Final Annulment of Anti-Dumping Duties in "threat of injury" Case Before the European Court of Justice
We successfully secured the final annulment of an EU Regulation imposing antidumping duties on certain Europe bound exports of its client Hubei Xinyegang Steel, a Chinese producer and exporter of seamless pipes and tubes of iron and steel. The European Court of Justice (ECJ) confirmed the 2014 annulment of the Regulation by the General Court for failure of the EU institutions to establish threat of injury to the European Union industry, following an appeal by the Council and interveners.
On appeal, Baker & McKenzie fielded a Brussels-based team composed of counsel Nina Niejahr and associates Melissa Healy and Hannelore Wiame (partner Fiona Carlin, Nina Niejahr and associates Quentin Azau and Melissa Healy acted before the General Court).
This is the first case defining the legal test to be applied when asserting "threat of injury" as the basis for anti-dumping measures. In 2014, EU General Court struck down the anti-dumping Regulation finding there was no threat of injury to the European Union (EU) steel industry. The ECJ now confirmed that the margin of discretion enjoyed by the institutions in antidumping cases is limited also regarding threat of injury. Findings of threat of injury must be based on hard facts rather than mere allegations and assumptions. The ECJ confirmed that the General Court had been right when annulling the Regulation for failure to substantiate a threat of injury following a detailed analysis of the findings contained in the Regulation.
Nina Niejahr commented:
"This is a landmark case. The judgment confirmed that the bar is significantly higher for the EU to impose anti-dumping duties where the EU industry is unable to make a convincing case of injury. Imposing anti-dumping duties based on a mere threat of injury has become more difficult."
This judgment is the latest in a series of major wins for Baker & McKenzie's European & Competition Law Practice in the European Courts and the second confirming a successful challenge at first instance by the ECJ within a year. In June 2015, the ECJ confirmed the General Court's earlier judgment won by the team for Hungarian energy company MOL annulling a Commission State ordering recovery in excess of EUR100 million (including interest) for lack of selectivity. Earlier notable wins include securing a fine reduction of EUR205 million for the former American Standard group in the bathroom fittings and fixtures cartel case and the successful annulment of an antidumping regulation imposed on Chinese canned fruit producers.