EU seeks WTO ruling in steel dispute with China | Business| Economy and finance news from a German perspective | DW | 13.06.2013
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EU seeks WTO ruling in steel dispute with China

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.

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At the center of the disputes are claims of price dumping, meaning the two parties accuse each other of selling specific goods below manufacturing costs in an effort to grab market share.

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)

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