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EU imposes tariffs as high as 66.4% on steel road wheels from China

The duties punish Chinese exporters of steel wheels for vehicles including cars, tractors and trailers for allegedly having sold them in the EU below cost, a practice known as dumping

Jonathan Stearns | Bloomberg 

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Photo: Shutterstock

The imposed tariffs as high as 66.4 per cent on steel road wheels from China, targeting manufacturers such as Zhejiang Jingu Co. and Xingmin Intelligent Transportation Systems Co.

The duties punish Chinese exporters of steel wheels for vehicles including cars, tractors and trailers for allegedly having sold them in the EU below cost, a practice known as dumping. The European market for such wheels is worth an estimated 800 million euros ($881 million).

Dumped imports of steel road wheels from caused “material injury” to EU-based manufacturers of the goods, the European Commission, the 28-nation bloc’s executive arm in Brussels, said on Thursday in the Official Journal.

The anti-dumping duties represent the preliminary outcome of a probe opened in February on the basis of a dumping complaint by the Association of European Wheel Manufacturers. The levies, due to take effect on Friday, will last for six months and may be prolonged for five years.

The EU has 11 manufacturers of steel road wheels, according to the commission, which took the unusual step of declining to identify any of them. European producers requested anonymity “on grounds of a fear of retaliatory measures by some of their customers,” the commission said.

The EU industry employs 3,600 people mainly in Germany, France, Spain, the Czech Republic, Italy, Romania and Poland, the commission said in a subsequent emailed statement about the case.

Chinese exporters’ combined share of the EU market for steel road wheels doubled to 5.3 per cent last year compared with 2015, the commission said in its decision published in the Official Journal.

The rates of the provisional anti-dumping duties are 50.3 per cent against 19 specifically named Chinese exporters -- including Zhejiang Jingu and Xingmin Intelligent Transportation Systems -- and 66.4 per cent for all

Separately on Thursday, the commission threatened to stoke longstanding tensions with over steel trade by opening an inquiry into whether Chinese producers of hot-rolled, stainless-steel sheets and coils receive market-distorting government aid.

The probe, which also covers Indonesia and is due to last as long as 13 months, could lead to EU anti-subsidy duties on imports of these steel products -- used for other kinds of steel and for tubes -- from both countries. Hot-rolled, stainless-steel sheets and coils from China, Taiwan and Indonesia face a separate threat of European anti-dumping duties as a result of an investigation opened in August.

The EU already has anti-dumping and/or anti-subsidy levies on a range of other products imported from China, the biggest producer of the metal with around half the world’s output.

In a third trade development on Thursday, the commission opened a probe into whether South Korean exporters of heavyweight thermal paper are dumping it in the EU. That inquiry, due to last as long as 14 months, could lead to European anti-dumping duties on the shipments from Korea.

First Published: Fri, October 11 2019. 01:17 IST
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