China accuses EU of protectionism over steel taxes

30 January 2017

Beijing has accused the European Union of “protectionist” behaviour after Brussels imposed anti-dumping duties on Chinese steel products, as it seeks to protect struggling steel makers in Europe.

The EU Commission said Friday it would impose taxes of between 30.7% and 64.9% on certain Chinese steel products which it says are being sold at a loss in Europe.

The measure, which also applies to Taiwan, is part of an EU push against China – which makes more than half the world’s steel – for allegedly flooding global markets in violation of international trade agreements.

But China’s commerce ministry said the EU move was in breach of World Trade Organization rules and vowed to “take necessary measures to defend the fair rights” of Chinese companies.

”Imprudently taking protectionist measures is just another attack on international trade,” a ministry official said last Friday in a statement.

The targeted products are used to join steel pipes and tubes, and are commonly used in industries such as food processing and shipbuilding as well as energy and construction.

In the face of criticism, Beijing has vowed to eliminate 100-150 million tonnes of capacity – out of a total of 1.2 billion tonnes – by 2020.

The EU has had a series of trade disputes with China, its second-largest trading partner, but is also seeking to resolve the stand-off over steel with Beijing through the OECD, the Paris-based group of developed economies.