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Chinese steel products face EU anti-dumping complaints
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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 soon.


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 said.


The EU steelmakers' call for trade restriction on Chinese imports also met opposition from steel users of the 27-nation bloc.


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 consumers.


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)


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