China’s Warehouse-Truck Makers Face Renewed Five-Year EU Duties

The European Union renewed tariffs on warehouse trucks from China for another five years to curb competition for EU producers including Italy’s Lifter Srl and a Swedish unit of Toyota Industries Corp.

The EU re-imposed the duties as high as 46.7 percent on imports from China of hand pallet trucks, which are used for moving materials placed on pallets. The EU introduced the levies in 2005 for five years to punish Chinese exporters such as Ningbo Ruyi Joint Stock Co. for selling the manually powered equipment in Europe below cost, a practice known as dumping.

“There is a likelihood of continuation of dumping should measures be removed,” the 27-nation EU said in a decision today in Luxembourg. The five-year renewal will take effect after being published in the Official Journal by Oct. 20.

China’s share of the EU market for hand pallet trucks increased to 83 percent in the 12 months through June 2010 from around 78 percent in 2007, according to the bloc. Over that period, total EU consumption of the equipment declined 40 percent to 468,557 pieces, said the bloc.

Lifter, a subsidiary of Pramac SpA, and BT Products AB, a unit of Japan’s Toyota Industries, asked in April 2010 for a prolongation of the anti-dumping duties. The companies, which the EU says account for “almost the total” bloc-wide production of hand pallet trucks, claimed that letting the trade protection expire would probably result in further dumping by Chinese exporters and injury to the European industry.

In response, the EU in July 2010 opened a probe that culminated with today’s decision. The original anti-dumping duties, which had been due to lapse in July 2010, automatically stayed in place during the 15-month inquiry into whether to renew them. The levies range from 7.6 percent to 46.7 percent, depending on the Chinese manufacturer.

In June 2009, the EU extended the maximum duty to Thailand after concluding that Chinese exporters used the country to evade the levy. The bloc narrowed the scope of the tariffs in July 2008 by excluding equipment that lifts, stacks or weighs. Today’s renewal maintains those two decisions.

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