Chinese steel products may become the new target of the European
Union's anti-dumping charges as European steelmakers lodged
complaints with the European Commission on Monday.
The European Confederation of Iron and Steel Industries
(Eurofer) said it filed two complaints requesting the imposition of
anti-dumping measures on steel imports from China, with one related
to stainless steel cold-rolled flat products and the other
concerning hot-dipped metallic coated sheet and strip.
Imports from South Korea and China's Taiwan were also included
in the first complaint, which the Eurofer said was due to their
sharp increases in percentage terms.
"Both complaints are filed on the basis of evidence showing that
dumping of the products concerned is causing material injury to the
European steel industry," Eurofer said in a statement sent to
Xinhua through email.
The Brussels-based industry body claimed massive volumes have
been dumped on the EU market at dumping margins of up to 40
percent, bringing down European Union (EU) domestic prices by up to
25 percent and making European steelmakers' life harder.
"EU steel producers have seen a significant loss of market
share, which is leading to important under-utilization of capacity
-- something that seriously impacts current and future
profitability of the sector and puts thousands of European jobs at
stake," Eurofer, whose members include European steel giants
ArcelorMittal and ThyssenKrupp, said.
Upon receiving the complaints, the European Commission will have
45 days to decide whether to launch an anti-dumping investigation,
which could open a new field for a major trade friction between the
EU and China, following the anti-dumping case against Chinese
leather shoes in 2006.
Besides the two complaints raised Monday, Eurofer warned it is
examining the situation of other steel products in view of filing
additional anti-dumping charges against imports from China
European steelmakers have been brewing the anti-dumping
complaints for months. They alleged Europe has become a victim of
overproduction in China, accusing China's export surge is based on
excessive capacity development fueled by subsidies, a claim
rejected by a Chinese steel industry official.
Zhang Xiaogang, Chairman of China Iron and Steel Association,
said in a recent interview with Xinhua that the rising steel
production in China has been driven by the rapid economic
development in China as well as global economic recovery in recent
years, rather than government support.
Some western countries have been using "double standards" when
it comes to trade and competition in the steel industry, he
The EU steelmakers' call for trade restriction on Chinese
imports also met opposition from steel users of the 27-nation
European engineering association Orgalime, whose members cover
big steel consumers such as Siemens, ABB and Alcatel-Lucent, said
earlier this month China is now vital to the European steel
Orgalime said they have to rely on imports to meet their demands
due to lack of supply from local steel producers, and the
relatively cheap Chinese steel has helped them to maintain
competitiveness on the markets.
The steel trade quarrel occurred at a crucial time when the EU
was ready to overhaul its trade defense instruments including
anti-dumping measures, the first ever in a decade.
Based on the results of a public consultation, which was
launched last December, the European Commission was scheduled to
unveil its plan to reform the EU's trade defense system, which was
considered outdated in face of globalization.
The review was expected to take more account of those EU
companies which now produce goods outside the EU for import into
the bloc, outsource some steps in the production process, or
operate supply chains that stretch beyond the EU market.
Analysts said Chinese steel could be a test case for the EU to
adjust its anti-dumping measures, which were most frequently used
and often controversial.
The European Commission had said it would try to balance the
interests of both European steel producers and users.
(Xinhua News Agency October 31, 2007)