In 2023, the EU applied anti-dumping or anti-subsidy duties (together “AD/AS duties”) on imports of 141 products from 20 countries. The EU regularly extends these duties to imports of these products from other countries to counter circumvention.

As context, to see whether AD/AS duties apply, you need to look at the non-preferential origin of imported products. For example, EU AD/AS duties on Indonesian stainless steel apply on stainless steel with non-preferential origin Indonesia, regardless of the country of export.

By contrast, in case of circumvention, AD/AS duties apply on imports of products consigned from a country, regardless of origin. For example, to counter circumvention of the EU AD/AS duties on Indonesian stainless steel, the EU extended the duties to all imports of stainless steel consigned from Taiwan, regardless of origin (unless the steel is made by a company that obtained an exemption from the anti-circumvention duties). Therefore, stainless steel originating in, say, the U.S. but shipped via Taiwan is subject to duties.

The question arose before Dutch customs what the definition of the term “consigned from” is. Does “consigned from” cover (1) only products shipped to the EU from the country concerned or (2) also products first shipped to third countries for further processing, with these goods later shipped to the EU from the third country. For option (2), take, for example, solar cells from Malaysia, which were subject to anti-circumvention duties. The cells are shipped to Japan to be incorporated into solar panels, which have non-preferential origin Malaysia. If these panels are shipped to the EU, are they “consigned from” Malaysia?

Traditionally, Dutch customs used option (1). But after an intervention from the European Commission, customs changed its position, and used option (2).[1] This means, of course, that more products risk being deemed to be “consigned from” a country subject to anti-circumvention duties.

At the time of writing, Dutch customs did not yet retroactively apply anti-circumvention duties on imports that are “consigned from” under option (2). We see several legal issues if Dutch customs were to do so, including:

  • Option (2) does not sit well with the ordinary meaning of the term “consigned from” as compared to “originating from.” Option (2) conflates both concepts, which are legally separate.
  • Because option (2) is a far-reaching interpretation of “consigned from,” legitimate expectations of importers are arguably breached, strengthened by the fact that importers should not suffer from a misinterpretation of the authorities.
  • Option (2) results, in effect, in an extraterritorial application of anti-circumvention duties, which are already an extraterritorial application of AD/AS duties. The Commission did not investigate circumvention via the third country (in our example, Japan), and companies in the third country (Japan) did not benefit from the rights they have in an anti-circumvention investigation

In the meantime, importers are well advised to check their supply chain for exposure to the EU’s broad interpretation of “consigned from” whenever the non-preferential origin of imports is not the same as the country of consignment.

[1] For more information, please find the Dutch parliamentary documents here and the news update of Dutch customs  here.


Arnoud Willems is a partner in the International Commercial & Trade Practice Group in the Brussels office. He joined Baker McKenzie in 2022. He has an extensive network, built over 25 years as a trusted advisor of entrepreneurs, executives, and diplomats. Arnoud has a deep understanding of how trade rules shape global flows of capital, investment, goods, technology, and services.


Dr. Bregt Natens is a counsel in the IC&T Practice Group in the Brussels office. He joined Baker McKenzie in 2022. Bregt advises clients on European Union and international trade law and regulations, with a focus on trade remedies, customs rules, market access, and regulatory barriers. Bregt has significant experience representing clients in litigation before the EU courts and the WTO, and before EU and EU Member State authorities in the context of trade remedies and customs matters.


Esmee Kooke is a Junior Associate within the Amsterdam Indirect Tax team. She joined the Firm in September 2023.