European Commission takes new measures against imports of cheap Chinese steel

European Commission is taking new steps to overcome the resistance of the European Union (EU) member states to introduce higher duties on imports of Chinese steel. It is expected that today the European Commissioner for Trade, Cecilia Malmstrom, will propose concrete legislative measures. The attempt to revive the long-delayed EU plan to increase the punitive duties against Chinese dumping steel, comes amid the approaching deadline of the World Trade Organisation (WTO) to decide whether to begin to treat China as a market economy in commercial disputes. This is a key issue for the foreign policy of Beijing.

A special clause in the agreement on China’s membership in WTO allows other countries in the organization to treat the country as a non-market economy. However, this clause expires in December. The market economy status (MES)w ill facilitate the protection of Chinese companies in anti-dumping disputes within the organization, which might have serious consequences for the EU and the US.

This issue is a serious challenge for European Commissioner for Trade Cecilia Malmstrom. She continues to be inundated by complaints about growing imports of steel from China to Europe at dumping low prices. Meanwhile, some EU countries are worried that the imposition of excessive anti-dumping duties will be too protectionist.

In 2015, USA imposed anti-dumping tariff of 266% on certain steel products from China, , while at the same time the duty of the European Union is only 21%.

President of the European Commission (EC) Jean-Claude Juncker also calls for higher duties. The main concerns are linked to the fact that Beijing may respond by tightening regulatory measures against European companies in China.

During the last meeting in October, the European leaders pledged to take a final decision on anti-dumping measures against imports of cheap Chinese steel until the end of the year. The problem is that Britain, Sweden, Holland, Denmark and Finland are opposed to such a change, but some diplomats believe that their resistance can be overcome.

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