China on Wednesday (30 October) has relaunched a long-running dispute with the European Union over steel bolts and screws, complaining that Brussels has not brought anti-dumping measures on the product into line with a trade panel ruling.
A Chinese request through the World Trade Organization (WTO) for consultations with the EU on the issue came two years after a WTO panel found flaws on the way in which Brussels had calculated its anti-dumping tariffs.
In October 2012, the EU said it had reduced the duties, originally imposed in 2009, to take account of the panel ruling. But China now argues that the Brussels measures did not conform to those findings.
The duties originally ranged from 26.5% to 85%. Last October the EU said these had been reduced to a range of between 22.9% and 74.1%.
WTO member countries can impose anti-dumping duties on goods they deem to have been exported at prices lower than those at which they are sold on their home markets, but the calculation of these duties must follow WTO rules.
The so-called steel fastenings – components widely used for cars, white goods and machinery in the 27-nation EU – affected by the tariffs were worth some €575 million in 2007.
Some 200 Chinese companies were affected, but the three-member WTO panel found that the EU had been wrong to apply its measures countrywide and not just to specific Chinese producers of the fasteners.
Following the Chinese complaint, the EU has 15 days to agree to talks.