The European Union imposed new anti-dumping duties on steel products from China today, as it broadens its campaign to protect struggling steel manufacturers in Europe. The EU took the latest action against China, which makes more than half the world’s steel, for allegedly flooding global markets in violation of international trade agreements. The European Commission, the EU executive, said it imposed duties of up to 35.9 percent on Chinese hot-rolled flat steel used in shipbuilding, gas containers, pressure vessels, tubes and energy pipelines. EU Trade Commissioner Cecilia Malmstroem said the commission is trying to level the “playing field” with China and stop the damage to European producers. “We are continuing to act, when necessary, against unfair trading conditions in the steel sector, and against foreign dumping,” Malmstroem said in a statement.
In January, the commission slapped anti-dumping duties on stainless steel tube and pipe butt-welding fittings, which are used to join steel pipes and tubes. They are commonly used in industries such as food processing and shipbuilding as well as energy and construction. The EU has had a series of trade disputes with China, its second-largest trading partner, but is also seeking to resolve the stand-off over steel with Beijing through the OECD, the Paris-based group of developed economies. The commission said its investigation found that Chinese industry benefits from preferential lending, tax rebates and other financial help that allow for exports to the 28-nation bloc at artificially low prices. Brussels now has more than 100 trade defence measures in place, 40 of them targeting unfair imports of steel products of which 15 are Chinese.