(Repeats item transmitted late on Tuesday without changes)
* Proposal could lead to punitive duties on more Chinese
* Could give bloc more leverage over China on trade
disputes, rare earth minerals
By Ethan Bilby
BRUSSELS, April 9 EU trade regulators want to
expand the scope of their powers to go after companies in
anti-dumping investigations, according to EU documents obtained
The proposal, if approved by EU governments and EU
lawmakers, would make it legally easier for the European
Commission to demand companies hand over sensitive data to prove
that some foreign products are sold at below cost in Europe.
It could also result in the EU trade authority levying
punitive duties on more Chinese goods and at the same time
increase its leverage over China and other countries in trade
"EU producers are often reluctant to lodge a complaint or
may withdraw from an investigation and thus be prevented from
exercising their rights under EU and World Trade Organisation
law," one of the EU papers said.
It said one in three companies, which took part in a
Commission survey, said they had been subjected to foreign
retaliation for going to regulators with their grievances.
"A more offensive approach against threats of retaliation,
fraudulent or structurally distortive trade practices will
strengthen our system and contribute to keeping production and
employment in the EU," the document said.
People familiar with the issue said that the proposals by EU
trade chief Karel de Gucht were designed to increase the
Commission's leverage over China. De Gucht has accused China of
subsidising "nearly everything".
The draft would allow the European Union to impose
significantly higher duties on countries such as China which
restrict access to key raw materials.
"It's clearly trying to respond to a trend which is driven
by China," an EU diplomat said.
China has come under fire for restricting access to its rare
earth minerals, which are crucial for the defence, electronics
and renewable-energy industries, and are also used in iPhones,
disk drives and wind turbines.
Last year, the United States, European Union, and Japan
launched a WTO complaint against China on this issue.
The proposed rules would also redefine the way the EU
decides whether to open new trade cases based on the region's
interest, a sticking point the last time reform was attempted in
Then trade commissioner Peter Mandelson abandoned his reform
effort because of a split between countries with large import
sectors that rely on cheap materials and countries with their
own low-cost factories in Europe.
(Reporting By Ethan Bilby, Editing by Foo Yun Chee and Nick