Plastic bags from China face EU tax
By Lisbeth Kirk
EU trade commissioner Peter Mandelson is set to place tariffs of 15.2 per cent on plastic bags from China and of 14.3 per cent on bags from Thailand, according to media reports.
The move follows an inquiry, which found that plastic bags were being dumped illegally into the EU.
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Due to lower raw material and labour costs plastic bags imported from the Far East are estimated to be between 10 per cent and 20 per cent cheaper than those produced in Europe, with annual Chinese exports of plastic bags coming up to $300 million (€235 million).
The inquiry followed a complaint by 30 European producers of certain plastic sacks and bags representing more than 25 per cent of the EU's production in the sector.
Although the 30 withdrew the complaint in February, French industry has kept up pressure and received backing from French transport commissioner Jacques Barrot, according to the Times.
For 30 years Mr Barrot was the president of a trade association that represents the plastics industry in his home region of Haute-Loire.
But British retailers have objected to the tax estimating the tariffs would lead to £60 million (€88 million) of extra cost for carrier bag users.
"The extra costs of plastic bags are just going to be passed on to consumers in higher food and clothes bills. Anti-dumping measures always hit consumers' pockets," said conservative British MEP and member of the European Parliament's international trade committee, Syed Kamall.
Last week three US producers of polyester fiber also filed an anti-dumping duty petition against China, saying Chinese sales at unfair prices are hurting the US industry.