ECJ: Anti-dumping duty extension for pocket lighters invalidated

In its judgment of 17 December 2015 (C-371/14), the European Court of Justice (ECJ) annulled implementing Regulation (EU) No 260/2013 extending the anti-dumping duty to refillable pocket flint lighters for gas originating in the People’s Republic of China to non-refillable pocket flint lighters for gas dispatched from the Socialist Republic of Vietnam, whether declared as Vietnamese origin or not. This judgment should encourage economic operators to take legal action against anti-dumping measures

Invalidity of the extension due to insufficient circumvention indications

The FG Hamburg referred the case to the ECJ for a ruling because it had doubts as to the validity of the Enlargement Regulation in two respects. Firstly, the anti-dumping duty, the extension of which was to be ordered, had already expired at the time of the adoption of the extension regulation. According to the ECJ, however, this circumstance does not lead to the invalidity of the extension regulation. However, the extension regulation should only cover the period before the expiry of the anti-dumping measure. On the other hand, the FG Hamburg expressed doubts about a circumvention of the anti-dumping measures actually established, which must be available for the adoption of an extension regulation. The ECJ shared this view. A“bundle of concordant indications” for circumvention of the anti-dumping measures was not apparent from the Extension Regulation.

ECJ ruling encourages legal action against anti-dumping measures

This judgment of the ECJ sends out the signal that actions against anti-dumping measures can certainly lead to success. It is true that the Union institutions would have a discretion which would only be subject to limited judicial control. However, the ECJ examines whether the procedural rules have been complied with, whether the facts on which the contested decision is based have been correctly established and whether there is no manifestly erroneous assessment of this facts and no misuse of powers. The recitals of the Regulation under review play a significant role in this examination.

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