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China May Face Renewal of EU Fastener Tariffs Challenged at WTO

The European Union threatened to renew for another five years tariffs on screws and bolts from China, a step that would extend protection the Chinese government challenged at the World Trade Organization.

The EU said it would examine whether to reimpose the duties as high as 74.1 percent on imports from China of iron or steel fasteners, used for everything from automotive parts to furniture. The levies punish Chinese exporters including Gem-Year Industrial Co. (601002) for allegedly having sold the fasteners in Europe below cost, a practice known as dumping.

The review will determine whether “the expiry of the measures would be likely to lead to a continuation or recurrence of dumping” and “a continuation or recurrence of injury” to the EU industry, the European Commission, the 28-nation bloc’s trade authority in Brussels, said today in the Official Journal. The anti-dumping duties were due to lapse on Feb. 1 and will now stay in place during the probe, which can last as long as 15 months.

The inquiry into whether to renew the levies stems from an Oct. 1, 2013, request by the European Industrial Fasteners Institute on behalf of manufacturers that account for more than a quarter of the EU’s output of the iron or steel fasteners covered by the duties, according to the commission, which didn’t identify any companies.

The EU imposed the anti-dumping protection for five years in January 2009 to curb competition for European fastener manufacturers such as Italy’s Fontana Luigi SpA, prompting the Chinese government to file its first complaint against the bloc at the WTO. In December 2010, the Geneva-based global trade arbiter ruled against aspects of the European measures and gave the EU specific remedies.

Revised Duties

As a response, the EU in October 2012 reduced the levies to a maximum 74.1 percent from as high as 85 percent. The revised duties range from 22.9 percent to 74.1 percent, depending on the Chinese company. The original levies ranged from 26.5 percent to 85 percent.

The measures don’t apply to stainless-steel screws and bolts from China. The EU applies a separate set of anti-dumping duties on those goods.

To contact the reporter on this story: Jonathan Stearns in Brussels at jstearns2@bloomberg.net

To contact the editors responsible for this story: Andrew Clapham at aclapham@bloomberg.net; James Hertling at jhertling@bloomberg.net

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