European steel users would face supply shortage if the European Union (EU) takes anti-dumping measures against importing steel from China, an EU industry chief said Friday.
Earlier on Friday, the European Commission published its decision in the EU Official Journal to launch an anti-dumping investigation into certain hot-dipped metallic-coated iron or steel flat-rolled products imported from China.
In an exclusive interview with Xinhua, Adrian Harris, secretary general of European engineering association Orgalime said, "I am a little bit surprised by the decision."
The organization represents national groups, including big steel consumers such as Siemens, ABB and Alcatel-Lucent plus many smaller firms.
Harris said the EU steel users need Chinese steel products to meet their demand since the European market is now under-supplied, causing high prices for consumers and record profits for local steelmakers.
"The market needs to be adequately supplied," he said.
According to Orgalime, the EU's engineering industry uses about two thirds of steel produced in Europe but has to rely on imports due to a lack of supply from local steelmakers.
The relatively cheap Chinese steel has helped EU industry to maintain competitiveness on the markets, it said.
The commission's investigation stemmed from a complaint raised on Oct. 30 by the European Confederation of Iron and Steel Industries (Eurofer), a Brussels-based industry body representing major EU steel producers such as ArcelorMittal and ThyssenKrupp.
Eurofer claimed massive volumes of Chinese steel products have been dumped on the EU market at dumping margins of up to 40 percent, bringing down EU domestic prices by up to 25 percent and making European steelmakers' life harder.
However, Harris said a preliminary analysis made by his organization actually found no dumping in the case.
"We are not against fair competition, but it should be fundamentally free and fair trade if there is no dumping," Harris said, "We will wait and see."
The EU anti-dumping investigation normally takes no more than a year, and in any case must be completed within 15 months, then the EU governments have the final say on whether to impose definite anti-dumping duties for five years.
During the investigation period, the commission may, within 60 days to nine months, impose provisional duties, which may last for six to nine months.
Till now, Eurofer has filed three anti-dumping complaints against steel imports from China. The European Commission is expected to decide on whether to open investigation of the other two in January.
(Xinhua News Agency December 15, 2007)