Nation slaps duties on EU metal fasteners

08:13, December 24, 2009      

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China said yesterday it would impose temporary anti-dumping tariffs on carbon-steel fastener imports from the European Union following a year-long investigation.

The measure comes close on the heels of the EU decision on Tuesday night to extend for another 15 months anti-dumping tariffs on shoe imports from China despite strong opposition from some European shoe manufacturers and member nations including the United Kingdom.

The latest announcement also follows anti-dumping measures and investigations initiated by the United States and the EU this year against Chinese fastener imports.

Fastener exporters in the EU would, starting Dec 28, pay tariffs ranging from 16.8 to 24.6 percent, the Ministry of Commerce stated on its website.

"The duty is much less compared to those slapped on China," said Yu Liangui, vice-director of the Shanghai-based Mysteel Research Institute. "The measure is merely symbolic. It's a sort of warning."

China has been badly hurt by trade remedy cases, especially since last year when the financial crisis hit. Steel fasteners, a widely used part in many industries, have become the target of the trade protectionist measures.

Early this year, the EU decided to impose for five years anti-dumping tariffs of up to 87 percent on Chinese imports of steel fasteners. In October, China lodged a complaint regarding the measure with the World Trade Organization (WTO).

The same month, the US Department of Commerce launched an anti-dumping and anti-subsidy investigation on carbon-steel fastener imports from China, on behalf of Nucor Fasteners, which had asked for anti-dumping tariffs ranging from 67 to 206 percent to be imposed.

China is a significant steel fastener producer, exporting 50 percent of its output annually, and importing some high-end categories from developed nations.

"The measures by the US and EU have done great harm to Chinese manufacturers," said Yu.

Shoe case

China's move to impose anti-dumping duties on fastener imports comes just hours after the EU slapped duties on Chinese shoe imports.

"This is pure coincidence. China launched the investigation last December, and the nation is required to make the preliminary announcement before mid-January," said Fu Donghui, vice-general manager of Allbright Law Firm in Beijing.

The EU decision to extend duties on Chinese shoe imports were objected by some European nations. China said it was "strongly dissatisfied" by the move.

"It does not make any sense to extend the duties as Chinese products do not compete with their European counterparts on the same field, which have been protected for a long time," said the ministry statement.

The 27-nation bloc explained that European shoe manufacturers were "adapting their business models to the challenges of the globalized market. Should measures be maintained, they will serve as an additional safety net and allow for more time to continue this process."

The UK had opposed the decision.

"I hope the EU will in the future see the importance of turning its back on protectionism," said UK Business Secretary Peter Mandelson.

"It is sheer protectionism. China must fight such unfair and unreasonable measures," Fu said.

Although China had strong clout in global trade, the nation was still "weak in sorting out such trade remedy issues", he said.

China said it would appeal to the WTO and take measures that benefit its industry.

Source: China Daily
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