The European Union has opened a new chapter in its trade battle with China. After solar panels, wine and high-powered cars, the focus has now shifted to steel as the EU is seeking a WTO ruling against Chinese tariffs.
The European Union on Thursday launched a complaint at the World Trade Organization (WTO) over China's punitive import tariffs imposed on EU stainless steel pipes.
"The EU believes that anti-dumping duties are incompatible with WTO law, both on procedural and on substantive grounds," Brussels said in a statement. "The duties of 9.7 to 11.1 percent imposed on European products are significantly hampering access to the Chinese market."
The EU and China are currently engaged in a tit-for-tat battle over a series of trade issues. While Brussels has slapped punitive tariffs on China-made solar panels and is probing imports of mobile network equipment, Beijing has retaliated by announcing trade action against imports of European wine and high-powered cars.
The WTO, which can grant a member the right to impose retaliatory measures if a fellow member was to be found guilty of breaching commerce rules, is already dealing with a stainless steel case against China. Japan has lodged a similar complaint for which the WTO set up a dispute settlement panel in May.
However, the process can last for years due to the complexity of trade matters and the possibility to appeal the ruling in various instances.
uhe,hg/slk (AFP, dpa)