The EU Commission issued a Notice recently on the consequences of the COVID-19 outbreak on anti-dumping and anti-subsidy investigations.
The Notice addresses the impact of COVID-19 on the below two aspects of such investigations.
- On site verifications: the Commission suspended all non-essential travel to affected areas and postponed face-to-face meetings. Therefore, the normal visits to examine the records of importers, exporters, traders, agents, producers, trade associations and organizations to verify the information, cannot take place. The Commission will consider the information to be properly submitted if sufficiently accurate and complete. If not sufficiently accurate or complete, the Commission will base their findings on verified or proven facts on the record. Since this means the Commission may need to do additional cross-checks, it is essential that parties cooperate fully with the Commission in providing information. Exporting producers responding to questionnaires are requested to ensure all responses can be verified remotely and linked to the corresponding records.
- Time limits: due to the various national safety measures which have been implemented, such as lockdowns and social distancing, parties may be confronted with difficulties to respond to questionnaires or other requests for information within the applicable time limits. Since the COVID-19 outbreak is considered force majeure, an extension of 7 days can be granted to provide responses to questionnaires and letters identifying deficiencies. Parties must indicate how the COVID-19 measures affect their ability to respond to Commission’s questions. If companies are subject to additional safety measures such as quarantines or mandatory factory closures, an extension of more than 7 working days may be granted. Parties must again explain how these measures affect their ability to provide the information, and also how the extra extension would allow them to prepare a meaningful response to either the questionnaire or other request for information. The Commission will decide on such extraordinary extensions on a case-by-case basis, and can reject the request or shorten the extension if it jeopardizes the timely conclusion of the investigation. Since the adoption of the notice, verification visits in various on-going investigations have been cancelled or postponed and time limits of investigations extended within statutory limits.
The measures described above will apply until the affected areas are once again considered safe to travel to, or until the measures restricting the parties have been lifted. If visits can once again be carried out during the investigation, these will happen only if they are still opportune in light of the time limits of the investigation. If the measures are lifted after an investigation has been finished in which definitive measures were imposed, the Commission can review these measures.
Since the adoption of the notice, verification visits in various on-going investigations have been cancelled or postponed and time limits of investigations extended within statutory limits.