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European Court annuls anti-circumvention duties for Starway

Laws & Regulations

Since 1997, Starway, a bicycle assembler in Luynes (France) owned by China Bicycles Corporation (CBC), had been paying 30.6% circumvention duties on imports of essential bicycle parts from China. Now the European Court has nullified these duties. According to the Council Regulation on anti-circumvention duties on imports of parts from China, exemption would be granted […]

Since 1997, Starway, a bicycle assembler in Luynes (France) owned by China Bicycles Corporation (CBC), had been paying 30.6% circumvention duties on imports of essential bicycle parts from China. Now the European Court has nullified these duties. According to the Council Regulation on anti-circumvention duties on imports of parts from China, exemption would be granted to companies who could prove, with origin certificates, that the parts concerned did not originate in China. Starway could not produce the origin certificates, but presented other documents such as order forms, invoices, transport documents etc. The Commission rejected this evidence. Now the Court argued that during the investigation period, Starway was under no legal obligation whatsoever to provide themselves with origin certificates to prove the non-preferential origin of the parts. Before the promulgation of the regulation ( 71/97, article 2), such an obligation did not exist. Moreover, by the time of the investigation it was no longer possible for Starway to obtain the origin certificates. The Court judged: ëThe Community institutions cannot demand origin certificates, excluding all other evidence, when they know or should know that the companies concerned are unable to produce such certificates, without having any responsibility for that impossibility. () Refusal of any other evidence is tantamount to denying the defendant the right to produce documents in his defense.(AR)

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