EU slaps anti-dumping duties on China, Taiwan steel

26 March 2015

The EU announced Wednesday it will impose anti-dumping duties for six months on some steel imports from China and Taiwan as a new trade row erupted between Brussels and Beijing.

The tariffs will affect imports of flat-rolled stainless steel used to make products like washing machines, dishwashers, medical tools and automobiles.

The European Union and China have already clashed over the alleged dumping of products ranging from wine to solar panels to steel pipes.

Duties of around 25 percent for the targeted Chinese firms, including industrial giant Baosteel, and 10 percent for the Taiwan companies will take effect from Thursday, the European Union Official Journal said.

"In the absence of measures, the dumped imports from the countries concerned will continue to force Union industry to sell at loss-making prices," the journal said.

Chinese and Taiwanese companies that cooperated with the EU investigation are excluded from the duties.

Following the news, the share prices of European steelmakers surged on the continent's stock markets, before slowing later.

Aperam, whose main shareholder is the Mittal family, was up 3.1 percent in afternoon trading in Amsterdam and Spain's Acerinox climbed 1.5 percent in Madrid.

But shares in Finland's Outokumpu were down 0.65 after having traded up over two percent in the morning.

The EU opened the investigation on June 26 last year after complaints from European competitors about the Chinese and Taiwanese firms.

Chinese companies targeted in the latest decision include Baosteel Stainless Steel Co, Shanghai, Ningbo Baoxin Stainless Steel Co, Ningbo, Shanxi Taigang Stainless Steel Co, Taiyun City and Tianjin TISCO and TPCO Stainless Steel Co, Tianjin City.

Taiwan firms include Chia Far Industrial Factory Co, Taipei City, Tang Eng Iron Works Co, Kaohsiung City and Yieh United Steel Corporation, Kaohsiung City.

Total imports from China and Taiwan rose by 70 percent between 2010 and the period of the investigation from mid-2014 and early 2015, while the market share increased by 63 percent, the European Commission said.

- 'Lost market share' -

The investigation found that the EU industry concerned suffered a production volume decline of five percent, which led to an eight percent drop in capacity utilisation.

Market share declined by five percent, employment dropped by 11 percent, and labour costs increased by eight percent while investment decreased by 17 percent, it said.

"It was clear that the strong increase of dumped imports led not only to deteriorating profitability but also to lost market share by the Union industry and drop in production, capacity utilisation, employment, investments and return on investments," the Official Journal said.

The companies from China and Taiwan can submit complaints to the EU and request a hearing from the European Commission, the executive of the 28-country bloc.

In February, a WTO panel largely ruled against China in its row with the European Union and Japan over Chinese anti-dumping duties on imports of steel pipes.

In December, EU trade authorities opened an investigation into alleged price dumping by China on solar glass, a key component of solar panels.

A 2013 trade row over solar panels sparked the EU's biggest-ever trade probe covering a market worth some 21 billion euros ($25 billion) at its zenith.

But last July, Brussels and China came to a hard-won agreement, ending heated rounds of tit-for-tat measures that included a Chinese probe into European wine imports.