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Common rules for imports from certain Non-EU Member Countries

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Common rules for imports from certain Non-EU Member Countries

This regulation establishes common rules for imports into the European Union (EU) of products originating in certain non-EU countries. It also lays down the procedures enabling the EU to implement the surveillance and safeguard measures necessary to protect the EU’s interests.


Council Regulation (EC) No 625/2009 of 7 July 2009 on common rules for imports from certain third countries.


The imports of products covered by this regulation are not subject to any quantitative restrictions and therefore take place freely, subject to possible safeguard measures.


This regulation applies to products originating in any of the following non-EU countries: Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Kazakhstan, North Korea, Russia, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan and Vietnam. The scope excludes textile products which are covered by special common rules for imports.

Information and consultation procedure

EU countries must inform the Commission if import trends suggest the need for surveillance or safeguard measures. Consultations may be held either at the request of an EU country or on the initiative of the Commission. They take place within an advisory committee made up of representatives of each EU country with a representative of the Commission as chairman.

These consultations primarily examine the:

  • conditions of imports;
  • economic and commercial situation;
  • matters concerning the administration of the trade agreements between the EU and the non-EU country concerned from the list above;
  • measures, if any, to be taken.

Consultations may be conducted in writing, if necessary, and the EU countries may express their opinion or request oral consultations within a period of five to eight working days.

Investigation procedure

Where, after consultations it is apparent that there is sufficient evidence to justify the initiation of an investigation, the Commission shall initiate an investigation within one month and publish a notice in the Official Journal of the European Union, summarising the information received and setting out the deadlines for interested parties to submit information as well as the deadlines concerning hearings.

Within the framework of the investigation, the Commission examines the:

  • volume of imports;
  • price of imports;
  • consequent impact on EU producers;
  • specific economic system of the countries in question.

Where there is an alleged threat of serious injury, the Commission will also examine whether the particular situation is likely to develop into actual injury. In doing so, the Commission will look at the rate of increase of the exports to the EU and the export capacity in the country of origin or export.

The investigation should be conducted in 9 months. In exceptional circumstances this period can be extended by a further maximum period of 2 months.

Procedural rights (access to non-confidential information, the right to be heard, confidentiality) must be respected throughout the whole proceeding.

At the end of the investigation, the Commission submits a report to the advisory committee and, depending on the conclusion of its investigations, either terminates the investigation or decides to implement surveillance or safeguard measures.

Surveillance measures

Where required to protect the EU’s interests, the Commission may, at the request of an EU country or on its own initiative, either introduce retrospective surveillance of certain imports or make certain imports subject to prior surveillance. Products under prior surveillance may only be put into free circulation within the EU on production of a surveillance document. The document is valid throughout the EU, regardless of the EU country of issue.

In this regard, this regulation differs from Regulation (EC) No 260/2009 (common rules applied to imports from other non-EU countries). Where surveillance measures are implemented, the conditions for the use or issue of import documents may be stricter for the countries listed above than for other non-EU countries. In particular, where the EU’s interests so require, the Commission may limit the period of validity of the import document, make issue of this document subject to certain conditions or even provide for the insertion of a revocation clause.

Safeguard measures

Safeguard measures may be applied where products are imported into the EU in such greatly increased quantities or on such terms or conditions as to cause, or threaten to cause, serious injury to EU producers. The conditions are similar to those in Regulation (EC) No 260/2009. Safeguard measures apply to every product which is put into free circulation after their entry into force. They do not, however, prevent the release for free circulation of products already on their way to the EU.

This regulation does not preclude the fulfilment of obligations arising from special agreements concluded between the EU and the non-EU countries listed above. It also does not prevent the adoption or application by EU countries of prohibitions, quantitative restrictions or surveillance measures on grounds of: public morality, public policy or public security, the protection of health and life of humans, animals or plants, the protection of national treasures possessing artistic, historic or archaeological value, the protection of industrial and commercial property, and special formalities concerning foreign exchange.



Entry into force

Deadline for transposition in the Member States

Official Journal

Regulation (EC) No 625/2009



OJ L 185, 17.7.2009


Commission Regulation (EU) No 1241/2009 of 16 December 2009 continuing and updating the scope of prior surveillance of imports of certain iron and steel products originating in certain third countries.

Last updated: 11.02.2011