation. 3 ∙ ⸱ https://eur-lex.europa.eu/legal-content/EN/TXT/?uri=CELEX%3A22016A0204%2801%29





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