On 29 April 2021, the UK’s long-proposed Trade Bill finally received royal assent and became the Trade Act 2021 (the Act). While the Bill had been introduced in November 2017 by the government of Prime Minister Theresa May and re-introduced in March 2020 by the government of Prime Minister Boris Johnson, its adoption had been delayed because of numerous amendments to the bill and the change of government in 2019. One of the purposes of the Act is to establish a Trade Remedies Authority (the TRA) as an independent, arm’s length body from the UK Government. The TRA’s purpose will be to carry out trade remedy investigations and to make recommendation to the Secretary of State for the Department for International Trade (DIT). Since the UK’s official departure from the EU in late January 2020, trade remedy investigations have been undertaken by DIT itself, through its Trade Remedies Investigations Directorate (the TRID). These functions will now be transferred to the TRA.
In practice, despite the transfer of responsibility from the TRID to the TRA, much will remain the same. Ongoing investigations will be unaffected by the change. Some of the underlying legislation will now change to reflect the TRA’s assumption of investigative responsibilities. The TRA’s official planned launch date TRA is 1 June 2021. To mark its establishment, the TRA is hosting an online event during which it will provide an introduction to the UK’s trade remedies regime (the registration link is here).
In parallel with this development, parties in the UK currently await release of the statement of facts from the UK transition review in ‘Welded tubes and pipes’ from the Republic of Belarus, the Peoples Republic of China and the Russian Federation (TD0001). This will be the first full statement of facts for a completed UK transition review. As the statement likely will provide important insight into how the UK will approach dumping cases, we will be following up with a report in the near future regarding its contents.