EU countries to impose anti-dumping duties on Chinese ceramics

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EU states agreed to impose duties on imports of Chinese plates and other table and kitchenware on Thursday (4 April) after the bloc's executive body said the cheap Asian products were crowding out local goods, according to officials.

The European Commission has accused a series of Chinese companies of dumping, or selling products at unfairly low prices.

In November, it suggested imposing import duties of up to 58.8% on Chinese ceramics to redress the balance with locally produced tableware.

Most EU states rejected that, but on Thursday trade envoys voted in favour of new duties after the Commission proposed a lower rate of between 13.1 and 36.1%, according to sources with knowledge of the vote.

Ceramic producers in Europe welcomed the decision. "The EU industry is pleased about this vindication," said Rainer Bierwagen, a lawyer representing EU manufacturers.

However, the duties would not fully make up for the losses they had suffered, he added.

The duties, which normally last five years, are due to come into force by May 15 after a number of further procedural steps.

The Commission is investigating 30 dumping and subsidies cases, 19 of them involving China.

The European Union is China's biggest trading partner and ceramic tableware and kitchenware imports from China totalled €728 million in 2011, according to the Commission.

The Commission launched its largest case to date in September into the alleged dumping of €21 billion of solar panels and components by Chinese producers. It has added an inquiry into alleged subsidies.

The Brussels-based Foreign Trade Association said that it regretted the vote and called the European Commission's reasoning flawed. Consumers would likely face higher prices as a result, it added.

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