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EU Threatens to Tax More Imports of Chinese Steel Pipes

The European Union threatened to expand tariffs on steel pipes from China to curb import competition for EU producers.

The EU opened an inquiry into whether Chinese makers of seamless pipes and tubes that have an external diameter exceeding 406.4 millimeters (16 inches) and that aren’t made of stainless steel sell them in the 27-nation bloc below cost, a practice known as dumping.

The EU already imposes anti-dumping duties on imports of Chinese seamless pipes and tubes with an external diameter not exceeding 406.4 millimeters and of stainless steel seamless pipes and tubes. Those two sets of levies, imposed in 2009 and 2011, respectively, after dumping probes, were meant to aid EU producers including ArcelorMittal and Salzgitter AG.

The new investigation will determine whether shipments from China are “being dumped and whether the dumped imports have caused injury” to the EU industry, the European Commission, the bloc’s trade authority in Brussels, said on Feb. 16 in the Official Journal. The commission has nine months to decide whether to impose provisional anti-dumping duties for half a year and EU governments have 15 months to decide whether to apply “definitive” levies for five years.

The probe stems from a Jan. 3 dumping complaint by an industry group on behalf of producers that account for more than 25 percent of the EU’s output of seamless pipes and tubes that have an external diameter exceeding 406.4 millimeters and that aren’t made of stainless steel, said the commission, which didn’t identify any companies.

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