Since 1 January 2021, the United Kingdom of Great Britain and North Ireland (the UK) has ceased to be part of the Single Market of the European Union (EU). This date marked the end of the transition period provided for under the Withdrawal Agreement of 31 January 2020 between the UK and the EU. During the transition period, the UK remained in the EU customs territory and thus continued to be integrated into EU trade policy and enforcement actions, including trade remedies. The UK’s departure from the EU at the start of 2021 will have multiple consequences for EU trade remedy investigations and for the EU’s approach to trade remedy measures more generally going forward.
In light of these changes, the EU published a notice on 18 January 2021, laying down some of the practical implications of the UK’s departure.
One immediate consequence of UK’s exit from the EU customs territory is that all trade remedy measures (anti-dumping, countervailing and safeguards) in force on 1 January 2021 will apply going forward only to imports into the 27 member states of the EU from third party States. This will include EU imports of UK originating steel products that are subject to EU steel safeguard measures. Likewise, any new trade remedy measures the EU may adopt after 1 January 2021 following an investigation initiated before or after that date will only affect imports into the EU-27, i.e. excluding the UK.
One complication is imports into Northern Ireland. Pursuant to Part Three of the Withdrawal Agreement, though theoretically no long part of customs territory of the EU, after 1 January 2021, Northern Ireland will continue to be subject to EU customs procedures and rules, in order to maintain borderless trade flows on the island of Ireland. EU trade remedy measures will therefore be applicable to goods entering Northern Ireland from outside the EU unless it can be proven that their final sales destination of sales is Northern Ireland. This includes goods entering into Northern Ireland from Great Britain, subject to any future amendments to the rules. The EU will soon make available a separate notice concerning the technical details in this respect.