European Ombudsman: no maladministration in the Commission refusing to suspend or extend deadlines in an anti-dumping investigation in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic
The European Ombudsman has issued a decision in case 924/2020/TE, concluding that no maladministration existed in the Commission’s refusal to put on hold an anti-dumping investigation (into imports of Chinese aluminium products) due to the COVID-19 pandemic or, in the alternative, to give an Italian importer more time to respond to information requests sent to it by the Commission.
Under the Basic anti-dumping Regulation 2016/1036 the Commission does not have the power to put investigations on hold. However, given the exceptional circumstances, on 16 March 2020 the Commission published a ‘Notice on the consequences of the COVID-19 outbreak on anti-dumping investigations’. The COVID-19 Notice allows the Commission to extend the deadlines for responding to questionnaires and other requests for information, provided such extensions do not risk the timely conclusion of anti-dumping investigations.
The Commission found no maladministration in how the Commission dealt with the applicant’s claim because he was granted an extension under the COVID-19 notice, and a further extension of deadlines may have undermined the Commission’s ability to meet its obligations to complete the anti-dumping investigation within the legal deadlines that are binding on it.
The Ombudsman’s decision closing the case is available here.