EU in­ves­ti­gates Chi­nese stain­less steel prod­ucts in dump­ing probe

China Daily (Latin America Weekly) - - Business - By DUJUAN

The Euro­pean Com­mis­sion has launched an an­tidump­ing in­ves­ti­ga­tion against cold rolled stain­less steel prod­uct im­ports from China, a move detri­men­tal toChi­nese ex­porters, ex­perts said on Fri­day.

The com­mis­sion said on Thurs­day that the probe would cover cold-rolled stain­less steel prod­ucts im­ported from China’s main­land and Tai­wan, as it felt that steel prod­ucts were be­ing dumped at prices lower than the ac­tual costs in the Euro­pean Union.

Trade ties be­tween China and the Euro­pean Union wors­ened last year af­ter the EU de­cided to in­ves­ti­gate Chi­nese so­lar prod­ucts for al­leged dump­ing.

China had re­tal­i­ated by or­der­ing a probe on polysil­i­con im­ports from the EU. Though the so­lar dis­pute was set­tled even­tu­ally, the new fric­tion over stain­less steel will hit both sides, ex­perts said.

Xu Xiangchun, in­for­ma­tion di­rec­tor of Mys­teel.com, a steel in­dus­try con­sul­tancy based in Shang­hai, said the Chi­nese govern­ment has not an­nounced any poli­cies to en­cour­age ex­ports of steel prod­ucts or pro­vide sub­si­dies to these com­pa­nies.

“Most of the steel com­pa­nies have in­creased ex­ports due to weak do­mes­tic de­mand and fall­ing prices,” he said. “If the EC de­cided to im­pose puni­tive taxes on stain­less steel prod­ucts, it will hurt many of these com­pa­nies.”

How­ever, the EC de­ci­sion will not have a big in­flu­ence on China’s ful­lyear steel ex­ports as stain­less steel ac­counts for a small por­tion of the to­tal ex­ports.

“With China’s prod­ucts tak­ing a big­ger share in the in­ter­na­tional mar­ket, it is nat­u­ral that the in­dus­try will face in­creas­ing trade dis­putes as for­eign com­pa­nies will use trade pro­tec­tion­ism to pro­tect their in­ter­ests,” Xu said.

Chi­nese com­pa­nies should co­op­er­ate with the in­ves­ti­ga­tion ac­tively and pro­vide ev­i­dence to show

With China’s prod­ucts tak­ing a big­ger share in the in­ter­na­tional mar­ket, it is nat­u­ral that the in­dus­try will face in­creas­ing trade dis­putes as for­eign com­pa­nies will use trade pro­tec­tion­ism to pro­tect their in­ter­ests.” XU XIANGCHUN IN­FOR­MA­TION DI­REC­TOR, MYS­TEEL.COM

that they are not sell­ing prod­ucts at prices lower than the cost price, he said.

Ac­cord­ing to data pro­vided by the EU sta­tis­tics of­fice, the EU im­ported cold-rolled stain­less steel sheets from the Chi­nese main­land and Tai­wan with a to­tal value of 758 mil­lion eu­ros ($1.03 bil­lion) in 2013, a 10-fold in­crease from the value in 2002.

China’s steel in­dus­try is fac­ing se­vere over­ca­pac­ity caused by shrink­ing de­mand and huge pro­duc­tion ca­pac­i­ties built up in the past few years.

Many do­mes­tic steel pro­duc­ers have been try­ing to ex­pand in the over­seas mar­kets to main­tain op­er­a­tions.

Ac­cord­ing to data from the China Iron and Steel As­so­ci­a­tion, China’s steel prod­ucts ex­ports to­taled 18.33 mil­lion met­ric tons in the first quar­ter, up 27 per­cent year-on-year.

Zhang Changfu, head of the as­so­ci­a­tion, said an­tidump­ing and anti-sub­sidy in­ves­ti­ga­tions into China’s steel prod­ucts have been in­creas­ing steadily. In 2013, China’s steel sec­tor was in­volved in 25 trade dis­putes, Zhang said.

This year, there were seven such cases from coun­tries in­clud­ing the United States, South Korea and Rus­sia by the end of April. “China’s steel ex­port sit­u­a­tion is not op­ti­mistic at present,” Zhang said.

He said that China’s steel ex­ports will even­tu­ally slow in the long run.

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