Brussels (Brussels Morning) The European Union has launched two trade defence investigations into Chinese exporters, in a bid to determine whether Chinese-made steel screws are being sold in the EU with excessive price dumping, and whether Chinese optical fibre cables are benefiting from unfair state subsidies, Reuters reported on Monday.
Increasingly, the EU sees China as a systemic economic rival, with 23 investigations into various Chinese-made products now available on the EU market currently underway. These investigations represent about half of all the cases the EU is looking into linked to about possible trade dumping and subsidies involving non-bloc countries.
Subsidised optical cables
The first of the two new cases involving China concerns optical fibre cables exported from the People’s Republic of China. The original complaint was raised by Europacable, a trade group representing EU optical fibre cable producers responsible for some 63% of EU production.
Europacable has provided evidence of market distortions in the Chinese OFC industry, in particular the Chinese government’s specific subsidisation schemes. Chinese optical fibre cable producers can benefit from direct transfers of funds from the government, tax revenue rebates or taxes deferred, provision of goods and services at less than fair and remunerative pricing, plus many others.
EU producers warn that the Chinese imports heavily undercut EU prices, affecting the overall profitability of the industry to the point where returns are below the level necessary for adequate investment in future technologies.
The European Commission aims to conclude this investigation within 12 months, with the possibility of introducing some provisional measures within nine months.
Dumped screws and bolts
The second investigation focuses on the possible dumping of iron and steel screws, bolts and washers, as reported by the European Industrial Fasteners Institute, a non-profit organisation representing 45% to 55% of EU production of similar products.
By comparing the Chinese prices with those from an appropriate representative country, such as Brazil, the Institute demonstrated dumping margins ranging from 100% to 300%. In its official complaint, the Institute provided calculations for more than 100 specific fastener standards.
The EC aims to complete this investigation within 13 months, but may introduce provisional counter-measures after seven months.