TDI Yearly 2018 – full house and lively debates in this new IES conference

In recent months, trade defence has become increasingly prominent on the European political agenda. China is resolutely claiming to be a market economy, while US President Trump has set up measures on steel and aluminium. Recent events such as these have only underlined the importance of reforms on the EU’s Trade Defence Instruments (TDIs): they need to become more efficient so as to react quickly to external developments. These external and internal evolutions were amongst the key themes explored in the new high-level expert conference organized by the IES on 26 October, the TDI Yearly 2018.

“We are very happy with the wide interest that the TDI Yearly conference attracted”, noted Prof. Frank Hoffmeister, who had been coordinating the initiation of the event together with an advisory group of five expert TDI lawyers from the Brussels bar. “Having as participants practitioners and litigants from importing and exporting industries, as well as public authorities and researchers, created an ideal setting for a very well informed and open discussion”, added Prof. Harri Kalimo also from the organising IES. The conference panelists and attendees seemed very pleased with this type of novel forum. The discussion itself highlighted for example how the Commission is under increasing pressure: the timelines in the modernised rules on TDIs are ever shorter, while the cases are ever more complex and the focus on all parties’ due process rights in the CJEU case law is increasing. Also, the EU remains committed to following the WTO rules while hammering out the details of the enforcement practices.

The IES is looking forward to organising a new edition of the conference in 2019. “I have greatly benefited from the systematic overview of the main novelties in the Commission’s administrative practice as well as rulings from Luxembourg and Geneva”, noted a participant. Next to looking at those recurring points for the upcoming year the keynote speech of IES President Karel De Gucht already challenged the participants to start reflecting on the next political theme. For example, what are the possibilities of using TDIs also on services, using the EU regulations on maritime and air transport sectors as a benchmark? How about the more extensive use of non-economic criteria in the EU’s public procurement? With a good mix of presenting TDI highlights of the past year and stimulating progressive academic debate there will certainly be no lack of topical issues in the TDI Yearly 2019.