China objects to EU imposing high duties on imported steel

China objects to EU imposing high duties on imported steel

As an anti-crisis measure and as a result of many months of pressure from manufacturers, the European Union (EU) has increased duties on Chinese steel products intended for construction in order to counteract the so-called “Chinese dumping”.

China, however, objected, calling these measures "unfair and unreasonable," and urged the EU not to "resort to rash protectionism, limiting fair competition."

The European steel industry has been experiencing problems for many years; according to the Eurofer Steelworkers Association, the number of jobs in the industry has decreased by 85 thousand since 2008.

It was particularly hard for Great Britain, where tens of thousands of people lost their jobs in the steel industry in recent years.

Steel makers blame China for industry problems, claimingthat he delivers surplus steel to Europe at dumping prices, only to support production at his factories in an economic downturn.

The data provided by the International Bureau of Statistics of steel shows that the volume of steel imported from China to the UK increased by 82% from 2012 to 2015, while the average price per ton decreased by 36%.

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Calling the measures taken “an immediate response to unfair competition”, the European Commission, which is the executive body of the EU, announced last week that it would introduce duties in the amount of 65.1% to 73.7% for Chinese steel and 13.2-22, 6% for thin hot rolled steel.

The EC reported that their investigations confirm that Chinese products were sold in Europe at very low prices. The proposed countermeasures are designed to create an “essential living space” for EU companies.

After six months, the Commission will decide whether the duties will be extended for another few years.

China responded with a statement published on the website of the Ministry of Commerce on Monday, 10 October.It states that “unjust and unfounded” measures “will deal a serious blow to the interests of Chinese enterprises.”

The statement argues that Chinese steel products "make up less than 5% of the EU market and cannot influence the EU steel industry," and the plight of steelworkers in Europe is a consequence of weak economic growth not related to trade issues.

China also objected to the Commission’s use of an anti-dumping investigation involving a third country - a mechanism that, according to the rules of the World Trade Organization (WTO), is usually resorted to countries whose economies are not considered to be market economies.

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China expects to receive market economy status at the end of the 15th year of WTO membership in December. The EU has repeatedly refused to recognize the Chinese economy as compliant with market standards.

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