Elgar International Economic Law series
1. General introduction The notions (if not the terms) of ‘dumping’ and ‘anti-dumping’ have been part of the bilateral trade treaties and domestic regulations since the progressive market opening of the early 1800s. However, the first time that these terms were used in a trade context similar to the current one was in 1904, by Canada’s Liberal government which, although backed by a free trade (in theory) party was facing pressures from domestic manufacturers and farmers to increase import duties in order to protect Canadian industry from foreign dumping (Viner 1923). However, during the 50 years following the end of the First World War, anti-dumping as a trade instrument remained largely a sleeping beauty, mostly because the bulk of protection was ensured by tariffs, quantitative restrictions, subsidies, or a mix of all these instruments. From the early 1900s up to the late 1970s, anti-dumping was thus a relatively minor trade provision allowing Customs to take action in a limited number of cases, despite its introduction in the 1947 GATT text. Things started to change dramatically during the 1970s. From the 1960s to the early 1970s, the US and the EC were mostly using voluntary export restraints (VERs) or minimum prices (trigger price mechanism) for coping with the increasing relative inefficiency of their labour-intensive activities (textile and clothing, shoes and so on) and of the steel sector. However, all these instruments showed major flaws in their capacity to protect. They tend to attract a lot of public attention. They have to...
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