09 Oct 2017

Gecić Law Advises in Historic Anti-Dumping Decision Before European Commission

(Update: 02.25.2022.)

CJEU Reaches Final Decision in Landmark Anti-Dumping Case

The Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU) reached a final decision in a landmark anti-dumping case, with far-reaching implications for HBIS Serbia and the Serbian economy. The CJEU sided with the General Court’s ruling which confirmed the European Commission’s (EC) decision not to impose anti-dumping measures on steel producers from Serbia in 2017, simultaneously imposing these measures on products originating from Brazil, Iran, Russia and Ukraine, following months of investigation into alleged anti-competitive practices (link).

Gecić Law was legal counsel to the Government of Serbia and the Smederevo steel mill, when the European Commission (EC) initiated its anti-dumping investigation on imports of hot-rolled flat steel products originating from the five countries.

Gecić Law acted as legal counsel to the Government of Serbia and the Smederevo steel mill, in the landmark case before the European Commission (EC) in relation to the anti-dumping investigation on imports of hot-rolled flat steel products originating in Brazil, Iran, Russia, Serbia and Ukraine.  In a historic development for Serbia, as the most important positive decision before the EC thus far, the EU watchdog said on Friday it would not impose anti-dumping measures on steel producers from Serbia, simultaneously imposing said measures against products originating from the other four countries, following months of investigation into alleged anti-competitive practices (link).

A Reliable Partner

The Firm’s Competition / State aid and European Law, Trade & Enlargement teams, which also advised the Government of Serbia and Železara Smederevo on EU, regulatory and corporate matters in connection with the sale of assets of Železara Smederevo through a public tender procedure to Hebei Iron and Steel Company Limited (HBIS), once again proved their prowess in advising on intricate matters relating to the relationship between EU law and Serbian law, Serbia’s EU accession negotiations and the Stabilization and Association Agreement (SAA).  Sincere thanks from the team go to the Serbian Government, Serbia’s Mission to the EU in Brussels and the management of the Smederevo steel mill, for giving us their vote of confidence and guiding the overall efforts of Serbian teams in Belgrade and Brussels.  We would particularly like to express our deepest gratitude to Her Excellency the Prime Minister of Serbia, Ms. Ana Brnabić, for publicly extending her appreciation for our contribution in reaching a positive decision in the first anti-dumping proceedings against Serbia before the European Commission (link).

Leading Serbian Steel Manufacturer

The Smederevo steel mill is Serbia’s leading producer of steel and is the second-largest Serbian exporter and is currently responsible for nearly 1% of Serbia’s GDP.  The previous company, Železara Smederevo was formerly owned by US Steel, having been acquired through the privatization process, and sold back to the Government of Serbia in 2012, marking the exit of US Steel from the country.  In April 2016, China’s HBIS submitted a binding offer to buy a considerable number of assets of Železara Smederevo for a total of 46 million euro ($53.9 million) and established HBIS Group Serbia Iron & Steel d.o.o. Beograd.

Landmark Decision for the Serbian Economy

The Serbian Prime Minister congratulated the entire Serbian Government, and, in particular, His Excellency, President Aleksandar Vučić and extended her thanks to “the team of attorneys”, on this great achievement, noting that the EC decision allowing Serbia to export steel to the EU without anti-dumping duties will enable the country to be considerably more competitive.  Serbian PM added that this decision is of “enormous significance” for the country and the steel mill in Smederevo and “a huge victory for Serbia and all of us” (link).

The exclusion of Serbia effectively affirms future operations of the largest steel producer in Serbia, under Chinese management.  This is an important development for the Serbian economy as a whole, given that the potential upward impact of the Smederevo steel mill’s prospective operations on the Serbian GDP in 2017 alone is expected to be 1-1.5%, according to EBRD (link).

I am incredibly pleased with the final decision of the European Commission”, stated Bogdan Gecić, partner at Gecić Law.  “These anti-dumping measures are aimed at protecting European jobs and industry from unfair trade practices and this decision by the European Commission explicitly shows that Serbia respects and adheres to those European standards”.

Team of Advisors

The Gecić Law team was led by partner Bogdan Gecić and included partner Nikola Aksić, senior associate Marija Papić, and associates Tatjana Sofijanić and Rastko Pavlović.  International legal counsel in this investigation was provided by Van Bael & Bellis led by Richard Luff and included Steve Ross.  Economic consultants included KPMG Serbia led by partner Boris Milošević, Copenhagen Economics led by partner Martin H. Thelle, and Gecić Law’s own Ognjen Popović.


For more information please see the press clipping included below: