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24th Jan 2019

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EU imposes anti-dumping tariffs on steel from China and Taiwan

  • The EU measures follow an investigation opened last year after a complaint by Eurofer, the European steel association (Photo: Renate Meijer)

The EU Wednesday officially announced it would impose anti-dumping duties on Chinese and Taiwanese steel imports in Europe.

The EU published in its official journal a list of import duties on stainless steel cold rolled flat products (SSCR) of 24-25 percent for Chinese companies and 10-12 percent for Taiwanese companies.

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  • Stainless steel cold-rolled is widely used in the car industry (Photo: voestalpine)

This kind of steel is mainly used in buildings, household appliances, medical equipment and the car industry.

Some 3.7 million tonnes were produced last year, of which 72 percent was by European makers.

The duties, beginning Thursday, are provisional and could be amended at the end of the investigation in September.

The EU measures follow an investigation opened last year after a complaint by Eurofer, the European steel association.

"Imports in volume from China and Taiwan grew by 70 percent between 2010 and 2013 and their market share in the Community market increased by 64 percent," said Eurofer in a statement released Wednesday.

"With an average EU price undercutting of 10.5 percent the increasing dumped imports from China and Taiwan did not allow the EU industry to maintain its market share or become profitable," the association added.

The EU investigation proved the European industry's case.

It found that Chinese importers sold their product at prices up to 35 percent under their production and transportation cost. Dumping margins on Taiwanese were lower, between 10 and 12 percent.

"As a result, the market growth almost exclusively benefitted the imports from the countries concerned. The EU industry could not benefit from the market growth at all," wrote the commission.

It is not the first time the EU has imposed anti-dumping duties on Chinese products.

In 2013, the commission imposed duties on Chinese solar panels after it had found that panels were sold on EU markets 88% less than their actual cost.

An agreement was later worked out between the two sides after Beijing started targeting European wine with retaliatory duties as well as threatening wider measures.

It is unclear for now how China will react to these new sanctions.

At a hearing for the EU investigation last month, the vice-president of Baosteel Stainless Steel, one of the companies now sanctioned, defended his business.

“We have orders first, then we produce. We don't overproduce. The domestic Chinese steel market is very competitive, ” He Ruying said.

“In trade there will always be conflict. … There is cultural difference, mindset, mentality, everything can be very different. Only the communication, only with open communication, for example with Eurofer, we believe this kind of misunderstanding can be – we cannot say hundred percent removed, but it will be better," He Ruying added.

Chinese and Taiwanese steel producers have now 25 days to ask for information and send comments to the commission.

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