The European Union’s method of applying extra duties on imports it considers to be unfairly priced breaks global trade law, the World Trade Organization said, according to a person familiar with the ruling.
WTO judges in Geneva concluded the EU’s policy of imposing a single blanket duty on imports discriminates against Chinese exporters, said the person, who declined to be identified because the ruling is still confidential.
The decision comes a year after China lodged a complaint against the EU over the 27-nation bloc’s plan to impose five-year levies on imports of Chinese iron or steel fasteners, valued at about 575 million euros ($743 million) in 2007. The EU said at the time that the tariffs would “prevent further distortions and restore fair competition.”
The ruling may have broader implications by compelling the EU to begin imposing anti-dumping tariffs on a company-by-company basis.
Lu Xiankun, a spokesman for China’s mission to the WTO, declined to comment, as did the WTO and the European Commission, the EU’s Brussels-based executive.
If judges confirm the ruling, it would give China its first win against the EU at the WTO. The final report will probably be distributed to the two sides next month and made public several weeks after that. Both parties have the right to appeal.