Poor international Commission performance on trade

Essays - January 27, 2023

On 20 September 2022, the European Commission publicly announced that thanks to its “firm” fair trade measures, more than 460,000 jobs had been protected in the Union during 2021.

Barely one month later, on 27 October, ECR member of the European Parliament Jorge Buxadé Villalba requested the Commission to further explain about those alleged measures and result.

In particular, Mr. Buxadé asked where the figure came from, as this seemed totally unclear in the Commission report and supporting documents.  Furthermore, the Spanish MEP called for a breakdown by Member State of the supposedly saved jobs.  Finally, he demanded a quantitative evaluation of results under the used term “firm”.

On 6 January, Executive Vice-president and Commission for Trade Valdis Dombrovskis provided his answer in the form of written response to the VOX politician.

With regards to the protected jobs, it does not mean that such amount of jobs were actually saved.  The figure of 462,000 is simply a number that results from adding the amount of all workers associated to the products where the Commission had implemented some anti-dumping measures of different kinds.  Therefore, it is easy to deduct that the actual number of jobs saved during the past year was a lot more limited.

In terms of Mr. Buxadé’s second item, the Commissioner recognised not having information available on how the theoretically protected jobs were distributed across the different Member States of the Union.  This is particularly disappointing, as if the total is calculated based on a simple association with the products benefitting from measures, it should be relatively easy to calculate and publish a breakdown, based on where those products are being manufactured and comercialised.  Quite obviously, the problem of job loss does not impact equally in different European territories.

Finally, Commissioner Dombrovskis did give a quantitative evaluation of anti-dumping measures results, albeit a rather irrelevant one.  According to him, € 5.5 million are saved every year, which is equivalent to the turnover of a single medium-sized company.

We could agree with Mr. Dombrovskis that there is an educational effect of measures which should also be measured, but one doubts that the large structure of Commission resources is justified with such pyrrhic levels of economic performance.

Source of the image:  Facebook