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Business

EU penalizes China, Taiwan over price dumping

The EU continues to clamp down on price dumping from overseas competitors. Brussels imposed import taxes on stainless steel from China and Taiwan after an investigation found that low prices left the industry bleeding.

The European Union on Wednesday announced tough new duties on imports of cold-rolled stainless steel from China and Taiwan.

According to a notice in the EU's Official Journal, China will be hit with tariffs of up to 25.2 percent, while Taiwan will face up to 12 percent. The duties will take effect Thursday, and are provisional pending the final results of an investigation expected in September.

Unfair competition

The decision follows a complaint filed by the European Steel Association (Eurofer) last May which charged that the two countries had flooded the bloc with cheap steel, pushing down prices and creating an undue distortion of competition.

Eurofer claims that imports from China and Taiwan more than tripled from 2010 to 2014. In 2013 alone, the countries shipped 620 million euros ($678 million) worth of cold-rolled stainless steel into the 28-member Union, amounting to some 17 percent of the overall market share.

"It was clear that the strong increase of dumped imports led not only to deteriorating profitability but also to lost market share by the Union industry and drop in production, capacity utilization, employment, investments and return on investments," the Official Journal concluded, siding with the association.

Far-reaching consequences

Brussels' investigation into the price-dumping complaint found that the impact on EU's steel industry were far-reaching. Production volume suffered a 5-percent drop, contributing to an 8-percent decline in capacity utilization. In addition, European producers' market share dived by 5 percent, employment eroded by 11 percent, labor costs increased by eight percent, while investment sank by 17 percent.

"In the absence of measures, the dumped imports from the countries concerned will continue to force Union industry to sell at loss-making prices," the journal said.

Wednesday's announcement is the latest culmination in a string of trade disputes between Brussels and Beijing over alleged price-dumping of products ranging from wine to solar panels.

pad/hg (AFP, Reuters)

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