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'Fight dumping probes earlier'
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09:16, July 29, 2009

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 EU imposes definitive anti-dumping duties on Chinese steel wire rods
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Chinese steel wire rod producers should have taken active measures to fight an anti-dumping investigation launched by the European Union last year, to prevent the imposition of high anti-dumping levies and beat a slide in exports, government officials and experts said yesterday.

They also suggested that Chinese exporters should appropriately leverage trade tools under the World Trade Organization, instead of ignoring it as they usually do, to choke down rising trade protectionism by some Western nations amid the financial crisis, and to protect their legal rights.

At a meeting of EU foreign ministers held on Monday, the 27-member body approved without discussion a measure to impose a definitive anti-dumping duty of up to 24 percent on steel wire rods imported from China for as long as five years.

This comes nearly six months after the EU levied a temporary duty on wire rods in February.

The duties, when it comes into effect, will lead to a loss of $400 million for Chinese exporters, the Ministry of Commerce (Mofcom) said.

"We have heard of it (the levy), but have not yet got any formal notice from the EU," said Cheng Yongru, division director of the Bureau of Fair Trade for Imports & Exports, which is in charge of dealing with the anti-dumping cases, and is under the Mofcom.

After the EU said they would initiate the anti-dumping investigation last June, "only one of the Chinese steel wire rod enterprises actively assisted the EU in conducting the investigation by filling out the questionnaire," he said.

The EU investigation answered a call from European companies, which had claimed that imports from China had hurt their businesses and the industry.

Cheng said the reason why domestic companies had not taken the investigation seriously and responded to it earlier was because "it had started before the outbreak of the global financial crisis, and business was booming. The majority (of steel wire rod makers) ignored the case, despite Mofcom's urging (them to respond)".

"But now the story is much different. They should have been more active."

A wire rod maker firm from Hunan province, which had promptly responded to the EU investigation, has been slapped with a comparatively lower duty of 7.9 percent, Cheng said.

Until now, the Mofcom had not got any reply from the Chinese companies over appealing to the WTO on the issue, he said.

They "should learn how to leverage the trade tools appropriately for the protection of their own benefits", said Zhou Shijian, executive director of the WTO Research Institute.

After starting investigations into an anti-dumping case, it usually takes the EU nine months to decide on slapping temporary duty, and the investigation normally has to be completed within 15 months.

Source:China Daily

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