EU asks WTO panel to rule on China’s steel duties

PUBLISHED : Saturday, 17 August, 2013, 2:25pm
UPDATED : Saturday, 17 August, 2013, 2:45pm

The European Union on Friday asked the World Trade Organisation to rule in a dispute over Chinese anti-dumping duties imposed on steel pipes imported from EU countries.

The EU said in a news release that it made the request to the WTO after unsuccessful consultations in July to resolve the dispute over the duties imposed by China on imports of high-performance stainless steel seamless tubes from EU countries.

“The EU continues its fight against unjustified Chinese trade defence measures, which do not comply with WTO rules and often seem to be motivated by retaliation,” said EU Trade spokesman John Clancy in the statement.

But Beijing has said the duties would protect Chinese companies.

“This is not an act of retaliation but to protect the domestic steel trade,” said analyst Zhang Lin in a statement posted on the official site of the Chinese Ministry of Commerce in June when the EU lodged a complaint with WTO.

The statement says China’s steel products are often subject to anti-dumping investigations in overseas markets. “It is a reasonable and logical measure for hitting back,” Zhang said.

China and the EU have been embroiled in a series of trade tiffs. A dispute over China’s solar panels was defused in July after Chinese companies agreed to set minimum prices. Meanwhile, the Chinese commerce ministry spokesman Shen Danyang said last week that Beijing continued to investigate whether the EU has been dumping its wine and poly silicon products in China.

China imposed anti-dumping duties ranging from 9.2 per cent to 14.4 per cent on the high-performance steel pipes imported from EU countries and Japan last year.

The EU said that the duties have significantly hampered its access to the Chinese market and that the WTO consultations — joined by Japan and held in mid-July - were unsuccessful.