EU Raw Materials Trade Policy

September 29th 2014 - 12:00
Raw materials

Raw materials are the basis of a large number of industrial value chains in the EU. Specific raw materials are needed to make a wide range of industrial goods such as car engines, mobile phones or wind turbines.

EU raw materials' industry in a nutshell

- A large number of industries use raw materials as inputs, providing a total added value of €1300 billion.
- 30 million people employed in the raw materials' industrial sector
- A sustainable supply of particular raw materials is of crucial importance for the development of green technologies

EU Trade policy and raw materials

Raw materials play a significant role for the EU trade policy. In concrete terms, the European Commission developed a fully-fledged strategy for raw materials, which was outlined in the 2008 Communication entitled the Raw Materials Initiative. This was revised in February 2011 in a Communication, which further boosted the integration of raw material priorities in EU policies.

EU Trade policy is actively committed to ensure that the international raw materials markets operate in a free and transparent way. For this purpose, the EU’s trade strategy relies on three pillars:

1. Definition of the rules of the game through bilateral and multilateral negotiations
2. Enforcing the rules and tackling market barriers when required
3. Promotion of the debate on raw materials, both in bilateral and multilateral settings.

Results on raw materials

- EU-Korea FTA includes the prohibition of duties, taxes or other fees on exportation.
- Upcoming EU-Singapore FTA includes the prohibition of duties, taxes or measures of an equivalent effect on exportation.
- EU and Central America, and Colombia/Peru trade agreements include a prohibition of export duties or taxes, with some minor exceptions.
- WTO accession Tajikistan: a commitment was secured on the prohibition of export duties or taxes, except for a list of products with bound rates.
- WTO raw materials’ cases against China: successful conclusion of the first WTO case against China’s export restrictions on 9 raw materials (bauxite, coke, fluorspar, magnesium, manganese, silicon carbide, silicon metal, yellow phosphorus and zinc) which were found in violation of WTO rules and of China’s commitments; a second case has been launched in 2012 against export restrictions applied by China on another set of products (rare earths, tungsten and molybdenum).
-Outreach and transparency work in the OECD outreach to third non-OECDcountries is on-going, notably in close cooperation with the OECD.

More on raw material

- DG Trade - Raw materials policy 2009 annual report
- EU Trade Policy for Raw Materials - Second Activity Report (issued in May 2012)
- DG Enterprise and Industry's webpage: Raw Materials – International Aspects