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EU Complains at WTO Over U.S. Duties on ThyssenKrupp Steel

The European Union complained at the World Trade Organization that U.S. anti-dumping duties on imports of stainless-steel sheet and strip in coils produced by ThyssenKrupp AG in Italy are based on a mathematical mistake.

Essen, Germany-based ThyssenKrupp has been paying the levies for dumping, or selling goods below cost, since 1999 based on what the EU calls a simple mathematical error -- an inverted fraction. Without the error, there is no dumping, as defined under WTO rules, and consequently, there should be no measures, said John Clancy, the European Commission’s trade spokesman in Brussels.

“Since 2007, the EU has been trying to resolve the issue and has exhausted all other possible means,” he said by e-mail today. “The U.S. has been conducting a sunset review and on Dec. 20 disclosed its provisional determination to continue the measures for another five years, again refusing to correct the error.”

The EU’s decision to request WTO consultations is aimed at resolving the dispute before the sunset review -- an evaluation of whether a program should be extended -- is completed on April 28, Clancy said.

The U.S. is “very disappointed that the EU has taken this step, particularly given that only preliminary determinations have been issued by the Department of Commerce and the International Trade Commission,” said Nefeterius McPherson, spokeswoman for the U.S. Trade Representative’s Office in Washington. “We consider it premature for the EU to seek formal WTO consultations when the domestic administrative proceedings have not been completed and final determinations are scheduled to be issued in coming months.”

The April 1 request for consultations is the first step in the case. Under WTO rules, the EU and the U.S. must now hold talks for at least two months in a bid to resolve the dispute. If the talks fail, the EU can ask WTO judges in Geneva to rule.

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