EU extends anti-dumping duties on Chinese steel

Steel collies from German steel manufacturer Salzgitter AG are stored in Salzgitter, Germany, 22 March 2018. [EPA-EFE/DAVID HECKER]

The European Commission said on Wednesday (4 August) it had extended anti-dumping duties on imports of Chinese corrosion-resistant steel to stop producers avoiding existing duties by slightly modifying the material they export.

The EU set duties in February 2018 of between 17.2% and 27.9% for imports of certain corrosion-resistant steels from China to counter what it said were unfairly low prices.

The Commission said these anti-dumping measures had caused imports of affected products to fall almost to zero, but at the same time, imports of other corrosion-resistant products had climbed to around 1 million tonnes or €650 million per year. It launched an investigation into the issue in November 2019.

“A specific anti-circumvention investigation now confirmed that the anti-dumping measures were the only reason for that shift,” the Commission said.

The extended duties will apply to corrosion-resistant steel products modified by plating or coating by magnesium, an alloy with silicon, additional surface treatments, or with a slightly modified composition of elements.

The extension of the anti-dumping duties will apply to all Chinese exporters except for one cooperating company, the Commission said. It did not name the exempted company.

China frets over new EU anti-dumping duties on steel

China expressed concerns on Tuesday (28 February) over what it said was increasing protectionism after European Union regulators imposed new duties on steel imports from the world’s biggest producer.

Steel consumption down

Steel consumption in the European Union slid by 12% year-on-year in the first quarter as the COVID-19 pandemic worsened an already weak picture, industry group Eurofer said on Wednesday.

The coronavirus crisis is likely to show a bigger impact in the second quarter because lockdown measures only kicked off in the last month of the quarter, a statement said.

In June, the European Steel Association (Eurofer) estimated that steel demand had tumbled by around 50% since March as industries such as automakers shut factories.

“The coronavirus pandemic has cut the legs out from under the European steel industry, causing severe damage to the whole sector and its value chains”, said Eurofer Director General Axel Eggert.

The 12% drop in apparent steel consumption in the 28 members of the EU in the first three months of the year to 37.6 million tonnes was only slightly more than the 10.8% decline in the final quarter of last year. It included the United Kingdon which left the bloc at the end of January.

The European steel sector was already facing difficult conditions last year due to a downturn in the bloc’s manufacturing sector, trade tensions and uncertainty over Britain’s departure from the EU.

Steel industry worried it will be 'collateral damage' of EU's China policy

European steel is worried that the EU will grant China Market Economy Status, sacrificing the industry in return for billions of Chinese investment to revive the bloc’s sluggish economy.

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