European Union May Raise Tariffs on Chinese Warehouse Trucks

The European Union threatened to raise tariffs on warehouse trucks from China, saying current levies as high as 46.7 percent may offer inadequate protection for EU producers.

The EU began a review of the duties on imports from China of hand pallet trucks, which are used for moving materials placed on pallets. The bloc yesterday cited evidence that China’s producers can export at low prices because of Chinese state “interference” in the steel market and that their capacity is “much bigger” than domestic demand.

Last October, the EU renewed the trade protection until 2016 to curb competition for Italy’s Lifter Srl and a Swedish unit of Toyota Industries Corp. 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.

“The continued imposition of measures at the existing level appears to be no longer appropriate to offset the effects of injurious dumping,” the European Commission, the 27-nation EU’s trade authority in Brussels, said yesterday in the Official Journal. The review will last as long as 15 months.

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, the bloc said when renewing the anti-dumping duties four months ago. The levies range from 7.6 percent to 46.7 percent, depending on the Chinese manufacturer.

Thailand Levy

Lifter, a subsidiary of Pramac SpA, and BT Products AB, a unit of Japan’s Toyota Industries, had requested the prolongation of the duties. The companies, which the EU said 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 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. The renewal in October maintained those two decisions.

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