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25th May 2019

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EU anti-dumping taxes on Chinese candles fuel protectionism fears

  • The duties are to be imposed following complaints from European candle producers (Photo: Wikipedia)

Despite G20 commitments last week to avoid protectionist measures, European Union authorities on Tuesday (7 April) agreed to impose anti-dumping taxes of up to 50 percent on Chinese-made candles sold in the EU.

The duties were imposed in November last year on a temporary basis following complaints from European candle producers. They say they are suffering from unfair competition and that the Chinese are making headway in European markets by selling candles below the cost of their raw materials.

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Following a 13-month investigation, a committee of experts from the 27 EU countries has now agreed to make the tax permanent for five years.

One in three candles (34%) sold in Europe are produced in China and will be subject to the extra tax from 15 May when the anti-dumping scheme enters into force. Member state ministers are to formally endorse the scheme at a meeting later this month.

Brussels' decision to tax Chinese candles follows a series of recent anti-dumping decisions against China and risks fuelling trade tensions, business organisations warned on Tuesday.

"I only hope that, in light of the G20 commitment last week to avoid protectionist measures, this example is an aberration and that further calls to impose unwarranted anti-dumping measures go unanswered," said Jan Eggert, Secretary General of the Europe's Foreign Trade Association, (FTA) representing European commerce.

The British Retail Consortium (BRC) warned that the European Union already risks reneging on its free trade commitments.

"A vote for imposing duties on candles is a vote for protectionism. It will benefit a handful of European producers, at the expense of hard-pressed retailers and retailers," said BRC's Brussels Director Alisdair Gray.

"The EU has previously imposed import duties on other products including low energy light bulbs, shoes and screws. This has pushed up the shop prices of these goods and so penalised the shoppers that the EU should be protecting," the BRC said and called for all these duties to be removed immediately and for EU Trade Commissioner Catherine Ashton to take a firmer stand.

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Members of the five big political groups in the European Parliament have met with members of the one big political group in the National People's Congress of China, in what has been described as a “changing” and "very friendly" climate.

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