EU Slaps Anti-Dumping Tariffs on Some Chinese, Russian Steel Imports


The European Union on Thursday imposed anti-dumping tariffs on some Chinese and Russian steel imports for the next five years in a fresh effort to protect domestic manufacturers struggling with overcapacity.

The duties, which range from 19.7% to 22.1% for Chinese companies and from 18.7% to 36.1% for Russian producers, apply to so-called cold-rolled steel, a product used in the packaging, automotive, construction sectors.

The expected move comes days after the EU imposed tariffs on so-called rebars, steel products used to reinforce concrete.

European manufacturers in recent years have lodged multiple complaints that their Chinese competitors are exporting steel products to Europe at unfairly low prices.

The bloc had provisionally imposed tariffs in February, but the new rates are significantly higher. In a first time move by the Commission, they are also backdated to apply retroactively to December 2015, before the provisional tariffs were agreed.

“This shows our continuous efforts to use to full extent the available trade-defense instruments to fight unfair imports of steel products,” said Mina Andreeva, a spokeswoman for the European Commission.

The U.S. has also imposed preliminary duties on imports of cold-rolled steel on seven countries, including China at far higher rates. The U.S. set the duties for Chinese steelmakers at 265.79% in March.

Russia anti-dumping dutiescould oppose the decision to impose import duties on their steel products, Economy Minister Alexei Ulyukayev said.

“We think that the procedure of the anti-dumping investigation was carried out in an inadequate way and with violations of rights of Russian exporters,” Russian news agencies quoted Mr. Ulyukayev as saying.

Speaking to reporters during a visit to Laos, Mr. Ulyukayev said Moscow may engage the World Trade Organization to find a solution to the issue.

Under WTO rules, the EU can impose anti-dumping duties on products from countries outside the bloc if an investigation demonstrates that these products enter the EU at prices below fair market value and cause injury to the EU industry.

Currently the EU has 37 anti-dumping and antisubsidy measures in place in the steel sector, of which 15 concern China.

European industries say that the Chinese industrial policies allow local producers to pump out far more goods than its domestic market can consume. The result has been a flood of cheap products shipped to Europe, the U.S. and other developed markets.

China, the world’s largest steel producer, has doubled its exports to the EU over the past two years, while the bloc’s demand languishes below levels seen before the 2008 financial crisis. EU steel prices have fallen roughly 40% over the past two years, posing problems for the roughly 360,000 workers employed in the sector.

“Steelworkers are highly skilled specialists and they deserve our unconditional support,” European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker told EU lawmakers earlier this year.

At the time, Mr. Juncker said the bloc needed to act to counter unfair trading practices and invest in steel industry workers.
Source: Dow Jones

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