European Union May Renew Tariffs on Chinese, Thai Plastic Bags

The European Union threatened to renew tariffs on plastic bags from China and Thailand for another five years to curb import competition.

The EU said it would review whether to let lapse the duties of as high as 28.8 percent on shopping and garbage bags. The bloc imposed the levies in 2006 to punish Chinese and Thai exporters for selling the sacks in Europe below cost, a practice known as dumping. The goal was to protect EU producers such as France’s Groupe Barbier SA and Spain’s Plasbel SA.

The review will determine whether the expiry of the levies “would be likely, or unlikely, to lead to a continuation of dumping and a continuation of injury,” the European Commission, the 27-nation EU’s trade authority in Brussels, said today in the Official Journal. The duties were due to expire this week and will now stay in place during the probe, which can last as long as 15 months.

The inquiry results from a June 30 request by European manufacturers that account for more than a quarter of EU production of the plastic bags covered by the levies, according to the commission. When imposing the anti-dumping duties five years ago, the EU said Chinese and Thai exporters increased their combined share of the EU plastic-bag market to 18 percent in the 12 months through March 2005 from 14 percent in 2001.

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