Order of the Court of First Instance (Third Chamber) of 10 December 1996. - Söktas Pamuk Ve Tarim Ürünlerini Degerlendirme Ticaret Ve Sanayii AS (Söktas) v Commission of the European Communities. - Action for annulment - Action for damages - Notice of initiation of anti-dumping proceedings - Preparatory act - Inadmissible. - Case T-75/96.

European Court reports 1996 Page II-01689



1 Actions for annulment - Actionable measures - Definition - Measures having binding legal effects - Commission decision initiating anti-dumping proceedings - Preparatory act - Existence of a procedure laid down by the EEC-Turkey Association Agreement for the settlement of dumping disputes - Irrelevant

(EC Treaty, Art. 173; EEC-Turkey Association Agreement, Additional Protocol, Art. 47; Council Regulation No 3283/94)

2 Actions for damages - Action brought against the Commission concerning a measure with no legal effect - Inadmissible

(EC Treaty, Arts 178 and 215, second para.)


3 Measures whose legal effects are binding and are capable of affecting the applicants' interests by clearly altering their legal position constitute acts which may be the subject of an action for annulment under Article 173 of the Treaty. In the case of acts adopted by a procedure involving several stages, in principle only measures definitively laying down the position of the institution on the conclusion of the procedure - not intermediate measures which are intended to pave the way for the final decision and whose illegality may be raised in an action for annulment of that decision - constitute acts which may be contested.

A Commission decision initiating anti-dumping proceedings cannot be regarded, in terms of its nature or its effects, as an actionable measure. It follows from the provisions of the basic anti-dumping regulation (Regulation No 3283/94) that the Commission's task is to undertake investigations and on that basis to decide either to terminate the proceedings or to continue them, whether by adopting provisional measures or by proposing to the Council the adoption of definitive measures; the act by which the Commission initiates anti-dumping proceedings must therefore be regarded as a purely preparatory act which is not capable of immediately and irreversibly affecting the applicant's legal position.

The preparatory nature of the act is not called into question in any way by the fact that the Association Agreement between the European Economic Community and Turkey provides for a procedure whereby the Association Council may settle dumping disputes. That procedure, which is laid down by Article 47 of the Additional Protocol annexed to that Agreement, does not displace the trade protection measures created by the Community and is not brought to a standstill by the Community's initiation of anti-dumping proceedings.

4 An action for damages seeking compensation for damage caused by the alleged unlawfulness of a measure adopted by an institution is inadmissible if that measure has no legal effect.